Day 5 Recap

June 15, 2010 - 06040996 date 15 06 2010 Copyright imago BPI Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal and Guy Demel of The Ivory Coast Clash Leading to Yellow Cards for Both Players PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxUKxFRAxNEDxESPxSWExPOLxCHNxJPN Football men World Cup National team international match Port Elizabeth Action shot Vdig 2010 horizontal premiumd Football.

Slovakia 1 – New Zealand 1 (Group F)

For ninety-three minutes, New Zealand seemed destined for the only result they’ve ever seen at the World Cup: a defeat. But defender Winston Reid’s glancing header on the game’s last meaningful sequence secured the Kiwi’s first ever point. Slovakia, dominant outside of the first and last ten minutes, could not pick up what turned out to be a necessary second goal.

In fact, though the favored Slovaks generated the most scoring opportunities, they were lucky to achieve the tie, as Robert Vittek’s 50th minute headed tally occurred when he appeared to be offside.

With Italy and Paraguay also drawing, the second round of matches (Slovakia-Paraguay and New Zealand-Italy) will take place with the top two spots ripe for the taking.

Ivory Coast 0 – Portugal 0 (Group G)

Touted as one of the tournament’s most intriguing matchups, the opening game of the Group of Death failed to impress. Ivory Coast, beginning the match without striker Didier Drogba, were the more impressive side, yet they had no better luck breaking the deadlock than Portugal’s nigh one-man band. Cristiano Ronaldo – the European squad’s star winger and Kim Kardashian paramour – produced the tournament’s most stunning shot in the 11th when he turned Barcelona midfielder Yaya Toure and audaciously struck the top post from 35 yards out. Ronaldo, for a player of his caliber, had little impact on the match, other than exasperating the Ivorians with his theatrics and causing the referee to make some dubious decisions. The inconsistent officiating turned the first half into a choppy affair, and though both sides had decent half-chances in the second forty-five, including the inspiring Drogba’s 91st minute miss, the match echoed an all too familiar motif for this World Cup, ending in a draw.

With the mighty Brazilians still to come, both sides will try to run up the score on North Korea in hopes of a favorable goal difference. The schedule does favor the Portuguese, who, in their last group match, will face a Brazilian squad that might have already guaranteed a place in the knockout round.

Brazil 2 – North Korea 1 (Group G)

Look for Dan Buller’s recap later tonight or early tomorrow morning (we’ll cut him some slack – he’s writing from South Korea, where it’s currently 5 in the morning).

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