We’ve talked here before about the potential value and positivity of a 0-0 result, and I do still agree with those sentiments…but sometimes a scoreless draw is a damn shame.
Now, Brazil and Portugal were moving on pretty much regardless of what happened in today’s Group G matches. Brazil was assured, and Portugal was as close to assured as a team could be, what with those 7 goals they notched against North Korea earlier this week. So I can understand there being a lessened amount of fire on each side – no one wants to get injured now, or pick up a second yellow. But we’re talking about two teams that are both quite talented, that are both capable of scoring goals with less-than-maximum effort, and beautiful ones at that. Yet each side today was playing far more casually than I would have expected, even with their spots in the next round secured. I’ve seen more ambition in meaningless friendlies, and whatever the table looks like, it’s still the World Cup, and this is still Brazil and Portugal.
Interestingly enough, somehow 7 yellow cards got racked up between the two sides in just the first half – they weren’t attacking the goals but they were sure attacking each other. The shots that were made were mostly long-range efforts lacking in precision or closer attempts put wide for want of better timing. The second half calmed down, seeing no further cards given, but also seeing the pace weaken even further. Eventually, after a ridiculous five minutes of stoppage time, the game ended 0-0. I suppose we’re just so accustomed to Brazil being Brazil that even with 19 shots, 60% possession, and a thus far second-best pass completion rate of 78.47%, we still always expect more – something impressive, something amazing. Let’s hope they’re saving that up for the later games…
Ivory Coast beat North Korea 3-0, but with the aforementioned stomping of the Asian side by Portugal, it was not enough to change the table and the Elephants will be heading home. With zero points and a -11 goal differential, the North Koreans will finish last of all 32 countries.