Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Slovakia and New Zealand draw along with Ivory Coast and Portugal

Two draws which leave their groups open and very undecided, while they could be considered as just more disappointing results for this tournament, hopefully the Brazil - DPR Korea match will be exciting and scintillating.

June 15, 2010 - South Africa - Football - New Zealand v Slovakia FIFA World Cup South Africa 2010 - Group F - Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg, South Africa June - 15/6/10..Winston Reid (R) scores the first goal for New Zealand.
Reid's equalizer for New Zealand
New Zealand - Slovakia 

After Italy's draw with Paraguay yesterday (if you want a full break-down on that match you can also check this out), New Zealand and Slovakia had the feeling that if they could grab a win, it would be monumental. They could've taken first place in the group over the world champions, invigorating their country as they tried to get through the group stages. Sadly this didn't happen, but what did happen was an exciting 1-1 draw between the two.

The first goal was a header by Vittek for Slovakia, a well worked goal which put the Slovakians in front, they were overjoyed to score as the entire team celebrated together their speculative three points. Slovakia were neat and tidy with their passing, but New Zealand eventually found the equalizer deep into stoppage time. Another header from a good cross gave New Zealand an epic draw, Reid was the hero as he took off his shirt and wildly ran as everyone of the All-whites cheered. Group F now has everyone in the exact same position with one point, one goal for, and one goal against.

Ivory Coast's Guy Demel (R) takles Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo during a 2010 World Cup Group G soccer match at Nelson Mandela Bay stadium in Port Elizabeth June 15, 2010.  REUTERS/Denis Balibouse (SOUTH AFRICA - Tags: SPORT SOCCER WORLD CUP)
Ronaldo being fouled outside the box, but he didn't get the free kick....
Ivory Coast - Portugal

This was a highly anticipated, not to say that people were let down by it, but it ended in a bit of a disappointing 0-0 draw, with Didier Drogba starting from the bench because of his broken/fractured (I'm not sure...) elbow. But even though we were missing probably the best African player, we saw the world's most expensive player strut his stuff. Cristiano Ronaldo right from the beginning was electrifying, in the 11th minute he rocketed a shot onto the post, warning the Ivory Coast of things to come.

Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo (L) argues with Ivory Coast's Guy Demel during their 2010 World Cup Group G soccer match at Nelson Mandela Bay stadium in Port Elizabeth June 15, 2010.   REUTERS/Denis Balibouse (SOUTH AFRICA - Tags: SPORT SOCCER WORLD CUP)
Ronaldo and Demel having a shouting contest
which earned them both yellow cards
Even if there was a super-Ronaldo on the field, the Ivory Coast worked more as a team, while Portugal wanted to thread everything through Ronaldo, the Ivory Coast were building confidence as they worked together. Young Gervinho was very dangerous on the left as he often dribbled well, followed by shots for the Ivorians, certainly one to watch Gervinho who plays for Lille. While Cristiano Ronaldo dived often and effectively, he also didn't get a free kick he wanted from right outside the box because of his notorious reputation. Instead, he decided to almost pick a fight with Demel, which earned both of them yellow cards as they swore at each other.

Didier Drogba came on in the 66th and pumped up the African crowd with just his presence, and in the dying minutes of the match, Drogba missed a great chance right in front of Portugal keeper Eduardo. Overall a rather entertaining match, but without goals, and while we can expect Brazil to score five or six  against DPR Korea (full match report will be on SWU), this World Cup continues to disappoint just a little bit.

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