The Group of Death enters a decisive phase
(to be updated after the second game)
Brazil 3-1 (1-0) Ivory Coast
Goals: 1-0,2-0 Luis Fabiano (25',50'), 3-0 Elano (62'), 3-1 Didier Drogba (79').
Brazil overcame Ivory Coast 3-1 in a hard fought match at the Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg. And once more the referee had a role to play in a teams victory.
Initially the match was confined to the midfield with both defences not giving the strikers any space. The Ivorians had initially more of the ball, but they couldn't do anything worthwhile with it. And suddenly in the 25th minute Brazil took the lead. Kaka and Luis Fabiano combined nicely with Fabiano taking a strong shot on target which goes in past keeper Boubacar Barry. But the Ivorians weren't shocked as they tried to get the equaliser, but they had to few attempts only through Aruna Dindane and then Emmanuel Eboué.
After the break Brazil doubled their lead through another goal from Luis Fabiano in the 50th minute. And this has to be the highlight of referee mistakes in this World Cup. Fabiano twice on the way to score the goal handles the ball, but referee Stéphane Lannoy from France is unsure so he goes on to ask the Brazilian, who lies to the referee showing him he chested the ball. An unforgivable blunder by the referee and even Fabiano should be penalised for lying. But Ivory Coast was not yet beaten. Only three minutes later Dindane's cross was headed goalwards by an unmarked Drogba, but it misses the target by a whisker. But then Brazil seal the game in the 62nd minute with their third goal. Kaka nicely builds-up on the left and squares the ball with Elano there in the box to push the ball in. The Ivorians thereafter looked beaten, but the Brazilians didn't keep the tempo high and the match returned to its sluggishness. Then Drogba finally reduced the deficit in the 79th minute through a header from a Yaya Toura cross as he once more was left free in the danger zone. The match late on became rough, especially as the Ivorians complained with the referee that the Brazilians were play acting and provoking the referee to call fouls where there were none. This resulted in Kaka twice overreacting and on both occasions he deserved a red card, but was lucky as the referee on both occasions only showed him yellow cards and he will only miss a match. In the second instance the situation got out of hand as many players got involved, but the referee only carded the instigator. Once more Brazil didn't convince but got away with it as Ivory Coast were too harmless.
Portugal 7-0 (1-0) North Korea
Goals: 1-0 Raul Meireles (29'), 2-0 Simao (53'), 3-0 Hugo Almeida (56'), 4-0,7-0 Tiago (60',89'), 5-0 Liedson (81'), 6-0 Cristiano Ronaldo (87').
Portugal demolished North Korea 7-0 in a demonstration of attacking football in the second session at the Green Point Stadium in Cape Town. The Asian once more had a strong first session, but then fell apart after the break. North Korea once more showed promise, but they just aren't on the level of the three other sides in their group.
The first session saw an open game as the North Koreans were not willing to give in to their more famed rivals and wanted to keep their chances open to progress from the group. Portugal initially looked startled by this fact though it left them with space which they initially could utilise. Chances on both sides, but no goals at the start, but as the match progressed the higher class of Portugal came through as Raul Meireles gave the Europeans the lead in the 29th minute.
And after the break Portugal in a seven minute blitz would seal the match as North Korea just fell apart. Three goals from Simao (53'), Hugo Almeida (56') and Tiago (60') where enough to seal the win against the Koreans who had no answer to what hit them. And thereafter the risk was it would be a one-sided affair, more goals scored and it did come that way. In the last ten minutes Liedson (81'), Cristiano Ronaldo (87') and Tiago (89') would finish off the 7-0 trashing of the East Asians.