If you were to judge the chances of UAE in this game from their singing of the national anthem, you wouldn’t have given them much chance. A lackluster performance, devoid of any spirit…luckily they were much better on the pitch. If only someone had told them you don’t have to score from 25 yards.

Korea DPR started as slight favourites basically due to the fact they were in the World Cup in South Africa. And they wouldn’t have prayed for a better start, a floated ball over the top was flicked back by Captain Hong Yong-Jo into the path of VfL Bochum striker Jong Tae-Se. A blatant push in Jong’s back by Hamdan Al Kamali and the referee had no choice but to point to the spot.

The Captain was given the penalty responsibilities over star-striker Jong. He looked calm enough waiting for the signal to take the kick, he went for placement over power and could only watch as his penalty collided with the crossbar and flew out for a goal-kick.

Korea then tried to find Jong with a number of deep crosses from the left; the striker did very well to win the ball on a few occasions but with the UAE defence aware of his threat they combined well to snuff out the danger.

UAE then went on the attack and Korean goalkeeper Ri Myong-Guk had to be at his best. Subait Khater played in a free-kick from deep, Ri’s punch clear wasn’t convincing the ball fell at the feet of Ismail Al Hammadi but Ri recovered very well to make an instinct save with his feet.

Ri was under pressure again minutes later when Cha Jong-Hyok tried to clear the ball but ended up slicing the clearance towards Ismail Mater again Ri had to react quickly to block the midfielders shot.

Subait Khater was showing the danger he possessed from set-pieces, he drilled in a free-kick from 40 yards out Hamdan Al Kamali managed to get underneath the ball and flick the header goal wards, the Koreans could only watch on as it flashed over the bar.

The UAE were in the ascendancy Al Hammadi played a great pass round the central defender and released Ahmad Khalil he then cut back onto his right foot and tried his luck with a curled effort looking for the far corner, a good effort but it curled just past the post.

Creating some great chances by playing some excellent passes from deep Amer Abdulrahman created the next opening with a ball chipped over the top of the Korea defence, not realising he had time and space Ismail Matar tried a difficult first time volley and skied his effort over the bar.

After being on the front foot for the best part of half an hour it’s no surprise they had the last chance of the half. Khater’s free-kick was played to the back post, knocked down by Walid Abbas, Yousef Jaber should have done a lot better to keep his shot on target.

Although they had a great start Korea DPR very lucky to go into the interval with the scores level. The UAE will worry if the missed chances will come back to haunt them.

Korea DPR made a change early in the second half, bringing off Captain Hong Yong-Jo for Chol Hyok-An, it didn’t make any difference the UAE remained the dominant team throughout the second half.

The first chance fell to their Captain Subait Khater with his ferocious left foot he unleashed a bomb towards the Korea goal, luckily for Ri it flew safely over the bar, an early reminder of the power Khater possesses.

Ismail Mater was the next in line for a pop at the Korea goal, capitalising on a defensive mistake he tried his luck from 25 yards the ball wickedly swerving just past the post. Quite obvious that he fancies himself from long range his next effort however showed he has a lot of practice in front of him. The shot was full of power but lacked any direction.

Overall the UAE had too many shots from long range. When they did get the ball in the box with only two minutes left Ri had to be at his best. Khater swung in the right footed cross, substitute Saeed Al Kathiri rose in between two defenders got his header on target but Ri was at his best again to turn the header past the post.

Not the worst 0-0 in the history of football but a very disappointing performance from Korea DPR, no shots on target and only five to speak of in the whole match. UAE will rue the amount of chances they had. Maybe if they tried to work the ball closer to the goal they might have more luck.

Afterwards UAE striker Ismail Matar thought his team had the chance to win the match.

“We played a good match tonight although in the first 10 minutes, we got lucky when DPR Korea missed their penalty,”

“But we came back strongly into the game and I thought that we did well. But we missed too many chances and they also have a good goalkeeper who played very well.

