Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America Classifieds
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
North Korea battles -- and provides poignant image
by Ridge Mahoney, June 16th, 2010 2:34AM

MOST READ
TAGS:  world cup

MOST COMMENTED

[GROUP G] As expected, Brazil tops the group after one round of play. Yet nothing like its narrow 2-1 win had been expected against mysterious North Korea, which could hold the key to the group by its results against Portugal and Ivory Coast after those teams tied, 0-0. Here's what we liked and didn't like about the opening Group G games ...

WHAT WE LIKED ...

-- Instead of a jogo bonito goalfeast, Brazil scored only once more than North Korea, which didn’t attack much but pushed Brazil back into its own half of the field more often than anyone could have anticipated, and didn’t incur a single yellow card. Ji Yun Nam’s wonderfully taken goal in the 89th minute punctured Brazil’s already thinning pride and punctuated a game that was anything but the anticipated blowout.

-- How can a game with no goals and not many chances still be compelling? Well, a great duel can fill the bill, and watching Portuguese left back Fabio Conetrao battle and harass and frustrate Ivory Coast’s powerful Aruna Dindane during their 0-0 tie offered up some memorable confrontations. Conetrao also got upfield a few times to join the attack without sacrificing is important work against Dindane.

-- There won’t be many World Cup images more poignant than that of North Korean striker Jong Tae Se crying openly as he stood listening to his national anthem just prior to kickoff against Brazil. We can only hope that fans in North Korea were able to see not only their team’s courageous performance, but just what being at the World Cup after an absence of 44 years means to their players.

WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE ...


-- Maybe this Portuguese team really is trying to find its own identity in the wake of the retired “Golden Generation” (Luis Figo, Rui Costa, Nuno Valente, Nuno Gomes, et al) that never replicated its U-20 success (two world championships), but it disappointed greatly with it flaccid play for much of the match.

-- Especially disappointing were midfielder Deco, who was substituted in the 62nd minute, and Cristiano Ronaldo. Aside from a fierce long-distance shot that hit the post in the 11th minute, Ronaldo seldom glided past opponents on the dribble, or swiveled sharply to get a look at goal. At age 32, Deco looks almost nothing like the man who graced the midfield for two Champions’ League winners (Porto 2004, Barcelona 2006), and Portugal doesn't look capable of repeating its semifinal showing four years ago.
    
-- Another non-sellout is another black eye for the competition, especially with a game matching an African team with a well-regarded European opponent. The crowd at Port Elizabeth Stadium (37,034) for the Portugal-Ivory Coast game fell more than 5,000 short of capacity (42,486). There were plenty of fans wearing the colors of their teams, though their chants and cheers weren’t always audible through a drone of vuvuzelas.



No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
Where to Watch European Soccer    
Here are 329 places Soccer America readers recommend where you should go to watch soccer for ...
Mario Goetze's beautiful backward nutmeg on Brecko    
[VIDEO PICK: Skills] Mario Goetze, Germany's World Cup final hero, not only has a nose for ...
This season's most amazing free kick so far    
[VIDEO PICK: Golazo] You can hardly blame Hamburg SV goalkeeper Jaroslav Drobny for remaining rooted to ...
Soccer America Power Rankings    
[MLS: Week 29] Robbie Keane ran wild in the major-market matchup of Designated Players to keep ...
What They're Saying: Landon Donovan    
"I've always tried to be a guy who makes the right play in front of the ...
Onus on Cavani for PSG against Barcelona    
[UCL: Three Games to Watch] Paris St. Germain-Barcelona is the marquee match of Matchday 2 in ...
What They're Saying: Paul McGinley    
"I bounced ideas off him all week, he didn't preach to me, he didn't tell me ...
MLS's nouveau riche dominate millionaire club    
[MAKING A LIST] Big money has been flowing into Major League Soccer. Of the 15 players ...
USA and Brazil to play U-23 match in Brasilia    
[DATEBOOK] The U.S. World Cup team never got to Brasilia, falling in the round of 16 ...
Report: Chivas USA set to go on hiatus after 2014 season    
[MLS SPOTLIGHT] The news should come as no surprise. Chivas USA, sold back to MLS by ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives