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Portugal lack punch

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Paul Fletcher | 19:29 UK time, Tuesday, 15 June 2010

World Cup 2010: Port Elizabeth

The first World Cup in Africa might have many unique and original qualities - but there are some very familiar characteristics in evidence.

Portugal's goalless draw against Ivory Coast in Port Elizabeth was the 13th game of the World Cup. It was the sixth draw, while another four of the previous fixtures had finished 1-0.

The sound of the vuvuzela might be something new for many football fans, but on the field of play, the fear of losing your opening group game is as strong as ever.

"There have been a lot of draws," Portugal defender Paulo Ferreira told me shortly after full-time at the Nelson Mandela Bay Arena. "Everybody knows it is important not to lose.

"Our match was between two teams that wanted to avoid defeat and, because there was a lot of respect on both sides, there were very few chances."

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The fixture was the opening match in Group G, this World Cup's so-called group of death.

Both Portugal and Ivory Coast have yet to play Brazil and defeat on Tuesday would have made qualifying very difficult.

Ferreira was quick to point out that his team play North Korea next, while Sven-Goran Eriksson's Elephants face the Brazilians.

In effect, what he was saying was that Tuesday's draw suits his team because, if everything pans out as expected, Portugal will go into their final group game with four points safely tucked away after defeating North Korea, while Ivory Coast will have it all to do after losing their second match.

All well and good, but it could be argued that Portugal missed an opportunity to take a giant stride towards qualifying against an Ivorian side without talismanic striker Didier Drogba for most of the game.

The 32-year-old broke his arm on 4 June and started from the bench against Portugal, eventually joining the action after 66 minutes.

Much credit must go to the Ivorians for playing with a defensive solidity on Tuesday that has often proved to be beyond them. Several of the small contingent of journalists from Ivory Coast (apparently there are 11 in South Africa) told me they had never seen their team play as well in defence.

However, Ivory Coast were hardly potent in attack, managing just one shot on target, and Portugal should perhaps have done more to try to stretch the contest and test a backline that had an inexperienced central defensive pairing of Kolo Toure and Didier Zokora, who normally plays in midfield and was booked after just seven minutes.

"We didn't play well," admitted Deco afterwards. "It was difficult to find the space to create occasions to score."

Portugal almost found the net after 10 minutes when skipper Cristiano Ronaldo smashed a long-range drive against the woodwork. It was a brilliant individual effort but, looking back over my notes, I cannot find one occasion when Portugal opened up their opponents.

Ronaldo has not scored for his country since February 2009 and, despite claiming recently that goals are like a jar of ketchup - you keep forcing it then it all comes at once - he looked more frustrated than threatening on Tuesday.

His problems are symptomatic of his team in general. Portugal limped through qualifying, only securing their passage to South Africa after a play-off victory over Bosnia-Hercegovina.

They might be third in the Fifa world rankings but they scored just 19 goals in their 12 qualifying games (including the play-off ties), and eight of those came in two matches against Malta.

They recently drew 0-0 with Cape Verde and there is little sign of an upturn in form to suggest they are a genuine threat at this tournament.

For a team with talented wingers they badly lacked width on Tuesday, with Ronaldo often cutting infield, Danny largely anonymous and Simao struggling to make an impact after his introduction.

A heat map of the ground covered by the individual players during the match showed that Ferreira and fellow full-back Fabio Coentrao hardly ever advanced beyond the half-way line.

Sporting Lisbon striker Liedson was a peripheral figure and the lack of a truly world-class striker - something of an Achilles heel for the Portuguese - seems to be the case once again.

Playmaker Deco, who retires from international football after this tournament, was withdrawn after 62 minutes and although I thought Raul Meireles was industrious in midfield, Carlos Queiroz's side lacked the guile and invention of recent Portugal sides.

"We always have good players, the level is almost the same but in 2006 we had Luis Figo and Pauleta who were important for us," veteran defender Ricardo Carvalho told me.

"Now we have more experience and I think we still have a good team."

Portugal lost the final of Euro 2004, finished fourth at the 2006 World Cup and reached the quarter-final at Euro 2008.

