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Portugal vs North Korea – Ronaldo will break down resilient Asians

| 20.06.2010

Portugal will need star player Cristiano Ronaldo (11/4 to score first) to be on top form if they are to avoid an embarrassing result in their match with North Korea, which kicks off at 12.30pm.

The 2006 fourth-place team are 1/3 favourites to win, while the country who have only appeared at one Finals before are 9/1. The draw is 18/5.

Despite being ranked 105th in the world heading into the tournament, Kim Jong Hun’s side were awkward opponents for five-time winners Brazil in their first match.

Not only did the Koreans defend well in numbers but in Jong Tae Se they had a forward capable of providing an outlet and giving Julio Cesar in goal more than a few reasons to fearful. It could be argued ‘The People’s Rooney’ (9/1 to score first) has had more on-field impact at this World Cup than the real Rooney.

Yun Nam Ji’s well-taken goal past a miserly Brazilian defence showed the potential throughout their unified side. He’s an implausible 7/1 to score at any time here.

Portugal meanwhile, played their part in a pretty boring 0-0 draw with the Ivory Coast in their opening game.

Ronaldo was unsurprisingly their most potent attacking force, demonstrating his requirement for only a split-second of space to unleash a cracking long-range drive.

His effort against the post was the closest Carlos Quieroz’s side came to scoring and the manager must worry that it has been over 16 months since the Real Madrid man last notched for his nation.

But while North Korea coped manfully with Luis Fabiano and co, until a freak Maicon cross-come-shot, shackling a player as physical and skilful as Ronaldo will be a different, and perhaps more difficult, proposition.

Backing the former Manchester United winger to thrive against a smaller defence and break his duck (1/2 at any time) would be a good bet. A 2-0 Portugal win is 9/2.

The world number three side are understatedly good at the back and betting on them to keep a clean sheet here seems wise. It’s 4/7.

Portugal have only conceded three goals in 17 games and despite Korea having scored at least once in each of their last three games it seems unlikely they’ll replicate that here. Backing 0-0 half-time score (6/4) could prove valuable though.

The last time these sides met at the World Cup North Korea took a 3-0 lead only to lose 5-3. That was in the 1966 tournament though and a repeat (over 1.5 North Korea goals is 7/1) seems beyond the realms of possibility. See the full Portugal v North Korea match betting market.



John Klee