Brazil start their World Cup campaign against outsiders North Korea in Johannesburg Tuesday. The North Korean team are something of an unknown quantity, and have been keeping a low profile ahead of the match.
From June 1 to 10, our sport coverage in the 11pm news bulletin focuses entirely on football’s biggest show – the FIFA World Cup 2010.
AFP - Brazilian midfielder Elano said Thursday the five-times world champions would approach their tie against North Korea like any other match despite the veil of mystery shrouding their opponents.
Brazil open their campaign Tuesday against North Korea in Johannesburg before facing Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal and Didier Drogba's Ivory Coast in the "Group of Death."
Elano, who plays for Galatasary in Turkey, told reporters at Brazil's team base that North Korea were a strong outfit with a good midfield.
"We have to respect North Korea just like any other good team in the world," he told a packed press conference, adding he had watched the team on TV and on his computer.
North Korea have been keeping a low profile in South Africa, banning reporters on Monday from watching training and speaking to players, in sharp contrast to Brazil's more open approach.
Elano, who played under Ivory Coast manager Sven-Goran Eriksson when he was at Manchester City, said his appointment would boost the African side.
"I played my first year in England with him and I was lucky," he said, adding: He's a guy that I really respect."
"Ivory Coast is a really good team with great players and they are even stronger with Eriksson, who does a great job. I'm looking forward to meeting him."
Barcelona defender Dani Alves said last year's Confederations Cup win was a major plus for Brazil.
"It was good for us because we had a chance to feel the atmosphere, to understand how it works, the distance, the food."
Alves was asked whether he had spoken or texted his club-mate Lionel Messi of Argentina but said he had not had time.
Brazil have lifted the World Cup trophy a record five times, Portugal finished fourth at the last tournament in 2006 and many pundits consider Ivory Coast the best African bet for glory.
But while North Korea are regarded as the underdogs in the group, none of the 32 challengers has prepared more thoroughly than the little-known squad from the secretive nation.
Date created : 2010-06-10