They could very well go on to make a major impact here in South Africa. As Ferreira pointed out, if you qualify from the group stage then anything can happen.

For that to happen they badly need Ronaldo to find his scoring form, while a fully-fit Pepe should bolster the midfield.

But I did not get the impression after speaking to several Portugal players after the match they are a group who really believe they will leave this tournament having silenced their critics.

"You never know," added Ferreira, perhaps more in hope than expectation.

"We hope and wish to go as far as we can and anything can happen - but it is very tough and there other strong teams."

You can follow me throughout the World Cup at twitter.com/Paul__Fletcher

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Portugal, who I am supporting as I have a Portuguese mother, looked like they were having a post Sunday lunch kick-around. No urgency about them at all. I stopped watching at 66 minutes after Ronaldo, with 2 defenders on Liedson and the field to his right wide open, failed to run forward to collect the obvious one-two which then just hot away from him as his reaction wasn't quick enough. Surely everyone watched Germany do those basics perfectly. it's stuff you learn at junior level..pass and keep going forward.
    So f you're not even getting the basics right, you may as well forget luck helping you out.
    Ferreia's lack of pace against Gervinho( ? )was something Brazil and PRK will have seen and will definitely exploit.
    There's no life in this team since Queiroz took over. They need a rocket to fire them up

  • Comment number 2.

    "They need a rocket to fire them up"

    A Ronaldo Rocket?!

  • Comment number 3.

    Queiroz will suffer for his Ronaldo infatuation. Making the world's most selfish footballer national captain - baffling.

  • Comment number 4.

    Maybe Ronaldo should stick to posing.

  • Comment number 5.

    I quite agree with you lelinho. Getting the basics right is what makes the backbone of an attack. If one cannot judge that running when you don't have the ball on your feet is much more important than running with the ball. For the whole match i was waiting for those 'forays' of runs along the line and going deep. No team football but not even an individual approach to the indulgence from the so called also-best-player. I'm not slating ronaldo but like the criticism bestowed towards other good club-players,he shouldn't be omitted off the slate.
    And for the manager!!He should also check the basics. CR should have played the second half as the centre-forward and deco in the centre. Even knowing that the formation itself was wrong,why didn't he change a bit to allow the players play in their effective and default position? I think right decisions at the right time and right usage of the right resource is what makes one believe in a system. And for me football is more of a system and less of a game.

  • Comment number 6.

    I am dying of boredom right now. Does anyone else feel the same way. I know its the World Cup and that this one is special as it is the first to be held on the African continent. But, all the games that have been played so far have been extremely poor. THere are alot of troublesome events going on around the world. The last thing the world needs is a stage where nothing happens because everyone is worried about what people say about them. All in all a poor tournament so far. Can someone please let their feet do the talking and release the shackles.

  • Comment number 7.

    Agreed,Ronaldo´s a good player,not great,and i think he missed his vocation; should have been an actor!

  • Comment number 8.

    I though Germany were quite entertaining actually. They were playing with the freedom to express themselves, and have been the best team in the tournament by far. Ivory coast looked good also but both teams today just cancelled each other out, which can happen very often in games when the so called favorites are playing. Anyhow Portugal look to me a spent force and even Ronaldo seems to be looking over his shoulder knowing he's carrying the burden of being their captain and best player. England will be fine on Friday, no worries there.....fingers crossed!

  • Comment number 9.

    The DPRK is no walk over for any of these countries as it was proven today against Brazil. DPRK is underestimated by so many. Both Portugal and Ivory Coast have to be at their best to grab those three points, it's no fluke nor gratis. The DPRK is no longer the unknown team as so many analyst mentioned.

  • Comment number 10.

    I agree with those who are worried about the quality of football we're watching. Some argue that it's always this way in the early games of a World Cup - those people tend to be young. This is not the way we're used to seeing this major tournament begin. Even the 1990 tournament, the lowest-scoring finals ever, started better than this with more shots, chances, and of course, goals.

    I partly blame the ball - players are not only miss-hitting passes, crosses and shots, but, even worse, are deciding against certain passes for fear of what might happen.

