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FIFA World Cup Day 5: the 'group of death' begins with Cote d'Ivoire and Portugal

Portugal and Cote D'Ivoire face a possible date with the grim reaper.

The first games in the "group of death" begin Tuesday and the game between Portugal and Ivory Coast is perhaps the most fascinating of the first round. This group is rounded out by Brazil and the DPR Korea (North Korea) who play in the other match.

The term "group of death" originated in the 1970 World Cup and in each subsequent World Cup one of the groups has been unofficially selected as the one to bear this moniker. In this year's tournament there was little doubt with Brazil, the perennial favourite, matched up with the always strong Portugal team and Cote d'Ivoire, one of the strongest teams in Africa. In some ways it's a pity that the group wasn't rounded out with a stronger team than North Korea.

The Day 3 match between Germany and Australia illustrates what can happen when a top level international team meets a team which cannot really compete with them technically. Having said that, in their one other World Cup appearance North Korea surprised by qualifying for the quarter finals and almost defeating Portugal.

If there is a winner in the Portugal vs. Cote d'Ivoire match, the victor will expect to advance. If the match finishes in a draw, Brazil will be expected to defeat both teams. Second place in the Group may be determined by which team defeats North Korea by the most goals. That said, victory for Brazil against either Cote d'Ivoire, or Portugal, is not certain.

The final game on Day 4 pits New Zealand against Slovakia in a game in which despite New Zealand's recent good from, Slovakia will be expected to prevail fairly easily.

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