“But we tried our best and although the draw may not have been a fair result for us, I think that getting a point is a good start for us. We still have a good opportunity to qualify for the next round but we
have to assert ourselves and try to be more confident in ourselves when we play our next game against Iraq because this is football and anything can happen.

“We have to fight, we have to give our best on the field and I think we can win our games.”

Korea DPR coach Jo tong-Sop didn’t think much to his team’s performance.

“We had a chance with the penalty in the first-half but after the failure of the penalty, the players did not play well.

“In the second-half, we tried not to concede a goal and score on the counter-attack but still the players did not play well. So generally, I could say our play was not so good. It was not as we had expected.

“Sometimes we win and sometimes we lose but generally, we try not to concede a goal so we emphasise defence and in this way we organised the game.

“We try to win the match but we have experience from this game and we can take this into the next two.

“Those two teams (Iran and Iraq) will be very difficult to play against but we know their weaknesses and we will try to use that to get the points that we will qualify.”

Both sides will need to try and win their next match if they want to progress in the tournament, Korea DPR take in Iran and the UAE will face Iraq. It’s all the play for in Group D.

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Even though the wonderful guys over at twofootedtackle whipped up a fantastic Asian Cup preview this morning, plans were already afoot for gibfootballshow to provide our own, so here it is.

This Friday night the eyes of the World will turn to Qatar as they host the 2011 AFC Asian Cup. With people tuning in not just to see the best of Asian talent but to see how Qatar cope hosting an event half the size of FIFA’s grand showpiece.

Sixteen teams will compete for the fifteenth Asian Cup. With the inclusion of six past champions (Israel being the only one not there of course.) there is a mixture of the better known teams Japan, Korea Republic, Australia and the lesser known Jordan, Syria and Bahrain.

Pressure you feel on the home nation to prove they are worthy of a World Cup spot albeit for a tournament in 11 years time. Korea DPR will look to improve on there impressive showing in South Africa with this their 3rd appearance in the tournament. Iraq and Saudi Arabia will hope to have an impressive tournament after both reached the final last time but failed to appear in South Africa last year.

With all the claims the Qatari bid made with their World Cup stadia plans people will be disappointed to hear that only two stadiums planned for the event in 2022 will be used in the competition. The 50,000 seater Khalifa International Stadium in Doha will host the opening game between Qatar and Uzbekistan and the final on January the 29th.

The Al-Gharafa Stadium also in Doha is the other World Cup stadium being used of course the plans are to increase it to 44,000 from it’s current 22,000 seats. Out of the other three stadiums only one can be found outside Doha.

Al-Rayyan’s Ahmed bin Ali Stadium will host all of Saudi Arabia and Iraq’s fixtures and organisers will hope to fill the 25,000 seats for each game and really ramp up the atmosphere of the tournament.

Back in 2007 the tournament was held in July with co-hosts Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. This year’s cup was moved to January to cope with the increased heat in the Middle East it is still expected to be around 25 degrees when the games start on Friday.

Younis Mahmoud’s 72nd minute goal was enough to see Iraq overcome Saudi Arabia 1-0 to lift the 2007 Asian Cup and complete a fairytale story for the war-torn nation. Reaching the final they beat Australia, Vietnam and the Korea Republic, although they only scored seven goals they played some great football and deserved the victory.

Saudi Arabia would have been disappointed with their finish to the tournament, top scorers with twelve goals and wins over the Korea Republic and Japan they would have felt like favourites for the cup but Mahmoud’s seventh goal was enough to cause the upset.

Looking at the four groups there are some mouth-watering encounters. Qatar have a great chance of reaching the Quarter-Finals and so will their opponents, Kuwait, China and Uzbekistan will all fancy their chances of getting out of Group A.

Group B sees favourites Japan and Saudi Arabia lock horns and surely Syria and Jordan will need a miracle to advance, however in a three game group there are no certainties for qualification.

In Group C Australia will fancy their chances of reaching the last eight, a tough test against the Korea Republic sandwiched by games against India and Bahrain. The last group is surely the “Group of Death” Iraq, Iran, Korea DPR and the United Arab Emirates will be a scene out of a George Bush tea party. All four teams from Group D will be eager to advance.