    I also party blame the vuvzuelas. When a team goes 1-0 down, the players rely on their fans to pick them up. Maybe a song, maybe a chant. Here they get the same noise for 90 minutes - a drone.

  • Comment number 11.

    Not the worst 0-0 draw I've seen in fairness. As for Ronaldo, well, I used to like the Portugal team, and hoped they would do well in previous tournaments, they play an attractive style of football. I find Ronaldo unbearable though. Sure, he's a very talented footballer, but time and time again he goes down too easily, or blatantly dives, already looking towards the ref in mid fall, always looking to get cheap free kicks. For all his talents, a dishonest player . Between that and his preening arrogance, I find myself supporting whoever Portugal and Ronaldo will play against in this World Cup.

  • Comment number 12.

    This is a horrible horrible tournament so far. The football is shocking and so are the vuvuzelas. Normally if the game is boring the fans will at least liven it up with songs and banter, here i just hear a monotonous drone. Its funny Africa is renowned for having a rhythm and a beat, and they get stuck with this instrument. Its truly disappointing.

  • Comment number 13.

    I'm in total agreement with the comments about the vuvuzelas. All sense of match atmosphere is obliterated by their non stop drone. It's like listening to a constant angry traffic jam for 90 minutes. It's definitely a big minus in this World Cup. The cheers, boos, chants, singing, the highs and lows, and everything so wonderful that the crowd contributes to a match, all wiped out and replaced by this horrible one note drone. This World Cup will be remembered for the vuvuzelas, and not in a good way.

  • Comment number 14.

    Ronaldo wants protection? The turf should ask for protection, he takes more dives than Greg Luganis. He was the same way with Man U and he's the same with Real Madrid. The only difference with Real Madrid is he gets away with it, the Spanish League is very soft, " No tackling!" He missed his calling, he should be posing on the 9m board. Lots of talent but a real woosy! I also agree with the nay sayers of the vuvuzelas they are horrible. It's much more enjoyable to watch with the TV muted! What a god awful sound.

  • Comment number 15.

    I do wish people would stop blaming the new ball for the poor quality of football in the opening matches of the World Cup. This round is often timid, because the better sides often play for tactical draws - England excepted! Also, there seem to be an unusual number of teams who have little chance of progressing beyond the opening round. I accept that many players have talked themselves into a fear of the ball, and that their game has suffered as a result. But, it's all in the mind. This ball is more accurate and true than traditional balls, proven by wind-tunnel experiments with a robot kicker capable of perfect striking and incapable of imagination or fear. Speaking of which, the Germans seem to do quite well with the new ball! Yes, I know they've been using it for months; but there was nothing to stop other countries from doing the same. Unfortunately, we all have a tendency to look for something on which to blame our own failings. Take the New Zealand/Slovakia match, for example. Both goals scored from faultless headers from faultless crosses - no sign of unexpected deviation by the ball there. Slovakia failed to win that match because they did not pressurise NZ immediately after taking the lead. Laziness and lack of application cost Slovakia a match they should have easily won against a largely inept and dispirited NZ.

  • Comment number 16.

    There's a trade-off between having 32 teams in the final (allowing more countries to join the party....which is good), and the quality of the football. Let's face it, the excitement builds up for weeks, the competition starts.....and then we have to endure Slovenia v Algeria or New Zealand v Slovakia! (just to pick a couple of examples.)

    The ball/altitude is a BIG factor in my book. I can't recall ever seeing so many overhit crosses and corners and so many shots sailing high over the bar.

    As for Ronaldo. As a united fan I remembered what I was missing in the 10th minute when he hit the post. For the rest of the 90 mins I was reminded of what I was not missing. The guy's a disgrace, constantly going to ground, moaning at the ref and trying to play to the crowd with his ridiculous and often wayward flicks.

    His contribution lately for Portugal has been terrible. I don't see this Portugese team going very far!

  • Comment number 17.

    Ivory Coast might just sneak through, i liked the Zokora-Toure partnership, this group will be the most interesting especially if Ivorians get something off the Brazilian match

  • Comment number 18.

