Soccer disappoints as teams play cat and mouse

2010-06-25 16:36


Brazil 0


Portugal 0


It was expected to be one of the best – if not the best – games of

the 2010 Fifa World Cup but it failed dismally to live up to its high

billing.

The fact that number one-ranked Brazil came into this match with a

second-round berth safely secured and that Portugal needed just a draw to go

through, played a significant role.

Also evident from the onset was the respect the two teams have for

each other.

This led to a cat and mouse game being played with Brazil content

on sitting back and knocking the ball around in their own half and waiting to

pounce on the break.

Portugal were not fooled and could not be drawn to pursue their

opponents into their den.

The seven goals that Portugal scored against North Korea were also

a safe cushion that would allow them to go through on goal difference no matter

what happened in the match involving North Korea and Ivory Coast.

So at the end, it was Brazil on seven points and

Portugal on five who marched onto the next round and South Africans will

continue to see Carlos Queiroz, who was ejected from this country after being

beaten by hosts Mali in the quarterfinals of the 2002 African Cup of Nations, in

what now seems like a very distant past.

The first half was dominated by yellow cards which contributed to a

stop-start game.

The Brazilian football aristocrats were content with caressing the

ball like a woman which is part of their style.

However, this happened largely on their half which meant no danger

to their opponents.

Brazilian defender Dani Alves and Tiago for Portugal showed good

intentions within the first five minutes but their respective, speculative shots

missed the target by quite some margin.

While Brazil started without a player on a yellow card – except

Ramirez who was on the bench – they ended the half with Luís Fabiano (15th

minute), Juan (24th) and Felipe Mello (41st) having made their way into Mexican

whistle-man Benito Archundia’s black book.

Portugal had their fair share of bookings that included Tiago who

was cautioned for diving with other cards going to Duda, Pepe and Fábio Coentrão

for an assortment of infringements, giving a total of seven yellow cards in this

half.

Wayward shooting was also the order of the day in this stanza as

out of 12 shots, the South Americans only managed to get two on target while

Portugal could only test Júlio César once in six attempts.

So it was that Brazil had nothing to show for their 64%

possession to Portugal’s 36, having spent 12 minutes of actual time on the ball

to their opponents’ 12.


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