Day 15 Recap

Chile's Esteban Paredes (L) and Spain's Sergio Busquets lie on the ground holding their legs during the 2010 World Cup group H soccer match at Loftus Versfeld stadium in Pretoria June 25, 2010.    REUTERS/David Gray (SOUTH AFRICA - Tags: SPORT SOCCER WORLD CUP)

In contrast to the exciting endings to earlier matches, Groups G and H were either unable or unwilling to thrill fans on their final day.

Group G

Brazil 0 – Portugal 0

Ivory Coast 3 – North Korea 0

Advancing: Brazil, Portugal

Brazil and Portugal’s potentially epic match turned into quite the dud. Portugal, starting the day with a comfortable nine goal difference over the Ivory Coast, were content to sit nine men behind the ball and dare Brazil to breach their defense. The second string Brazilians were not up to the task, even though manager Dunga was frantically urging them on.

Ivory Coast, on the other hand, went forward with abandon in a vain attempt to surpass Portugal’s 7-0 defeat of North Korea. The Elephants produced a staggering 28 shots, but only three goals – Toure (14), Romaric (20), and Kalou (82). North Korean keeper Ri Myong-Guk made nine saves and gave some hope to North Korea, especially since striker Jong Tae-Se and midfielder Hong Yong-Jo were again excellent, but the Asian side was unable to hit the target.

Group H

Honduras 0 – Switzerland 0

Spain 2 – Chile 1

Advancing: Spain, Chile

Honduras and Switzerland, despite not scoring, played the most competitive match of the day. The CONCACAF representatives defended first and attacked second, but they were aggressive enough to create multiple scoring opportunities. The Swiss were clearly uncomfortable controlling possession and though they managed 5 shots on goal, their build-up play was less than convincing. The result reflects both sides’ lack of quality in the final third.

In contrast, Chile and Spain possess oodles of attacking talent and proved their ability at different points of the match. Spain, though, are a bit flattered by the result, with David Villa taking advantage of an out of position Claudio Bravo to score their first goal (24). While Andres Iniesta’s 37th minute strike was top-class, the Spanish were unable to find a third tally, even though Chile ended up playing with ten men. In fact, it was the South Americans who scored after losing a man: Rodrigo Millar used center back Pique as a spring board for his shot and the deflection fooled goalkeeper Iker Casillas (47). Unfortunately, the teams turned the final ten minutes into a farce. As the scoreline suited both, Spain kept the ball in their own half and Chile were content to let them. From the 80th minute on, there was rarely a defender within 10 yards of the ball.

Knockout round

Chile and Brazil are scheduled for Monday, Spain and Portugal Tuesday.

One Comments Post a Comment
  1. robinoz0 says:

    the second half of Honduras-Switzerland was, i thought, terribly exciting. it’s just unfortunate that neither side could put in a goal

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