Portugal advance with Brazil after drab draw
Portugal qualified for the second round of the World Cup after
battling to an ill-tempered 0-0 draw with five-time champions Brazil in
their final Group G game on Friday.
In a match that was hyped as a potential showcase for the “beautiful
game”, there was not much samba on display with seven yellow cards
brandished in the first-half alone and only a handful of decent attempts
Brazil, who had already qualified for the last 16 after wins over
North Korea and Ivory Coast, dominated possession and looked extremely
solid at the back while Portugal looked over-reliant on captain
Cristiano Ronaldo up front.
Portugal, on a run of 17 matches without defeat, needed a draw to
guarantee going through to the next round ahead of Ivory Coast and
arguably had the best chance of a winner in the 60th minute.
A storming run by Ronaldo had Lucio in all kinds of problems and the
Brazil skipper was forced into clearing the ball across his own six-yard
box into the path of Raul Meireles.
But the Porto midfielder’s close-range dink was tipped around the
corner by Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar. Brazil dominated possession and
wasted two excellent chances through Nilmar and Luis Fabiano in the
In the 30th minute, Nilmar got in at the back post to direct a
Fabiano cross at Portugal goalkeeper Eduardo, who did well to turn the
ball onto the post and safety.
Fabiano then fluffed a header nine minutes later, getting too much
contact on a downward header which bounced wide from a deep Maicon
The industrious Dani Alves had the first attempt of the game,
striking a 25-yard shot just wide after a good through ball from Julio
Baptista, starting in place of suspended Brazilian playmaker Kaka.
The Portuguese had to wait until the 14th minute to even get close to
the Brazilian goal, Duda just failing to latch on to a good cross from
Fabio Coentrao, who had the run of the left wing early on.
The South Americans were seemingly happy to sit back and control the
ball in the second period, under no real pressure from a muted Portugal
Ronaldo had an early free-kick deflected wide by Pepe and Simao, on
as a replacement for Duda, had a smart shot saved by Cesar.
In the 77th minute, Ronaldo got on the end of a Simao through-ball
but blasted high and wide under pressure.
Portugal keeper Eduardo was then on hand to palm away a late effort
from replacement Ramires to save any blushes amid boos and whistles at
the Moses Mabhida Stadium.
DURBAN, Friday, AFP