World Cup Group G Preview: Who will survive the “Group of Death”?


group of death

Every year there is a “group of death”. This year’s “group of death” is hands down Group G. Three of the four teams are some of the world’s best (Brazil, Portugal and Ivory Coast). Unfortunately, only two can advance. Not only are there great teams in this group, there are world-class players as well. In this group, are the 2007 and 2008 FIFA World Players of the Year, Kaka (Brazil) and Christiano Ronaldo (Portugal) respectively.

Though there are great players in this group, there are also some stars that have been left out. Most notably left out is the aging Ronaldinho of Brazil, who has been the face of Brazilian soccer for years. Brazil’s Alexandre Pato, a man who left his family at age 11 to play soccer, was a surprise cut from the roster. He was not only expected to make the team, he was thought to have a large role. Also, Questionable to play in this year’s World Cup, because of a broken arm is Ivory Coast’s Didier Drogba. He is one of the most potent scorers in the world and would be sorely missed for Ivory Coast.

by Justin Mertes-Mistretta

world cup trophy


  • This team struggled in qualifying, with rumors about their coach possibly being fired. With expectations at a usual high, this Brazil team will have to prove qualifying was just a fluke. Don’t get me wrong, this team is the real deal. However, this team did not look like their usual selves in qualifying, with rumors about their coach possibly being fired. With millions of hard-core Brazilian fans the expectations are no less than any other year. Anything less than the title would be a disappointment to fans.
  • This team runs through Kaka, but by no means is he there only option. With Robinho, Lucio, Luis Fabiano and Maicon, this team is S-T-A-C-K-E-D.  Not to mention, they have one of the world’s best goalkeepers in Julio Cesar.


  • Expectations are high for what, many believe, is Africa’s best team. However, if Didier Drogba is unable to play, it would be a crushing blow to Ivory Coast. If Drogba is out, Gervinho is the player to watch for this team. He plays will exceptional pace and is a powerful goal-scorer.


  • Who doesn’t know Christiano Ronaldo? Just like Lionel Messi of Argentina, Ronaldo is asked to carry his team on his back. In the 2006 World Cup, Ronaldo did just that by leading Portugal to fourth place. This group will not advance very far in this tournament if they score like they did in qualifying (1.6 goals per game). If this team can find another finisher opposite Ronaldo, this team will be a force to reckon with.


  • If there was ever a certainty in sports, here it is. This team looks to have absolutely no chance to advance in this group. They are just simply outmatched. However, just the fact that this country is able to travel to the World Cup is amazing enough, considering the citizens can be shot if they are seen with a cell phone (I’m not kidding. Read this). We are talking about a country, North Korea, which has virtually no freedom. Just being able to participate in the World Cup is a step in the right direction for North Korea.

Favorite – Brazil: This team is not only the favorite to win the group, they are the favorite to win the entire World Cup. I could ask my Grandma, who knows nothing about soccer, who she thinks will win the World Cup and she’ll answer Brazil. Brazil is known as the planet’s best soccer team, but I’m going to go against the grain and say they fail to win this group. I’m not saying they won’t advance, but if Didier Drogba is healthy, it wouldn’t surprise me if Brazil is left out. This group isn’t called the “group of death” for nothing.

Player to watch – Nani: He has always been overshadowed by Christiano Ronaldo on Portugal and for Manchester United. Once Ronaldo transferred to Real Madrid, Nani was suppose to take over for him at Man U. With Wayne Rooney there, it never happened. Known as Mr. Inconsistency, Nani finally has the chance to silence his critics on one of the biggest stages in the world. With a lack of scorers alongside Christiano Ronaldo, he will be greatly needed for Portugal to have any success, especially in this group.

Team to watch Brazil vs. Portugal – June 25, 10 A.M. (ET): Ronaldo vs. Kaka. This will be one of the best games of the entire World Cup. It is rare to see two teams of this caliber meet in a knockout stage. Portugal’s Brazilian-born Deco will be motivated to play against his home country. Deco is a key factor in this game and for the entire group stage as Ronaldo will need someone to help carry the load for Portugal.


1 – Portugal (7 pts)

2 – Brazil (6 pts)

3 – Ivory Coast (4 pts)

4 – North Korea (0 pts)

Read more articles by Justin Mertes-Mistretta at

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  5. Mexico should not make all that deep an impression in this group and can count on an early exit.
    The Mexicans are a huge fish in the CONCACAF pond but are hard to take
    significantly at the Cup. An erratic next spot qualification behind the Usa does not inspire self-confidence.
    They should stay real to form and give some exciting competition
    for the other customers of their team, then head for the airport
    prior to the rush. Uruguay clinched the final of 5 South American tickets to the
    display and should best the group in this business.

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