According to a popular betting site it’s no surprise to see Japan, Australia and South Korea as outright favourites to lift the trophy. Holders Iraq are deemed as a long shot to regain their title at 21/1. Most people will look to the big three for the winner come the end of January however it’s worth watching Korea DPR and the Saudis.

For people with access to TV channel Eurosport will be happy to know they will be broadcasting the tournament from this Friday.

Stay tuned tomorrow for ten players to watch for in the tournament.

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10 goals, 3 games, 1 red card, 1 missed penalty, 1 record broken, and a first goal since February 11th 2009, a great day of football.

PORTUGAL

7

 

KOREA DPR

0

RAUL MEIRELES (29′)        
SIMAO (53′)        
HUGO ALMEIDA (56′)        
TIAGO (60′, 89′)        
LIEDSON (81′)        
Cristiano RONALDO (87′)        
         
1.EDUARDO     1.RI Myong Guk  
2.Bruno ALVES     2.CHA Jong Hyok OUT- 75
6.Ricardo CARVALHO     3.RI Jun Il  
7.Cristiano RONALDO     4.PAK Nam Chol OUT – 58
8.Pedro MENDES – Y     5.RI Kwang Chon  
11.SIMAO OUT – 74   8.JI Yun Nam  
13.MIGUEL     9.JONG Tae Se  
16.Raul MEIRELES OUT – 70   10.HONG Yong Jo – Y  
18.HUGO ALMEIDA – Y OUT – 77   11.MUN In Guk OUT – 58
19.TIAGO     13.PAK Chol Jin – Y  
23.Fabio COENTRAO     17.AN Yong Hak  
         
Subs     Subs  
5.DUDA IN – 74   16.KIM Kum Il IN – 58
9.LIEDSON IN – 77   15.KIM Yong Jun IN – 58
14.Miguel VELOSO IN – 70   16.NAM Song Chol IN – 75

MY THOUGHTS:

I feel quite sorry for the Koreans, they started brightly showing more attacking purpose than against Brazil but come away with nothing to show for it, and their defence collapsed and Portugal kicked off their World Cup with 7 goals, for 20 minutes I thought we could have a shock on the books, but it wasn’t to be, again Jong Tae-Se ran the line on his own, and Korea lined up with what was either a back 4 with a very deep defensive mid, or a flat back 5, but when they got the ball they looked to break with purpose, Portugal seemed to be struggling to penetrate the Korean defences, until Raul Meireles made a great run inbehind and he was found by Tiago and the finish was very neat. Meireles was insprirational all match running from deep, passing the ball really well, along with Tiago they bossed the midfield and was the bass for Portugal’s attacking play, another of the very impressive players was Fabio Coentrao, I picked him out in the last match but he improved again, not being caught out defensively and charging forward and playing in many great crosses one of them setting up Hugo Almeida’s goal as he headed in Fabio’s great cross.

Simao and Tiago’s double added to the scoreline, but it was Ronaldo’s goal that will please the management and fans, his first goal since February 09 and there was a slice of luck to it, after trying to go round the keeper the ball bounced up and landed on his back, he composed himself to place the ball into the empty net, the 7-0 victory pretty much qualifys Portugal, Ivory Coast will have to turn around a 9 goal deficite to qualify, the game against Brazil will decide if it’s in 1st or 2nd.

CHILE

1

 

SWITZERLAND

0

Mark GONZALEZ (75′)        
         
1.Claudio BRAVO     1.Diego BENAGLIO  
3.Waldo PONCE – Y     2.Stephane LICHSTEINER  
4.Mauricio ISLA     5.Steve VON BERGEN  
6.Carlos CARMONA – Y     6.Benjamin HUGGEL  
7.Alexis SANCHEZ     8.Gokhan INLER – Y  
8.Arturo VIDAL OUT – 46   9.Alexander FREI OUT – 42
9.Humberto SUAZO – Y OUT – 46   10.Blaise N’KUFO – Y OUT – 68
14.Matias FERNANDEZ – Y OUT – 65   11.Valon BEHRAMI – R  
15.Jean BEAUSEJOUR     13.Stephane GRICHTING  
17.Gary MEDEL – Y     16.Gelson FERNANDES OUT- 77
18.Gonzalo JARA     17.Reto ZIEGLER  
         
