Group G team news

LONDON - Latest Group G team news ahead of the World Cup in South Africa which starts on June 11:

NEWS: Group A team news NEWS: Group B team news NEWS: Group C team news NEWS: Group D team news NEWS: Group E team news NEWS: Group F team news NEWS: Group H team news

BRAZIL

Teenage forward Neymar boosted his campaign for a place in Brazil's World Cup squad with two goals as Santos reached the final of the Paulista state championship.

"Hope is what dies last. I'll be keeping an eye until the last call-up (by Brazil coach Dunga)," said the 18-year-old.

Neymar has scored 21 goals, making him the top marksman in Brazil this year.

IVORY COAST

Striker Bakary Kone is likely to return to training this week after suffering knee and ankle injuries playing for Ligue 1 leaders Olympique Marseille earlier this month.

It will be a boost for the Ivory Coast's plans after it was initially suggested the injuries sustained against his old club Nice were serious enough to put his World Cup participation in doubt.

PORTUGAL

Real Madrid defender Pepe is set to recover from knee ligament surgery in time for the World Cup.

Spanish media reported he might get a run out for Real before the end of the season, which puts him back on track for a place in Portugal's squad.

Brazilian-born Pepe, who cost 30 million euros when he moved from Porto in 2007, jumped for a high ball and landed awkwardly while playing in a league match against Valencia in December.

NORTH KOREA

North Korea midfielder Kim Kuk-jin hopes his lightning pace and intelligent passing will convince coach Kim Jong-hun he deserves a place in the squad for the World Cup.

The 21-year-old made two appearances in the qualifying campaign and while he was left out of the squad for recent warm-ups against Venezuela and Mexico, the player is keen to be part of his country's first finals appearance since the 1966 edition in England.

"Those featuring throughout the qualifying competition are most likely to make it into the 23-man line-up but I will never give up," he told FIFA.com.

"All Asian participants are desperate to showcase their progress in front of the world and only solid achievement in the World Cup can show we are among Asia's best."

Follow FFT.com on Twitter Join FFT.com on Facebook