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World Cup – Day 5

New Zealand 1 – Slovakia 1

The Kiwis snatched a last minute draw despite being dominated by the Slovakians.  The Slovakian goal on 50′ was marginally offside, but the goal was deserved nonetheless.  The Kiwi goal on 93′ was only their second real chance of the match!  But a point is a point (BTW .. the first NZL point ever in a World Cup final), and  Group F is 100% tied.  Slovakia let one get away, and may very well keep them from advancing.

Ivory Coast 0 – Portugal 0

We saw a typical Cristiano Ronaldo performance in this game.  He made brilliant runs withe the ball, launched a few beautiful free kicks, and flopped and dove and whined.  There weren’t many opportunities as both teams were defensive and careful.  The early part of the second half was more active, with a few chances, none of them great, but the energy waned as the match moved on and the rain came harder.  The referee overall had a good game, although he was conned once by Ronaldo (who bounced the resulting free kick off the crossbar).  I think the ref figured out it was a dive, because shortly thereafter Ronaldo got a harsh yellow for dissent (or unsporting behavior?) after he was fouled!

Unless one of them can manage to take a point from Brazil, whichever of these two has higher goal difference in the Brazil and North Korea matches will advance.  Should be an interesting group next week!

Brazil 2 – North Korea 1

This struck me as a typical Brazilian performance of late.  Brilliant technical soccer, stretches of amazing passing, team work and creativity, and defensive indifference. Both Brazilian goals were dazzling, particularly the Elano goal that put them up 2-0.

I think the referee did a nice job, EXCEPT that he did not punish a number of rough challenges that would have been yellow in any of the preceding matches in this tournament.  At one point he pointed out to Luciano 3 previous fouls he had committed, and rather than caution he told him to knock it off.

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