Subs     Subs  
10.Jorge VALDIVIA – Y IN – 46   7.Tranquillo BARNETTA – Y IN – 42
11.Mark GONZALEZ IN – 46   18.Albert BUNJAKU IN – 77
22.Esteban PAREDES IN – 65   19.Eren DERDIYOK IN – 68

MY THOUGHTS:

Before the start of the world cup would anyone have thought the second group game between Chile and Switzerland would have seen both teams top of the group, the Swiss again stuck to their defensive style tactics, not great for the spectator but great for frustrating attacking teams like Spain and Chile and the possibilties of the Swiss attacking was all but ruled out when Valron Behrami was sent off for throwing an elbow at 2 Chile players, the first was a bit tame, but it looks like he really connected with the second and my instincts were it was a red, maybe a little soft from the replays, but you can’t lift your hands, this put the Swiss in a 4-4-1 formation, parking the bus so to speak and hoping to frustrate the Chile attack.

The first half remained goalless and this saw Switzerland 22 minutes from breaking a World Cup record the most time ever without conceding a goal, 4 clean sheets in 2006 and 1 against Spain in 2010, unsurprisingly the reached that mark and now hold the record not exactly as impressive when you learn they only scored 1 goal in these 6 matches, not the most fan friendly football, luckly they only lasted another 8 minutes, substitute Esteban Paredes got to the byline, crossed to the back post and Mark Gonzalez was there to head into the net, a well deserved goal and it was the start of the Chile bombardment, Alexis Sanchez was very impressive again and had a couple of half chance and also a goal disallowed  unfairly for offside, his goal is coming you can bank on that, and should find more space against the Spanish, Valdivia was also a stand out player once he came on, showing neat little touches and skill and helped to open that stubborn Swiss defence.

For all Chile’s attacking play and the Swiss being a man down, they’re chance came in injury time, Erin Dedriyok found himself unmarked 12 yards out, it seemed harder to miss, but miss he did, the goal would have been against the run of play and it shows why you have to finish off teams when you are so dominant.

It will be interesting to see how Switzerland play against Honduras knowing they will be the better team and need to attack instead of defending, Dedriyok will have a chance to redeem himself and maybe Alexander Frei’s bad luck will end, Lichtsteiner and Ziegler were very impressive in the full back position and will have a great chance to get forward, Switzerland have the players to trouble teams when they go for it, I can’t see them slipping up, will all go down to goal difference.

SPAIN

2

 

HONDURAS

0

David VILLA (17′, 51′)        
         
1.Iker CASILLAS     18.Noel VALLADARES  
3.Gerard PIQUE     2.Osman CHAVAZ  
5.Carles PUYOL     3.Maynor FIGUEROA  
7.David VILLA     8.Wilson PALACIOS   
8.XAVI OUT- 66   11.David SUAZO OUT – 84
9.Fernando TORRES OUT – 70   13.Roger ESPINOZA OUT – 46
11.Joan CAPDEVILA     15.Walter MARTINEZ  
14.Xavi ALONSO     19.Danilo TURCIOS – Y OUT – 63
15.Sergio RAMOS OUT – 77   20.Amado GUEVARA  
16.Sergio BUSQUETS     21.Emilio IZAQUIRRE – Y  
22.Jesus NAVAS     23.Sergio MENDOZA  
         
Subs     Subs  
10.Cesc FABERGAS IN – 66   7.Ramon NUNEZ IN – 63
12.Victor VALDES IN – 70   10.Jerry PALACIOS IN – 84
13.Juan MATA IN – 77   12.Georgie WELCOME IN – 46

MY THOUGHTS:

It was a time for redemption, Spain failed to live up to their own high expectations in the first match, and have been criticised heavily for it, they came out all guns blazing looking at Sergio Ramos heat map on FIFA.com shows he was very rarely near his own box, constantly attacking down the right, combining with Jesus Navas, these two cause no end of problems, and with David Villa cutting in from the left it spelt bad news for the Hondurans, realistically it could have been 4 or 5, Villa’s goal was a superb solo run and needs to be seen, the second came just after half time and had a slight deflection, however Torres, Xavi and Villa again himself had many chances to score, not forgetting Villa’s missed penalty, a great Spanish performance but they need to finish better.

