Sporstball (World Cup 2010), Matchday Eleven

Portugal 7-0 North Korea

An utter mauling, though it took 50 minutes for it to really start. The frailties of the NK team were there for all to see and the Portuguese took full advantage of their collapsing defence.

The Koreans did their very best to keep the Portuguese out in the first, only undone by a truly brilliant piece of off the ball running. The Koreans had their own chances too, but lacked the ability to take them.

Then the floodgates opened. Fantastic attacking performances from Ronaldo and Simao. The third and sixth goals were appalingly defended, and Korea had essentially given up by the hour mark.

It’s important not to judge Portugal too much on this performance, they were up against very poor opposition. But they’ve proven their attacking credentials, and they’ll be giving the winners of Group H, whoever that turns out to be, some worries.

Brazil will top the group and unless Cote d’ Ivoire can come up with an even better goalscoring performance when they play North Korea, Portugal will follow in second place.

Chile 1-0 Switzerland

Very tough contest, between two very evenly matched, determined teams. Another game which will be unfortunately overshadowed by the referring which was baffling at times. Too many cards, and not enough control of the game. The red was a little harsh, and again, that decision was crucial in determining the final result.

I said the teams were evenly matched, but in different ways. Chile’s attacking ferocity was met and blunted by a well organised Swiss defence that held out as long as it could. But, when Chile went ahead (a very dodgy looking goal, but it was well taken), the Swiss had no plan B. Thier attack is handicapped by the defensive mindset the team has.

However the Swiss should not lose heart just yet. They were unlucky not to get a point today, but they should be able to get 3 points out of Honduras. Speaking of which…

Spain 2-0 Honduras

Another odd game. I’m wondering why Honduras actually came to South Africa if they were going to play like this. No attacking focus at all, even when they were only one down.

It should have been the days second thumping but something appears to be wrong with Spain’s attack as they are all playing like idiots. With the slight exception of Villa (he scored twice but had a host of misses) they just couldn’t seem to hit the target.

It’s a worrying sign from the European Champions. It cost them against Switzerland. It’s stopped them from getting a useful result against Honduras, goal difference wise. It’ll prove fatal against one of the big teams.

Spain were lucky that Honduras arrived with the apparent sole ambition to reduce the damage.

This group is very difficult to call. Looking at the way Spain are playing, I can see their final game against Chile being a draw, unless Torres, Villa and co. get the shooting boots on. Switzerland should be able to beat Honduras.

So, I’m seeing Chile top the group and the Swiss grabbing second. Spain to be the big shocking disappointment of the tournament.

So based on my final group predictions we’ll have a last 16 of:

Mexico – South Korea

Uruguay – Argentina

Slovenia – Serbia

USA – Germany

Netherlands – Italy

Denmark – Paraguay

Portugal – Chile

Brazil – Switzerland

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