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Portugal routs North Korea
by Ridge Mahoney, June 21st, 2010 1:50PM
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TAGS:  world cup


[PORTUGAL-NORTH KOREA] North Korea was unable to replicate its courageous performance while losing 2-1 to Brazil in its opening game, and suffered a 7-0 hammering by Portugal. Here's what we liked and didn't like about Portugal's win ...

What we liked ...

... TIAGO. A midfield that had looked lackluster with Deco during a 0-0 tie with Ivory Coast woke up without him to cut apart North Korea. Tiago took over much of the playmaking role, and his diagonal ball set up Raul Meireles for the first goal. In the second half, with Portugal running rampant, he knocked home a Cristiano Ronaldo cross to score number four, and then tucked away the final goal in the 89th minute.

... CRISTIANO RONALDO. He scored perhaps the flukiest goal of his international career to break a drought in competitive national team matches that extended back two years (2008 European Championship). After he broke in on goal the ball rebounded off keeper Ri Myong Guk and landed on his neck; he waited a moment and when it rolled off his neck he tapped it into the net for Portugal’s sixth goal. He, too, hadn’t played well against Ivory Coast; if he has his confidence and swagger back, Portugal's chances of repeating its semifinal showing of four years ago greatly improve.

What we didn’t like ...

... GOAL DIFFERENCE. If Ivory Coast is to have any chance of advancing, it must pile up goals on North Korea, which might set out to avoid another embarrassment and take a more cynical approach than it did in its first two games. Before the deluge of goals hit, North Korea showed some ambition and flair with its attacks. But it won’t want to go back home dishonored by another heavy defeat.

... EARLY MISSES. Though Portuguese defender Ricardo Carvalho hit the post with a header in the seventh minute, North Korea squandered opportunities to score an early goal that could have shaken Portugal’s composure. A chip by Mun In Guk gave Jong Tae Se an opening he failed to exploit, and a couple of shots from distance failed to trouble goalkeeper Eduardo on a slick surface drenched by heavy rains before and during the match.

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