My hat goes off to Honduras, they didn’t just sit and defend they tried to attack, long searching balls for David Suazo he never really got a chance to go at Puyol and Pique, Chavez in defence looked good, a few goal saving tackles, and could do better in a good club side, also Nunez that came on was very bright, tried to get involved showed some nice touches, would like to see more of him, the Honduarans should hold their heads up high they have not been disgraced and for 45 mins when it was 1-0 one Spanish slip could have brought them back into it, they should be proud of themselves and go out against the Swiss and try and get something.

We could get the scenario that 3 teams have 6 points and it would go down to goal difference, if the Swiss can score some goals they could knock out Chile or Spain, not an advert for attacking football but an advert for organisation and discipline.

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Group G was the focus today Ivory Coast v Portugal and Brazil v North Korea and the day was started with New Zealand v Slovakia, a few of the worlds best players on view today with mixed results and there was one team that stole the show but went away empty handed.

NEW ZEALAND

1

 

SLOVAKIA

1

         
Winston REID (90′ + 3)     Robert VITTEK (50′)  
         
         
1.Mark PASTON     1.Jan MUCHA  
3.Tony LOCHHEAD - Y     3.Martin SKRTEL  
4.Winston REID – Y     4.Marek CECH  
5.Ivan VICELICH OUT – 78   5.Radoslav ZABAVNIK  
6.Ryan NELSEN     6.Zdenko STRBA - Y  
7.Simon ELLIOT     7.Vladimir WEISS OUT – 91
9.Shane SMELTZ     9.Stanislav SESTAK OUT – 81
10.Chris KILLEN OUT – 72   11.Robert VITTEK OUT – 84
11.Leo BERTOS     16.Jan DURICA  
14.Rory FALLON     17.Marek HAMSIK – C  
19.Tommy SMITH     18.Erik JENDRISEK  
         
Subs     Subs  
23.James BANNATYNE     12.Dusan PERNIS  
12.Glen MOSS – INJ     23.Dusan KUCIAK  
2.Ben SIGMUND     2.Peter PEKARIK  
8.Tim BROWN     8.Jan KOZAK  
13.Andy BARRON     10.Marek SAPARA  
15.Michael McGLINCHEY     13.Filip HOLOSKO IN – 81
16.Aaron CLAPHAM     14.Martin JAKUBKO  
17.Dave MULLIGAN     15.Miroslav STOCH IN – 84
18.Andy BOYENS     19.Juraj KUCKA IN – 91
20.Chris WOOD IN – 72   20.Kamil KOPUNEK  
21.Jeremy CHRISTIE IN – 78   21.Kornel SALATA  
22.Jeremy BROCKIE     22.Martin PETRAS  

MY THOUGHTS:

Not a bad game for me, both teams tried to control the game at time, New Zealand started well, Simon Elliot the chief playmaker in midfield, Lochhead made some moves down the left, the front 3 of Smeltz, Killen and Fallon were too quiet, Killen had one chance the whole game, but Slovakia’s defence kept them smoothered for most of the game, the team as a whole worked really hard for each other, giving 100% effort and then some, the 3 centre backs, Vieclich, Nelsen and Reid were superb, switched off for only a second for Vittek’s goal but apart from that the Slovak’s struggled to find space, Winston Reid espeically was fantastic, not only did he make a game saving tackle on Sestak,but then he popped up at the other end to head the injury time equaliser, a few scouts will have taken note of him as I did here.

