Little is known about North Korea, except for their results in qualifying. Their opponents, the most successful national team in history, are clear favourites. Brazil look set to open their account in style.
The lowest ranked team in the competition, North Korea would be hard pressed to claim a point in Group G against Cote d’Ivoire or Portugal, let alone trouble Brazil. Their best known player, also their captain, is Hong Yong-Jo, who plays mostly as a substitute midfielder-come-striker in lower-end Russian Premier league club Rostov. With only two other players plying their trade outside North Korea, in Japan – Kawasaki Frontale’s prolific striker Jong Tae-Se and now-relegated Ominya Ardija’s journeyman midfielder Ahn Young-Hak – the rest are an enigma.
Brazil set the benchmark for any team looking to seriously contemplate lifting the World Cup. Star playmaker Kaka may not be at the peak of his powers these days but he has scored more international goals than any of his teammates. Alongside him are a star-studded squad including Julio Cesar, Maicon and Lucio from Inter Milan, Robinho, Luis Fabiano, Gilberto Silva and Julio Baptista – this is a team so strong that Barcelona’s Dani Alves is used as an impact substitute. Maybe not as exciting as they used to be, Brazil are well organised and extremely skilful.
You would have to favour Brazil, and favour them heavily. 3-0 is the minimum score that can be expected. Star players would have to be the overlapping Maicon and undeniable talent of Robinho but expect Kaka to score – as well as popping up for the odd vital goal, Kaka has penalty duties, something which may come into effect when playing a team like North Korea.
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