Sportsball (World Cup 2010), Matchday Fifteen

Brazil 0-0 Portugal

A boring contest, the result of Portugal’s hammering of North Korea. With no need to seek a victory, they were able to spend the game practising their defensive tactics. In this, they excelled. Brazil were the more attacking force of the game, but could only a fashion a handful of chances. A disappointing affair. Eduardo, the Portuguese keeper was the standout.

I’m surprised that Portugal can, potentially, defend so well. So much attention is given to their attack, but their looking like a much stronger outfit then many (including myself) have given them credit for.

Both teams through, setting up some juicy second round ties.

North Korea 0-3 Cote d’Ivoire

The deluge of goals that the African team needed never came, and that’s the end of it for them. North Korea maintained the defensive posture that’s been their trademark the whole tournament. It’s all damage control for the DPRK.

They allowed the Ivory Coast to come on and on, and the only question was how big the victory was going to be. As it was, a lack of goalscoring prowess meant that CI couldn’t hope to emulate Portugal’s blitz. A lot of missed opportunities. Drogba’s lack of form was always going to negatively effect CIs output. They have been a huge disappointment. Ghana go into the second round, the only African team to do so.

Switzerland 0-0 Honduras

It was bizarre. Switzerland had everything to play for, for a large period of the game they only needed a goal. But they never looked too bothered, too motivated. Honduras were just sitting back, and Switzerlands formation were pushing forward, but didn’t create the opportunities they needed.

Honduras got back into towards the end as the Swiss became more desperate. Some great opportunities but they lacked the talent to take them. Honduras are a poor outfit. It’s indicative of the CONCACAF federation. It’s always the USA and Mexico followed by whatever of the third-rate teams happened to get a result or two. It might be a while before we see Honduras again.

The Swiss clearly just got lucky against Spain. Very poor throughout the tournament, and they wouldn’t have lasted too long against Brazil in the second round.

Spain 2-1 Paraguay

The European Champions are back on form. Great display from the Spanish who are looking more and more like the team of two years ago. Villa was electric, the defence was solid, and Spain were worth the win. Ineista’s goal was a corker.

The one bad note is Torres who has been simply awful so far. Can’t hit a barn door. Moreover, he’s taking to diving and falling over more than he usually does. I don’t have much sympathy for Estrada, he was clearly heading towards a red card eventually. But the “trip” on Torres was ridiculous. The Liverpool striker better shape up or he’s going to sit most of the rest of this tournament out.

Chile did what they could and were effective at times. Their goal was deserved, though its indicative of the quality of Spain’s defence that it needed a large deflection to go in. With 11 men, Chile could have got a point out of this game.

So, an Iberian derby in the second round. If Spain keep up their form, they should have the quality to overcome Portugal but it’ll be tough, especially if the Portuguese defence can hold firm like they did against Brazil.

As for Chile/Brazil, I have to fancy Kaka and company. They are just such a good, quality outfit all over the field, though Chile have plenty of experience against the five time champions. Still, it has to be Brazil. Chile just lack something to make them a great side. A real stand out star to inspire the team. That, and they have a temperament problem.

So that’s the group stage finished with. It’s had its good and bad games. More bad unfortunately. But I think that it’s improving as we go along. Hopefully, the knock-out stages can continue that trend. Business end of the tournament starts now.

The last of my Prediction/Accuracy round-up!

Group G

I Predicted      Result

Brazil                Brazil
Portugal           Portugal
Cote d’ Ivoire  Cote d’ Ivoire
North Korea    North Korea

4 Positions right, 2 Qualifiers right

Group H

I predicted     Result

Spain            Spain
Chile             Chile
Switzerland    Switzerland
Honduras        Honduras

4 Positions right, 2 Qualifiers right

Total for the group stages?

20/32 Positions right, 14/16 Qualifiers right

Not too bad right? Let’s keep that “slightly better then 50% accuracy rating” going shall we?

Uruguay/South Korea – Uruguay
USA/Ghana – USA
Netherlands/Slovakia – Netherlands
Brazil/Chile – Brazil
Argentina/Mexico – Argentina
Germany/England – Germany
Paraguay/Japan – Japan
Spain/Portugal – Spain

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