I expected more from Slovakia with players with Hamisk, Sestak and Weiss quality they should have cause more trouble for the All Whites, Weiss was busy looking to take people on at all time, which I like in a winger, looks to maybe not have the top level speed to make it at the top level, too early to write him off though, Vittek did very well for his goal, I mentioned earlier he was a threat with his head and he punished New Zealand with it, cross from Weiss and Vittek guided it into the net.

Hamsik disappointed me, big build up, big reputation and he didn’t play anywhere near his full potential as captain he is meant to take charge of the game and he went missing at times, New Zealand deserved their point in the end, Slovakia will be devastated by losing the 2 points in the end, they will need to play a lot better if they want to advance.

IVORY COAST

0

 

PORTUGAL

0

         
         
1.Boubacar BARRY     1.EDUARDO  
4.Kolo TOURE     2.Bruno ALVES  
5.Didier ZOKORA – Y     3.Paulo FERREIRA  
8.Salomon KALOU OUT – 66   6.Ricardo CARVALHO  
9.Cheik TIOTE     7.Cristiano RONALDO – Y  
10.GERVINHO OUT – 82   8.Pedro MENDES  
15.Aruna DINDANE     9.LIEDSON  
17.Saika TIENE     10.DANNY OUT – 55
19.Yaha TOURE     16.Raul MEIRELES OUT – 85
20.Guy DEMEL – Y     20.DECO OUT – 62
21.Emmanuel EBOUE OUT – 89   23.Fabio COENTRAO  
         
Subs     Subs  
16.ZOGBO     12.BETO  
23.Derek YEBOAH     22.Daniel FERNANDES  
2.ANGOUA     4.ROLANDO  
3.Artur BOKA     5.DUDA  
6.Steven GOHOURI     11.SIMAO IN – 55
7.Seydou DOUMBIA     13.MIGUEL  
11.Didier DROGBA IN – 66   14.Miguel VELOSO  
12.GOSSO     15.PEPE  
13.ROMARIC IN – 89   17.Ruben AMORIM IN – 85
14.KOUAMATIEN     18.Hugo ALMEIDA  
18.Kader KEITA IN – 82   19.TIAGO IN – 69
22.Sol BAMBA     21.Ricardo COSTA  

MY THOUGHTS:

All I’ve read on twitter is how bad this game was, and I just didn’t see that, both teams came out the blocks fast, Ronaldo for 10 minutes looked in the mood until he was booked, Ivory Coast had a definite gameplan got all the bodies behind the ball and try and hit on the break, I think this gameplan can only work without Drogba, as he won’t chase back for 90 minutes, but with the front 3 they had on, they chased back and frustrated the Portuguese and overall the Cote D’Ivoire were the better team, they had the better chances, Gervinho should have done better with his header in the 2nd half, a point a decent start for both teams, if there had been a loser you would think that would have been game over for their tournament, now they both have a point and both have Brazil and Korea DPR to play, anything can happen.

Zokora and Toure at the back had a great game, didn’t give Liedson a sniff of a chance and backed up by Eboue and Tiene the wide players didn’t trouble them either, Yaya Toure did what he does best, controlling the game from the middle all moves start with him and he never looked stretched at any stage, Tiote looked vvery busy, not a player I have seen often but he looked good and worked very hard trying to create openings, of the front three Gervinho was the better of the three, he looked to take on the Portuguese defence, for me his pace was wasted in the middle and with Drogba coming back I would put him on the wing to take on the fullbacks, Dindane was ok but quiet for his ability and even more so with Kalou he just wasn’t involved at all, I can’t remember him doing anything of any good.

Drogba came on and got 25 minutes but failed to make an impact, just didn’t look like he got up to speed, he will start the next game I’m sure, with his power and world class ability it will change the dynamic of the Africans front line, and they will need him against Brazil.

Portugal were very disappointing, Ronaldo smashed the post after 5 minutes and after that they struggled, Danny on the left went missing, Deco and Liedson didn’t add anything, Ronaldo failed to terrorise the defence the way he could, Raul Meireles did a good job in the middle always available for a pass and was trying to create chances, Portugal’s best players were Paulo Ferreira and youngster Fabio Coentrao both fullbacks did a great job stopping the wide threat of Ivory Coast, Coentrao looked very impressive young full back plays for Benfica and I will be keeping an eye on him.

Portugal will need to show so much more against Korea DPR they need to create more chances and i think they are too lightweight in the middle to do that, Simao will replace Danny I would think, if the Koreans defend the way they did tonight against Brazil then Portugal could struggle.

BRAZIL

2

 

KOREA DPR

1

         
MAICON (55′)     JI Yun Nam (89′)  
ELANO (72′)        
         
1.Julio CESAR     1.RI Myong Guk  
2.MAICON     2.CHA Jong Hyok  
3.LUCIO – C     3.RI Jun Il  
4.JUAN     4.PAK Nam Chol  
5.Felipe MELO OUT – 84   5.RI Kwang Chon  
6.Michel BASTOS     8.JI Yun Nam  
7.ELANO OUT – 73   9.JONG Tae Se  
8.Gilberto SILVA     10.HONG Yong Jo  
9.Luis FABIANO     11.MUN In Guk OUT – 80
10.KAKA OUT – 78   13.PAK Chol Jin  
11.ROBINHO     17.AN Yong Hak  
         
Subs     Subs  
12.GOMES     18.KIM Myong Gil  
22.DONI     20.KIM Myong Won  
13.Dani ALVES IN – 73   16.KIM Kum Il IN – 80
14.LUISAO     12.CHOE Kum Chol  
15.Thiago SILVA     14.PAK Nam Chol  
16.GILBERTO     16.NAM Song Chol  
17.JOSUE     19.RI Chol Myong  
18.RAMIRES – Y IN – 84   21.RI Kwang Hyok  
19.Julio BAPTISTA     15.KIM Yong Jun – INJ  
20.KLEBERSON     7.AN Chol Hyok  
21.NILMAR IN – 78   22.KIM Kyong Il  
23.GRAFITE     23.PAK Sung Hyok  

MY THOUGHTS:

Everyone was waiting for the arrival of Brazil and I think for 45 minutes everyone was a bit dumbfounded, noone had given Korea a chance of doing anything, I myself had said 4-0 in an earlier prediction, myself and pundits alike couldn’t have been more wrong, for 55 minutes the Koreans defended expertly, not giving Brazil any time in the middle of the park and containing them out wide, then when they got the ball they looked to pour forward and cause an upset, once Maicon had opened the scoring some more space opened up and Elano made it two, everyone like me probably thought the goals would come now, this wasn’t to be and Korea snatched a dreamland goal by Ji Yun-Nam after a great knockdown by Jong Tae-Se a great performance from the Koreans.

Brazil at times looked superb, but in contrast at times looked to lack ideas, the Koreans worked to stifle them but Brazil could have done more to open them up, only once did Michel Bastos take on the Korea right back, too often did he cut inside making it easy for them to defend a narrow side, he did smash a cracking free-kick just past the post with his thunderous left foot, Lucio and Juan looked stunned by the early play by Tae-Se but dealt much better with him in the 2nd half, Melo and Silva did the usual job of the water carriers, breaking up any of Korea’s fast breaks.

I lost count of how many times Fabiano was caught offside, he didn’t have a good night, some nice touches but overall disappointing, Maicon was one of the better players athough he didn’t attack the byline as much as he could but when he did he smashed in a wonderful goal true Brazilian style outside of the boot with great swerve, the man of the night though was Robinho he looked superb from the first minute he looked up for it, pulling tricks and flicks and taking on players everytime he had the ball, if anything was going to happen it was going to come through him, and the 2nd goal was superb a fantastically weighted ball was dispatched first time by Elano, Robinho deserved a goal but his performance was good enough and looks like he has more in the bag.

I think Brazil will get better as the games go on, it’s hard taking on a team with 9 players behind the ball and a back 5 trying to stop you playing, in the confederations cup they played at their best on the break and they will get more space against Portugal and Ivory Coast.

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