    What a disappointing game. Summed up in the last minute of injury time when Ivory Coast had a chance to sling in a corner and snatch a winner but they held the ball up without delivering! And Guy Demel going down with cramp and wasting about 2 mins of these dying moments, superb time wasting. Hopefully teams will shows some intent and bravery in their second games!

  • Comment number 19.

    the portuguese team has always come across as Talented non performers to me,since the days of the great luis figo and rui costa, through several managerial changes, they have always appeared desperately poor and have always lacked finishers. i believe the best i have ever seen them as a team was at the euro they hosted,and that was exactly why they were any good, because they hosted it. the world cup semi finals was weird, how in this world did they ever get that far?

  • Comment number 20.

    2 of the least likeable footballers in the world in Drogba and Ronaldo gave the world a thrillingly dull game. Good. They are both a disgrace to their sport.

  • Comment number 21.

    There have definitely been worse 0 - 0 draws (France - Uruguay???).

    Whilst I've not seen all of all of the games I have been reasonably impressed with the standard of refereeing and the (in general) lack of the "Look at me. Aren't I the star." type of refereeing. You know the type; he runs 50 metres to stand on a spot for a free kick, chest puffed out, hoping his mistress is watching. One question, why was he 50 metres from the play in the first place? The Uzbekhi lad who did the opening game really did the business (IMHO).

    Portugal Ivory Coast was the first match that I have seen where the decision making was poor. Every one knows that Ronaldo dives most of the time, but not all of the time. There was a foul that led to his booking and that of Zokuro (??). Several other fouls from both teams went unpunished, leading to a couple of little flare ups. Fortunately the players calmed themselves down. It is amusing to see Ronaldo calling for more protection from referees as, in the past, it has been the Portuguese team that is more often the cause of problems. And as for Carlos Quieroz complaining about Drogba's arm cast..... A true pupil of Sir Alex.
    Ho hum, now for the delights of Honduras - Chile. THIS is where the world cup starts.

  • Comment number 22.

    This game typified what is wrong with this world cup. teams are afraid to take risks thinking that they might concede a goal.
    Well, Germany did that for most of the 90 min v Australia and reaped the rewards. As for Ronaldo, what more can you say, I am a Utd fan and was glad to see him go for just the reasons so many have talked about, and Drogba, he got into the box late on with a great run and should have scored, he does that every week for Chelsea.
    I am Kenyan, but i agree with most of the posters here, it is time for the vuvuzelas to be kept outside the grounds, I would prefer the singing and the drums.

  • Comment number 23.

    Now then - thanks for the comments so far. The vuvuzela issue is not going to go away. It is a difficult one. There is no doubt that it is a part of watching football here in SA - yet it has a very negative impact on what else fans can do - singing, chanting etc

    No doubt, when the vuvuzela cranks into life everything else fades into the background.

    As for Portugal, they were poor and looked short of confidence and self-belief. Plenty of question marks remain over Ronaldo - whether he can deliver at the highest level being top of the list.

    I don't think they will go all that far - and it will be interesting to see whether they or Ivory Coast drop points against North Korea.

  • Comment number 24.

    I agree with the comments about being disappointed with the world cup so far. Im not sure about the ball now as Brazil passed it short and long pretty well, as did Germany & Argentina. I believe that its being spoilt by the negative safety first approach by teams. So much sideways passing and lack of daring for fear of failure. I just hope that now Spain are about to play it will show the rest how to play (positively). The way i see it is there have been two types of game:
    1. A game where one side defends and waits for a set piece or break to attack or-
    2. Both teams wait till the last 5 minutes to attack.
    Games falling under the first statement would be;Argentina v nigeria,Brazil v North Korea, Holland v Denmark.
    Under the 2nd criteria:
    Japan v cameroon, Portugal v I.Coast, serbia v ghana, algeria v slovenia, new zealand v slovakia, uragauy v france.

    Pretty sad really........

  • Comment number 25.

    Christiano is built like a light heavyweight, but he is a soft young man, prone to amateur dramatics every time he is touched.
    He comes over as a selfish human being and was generally disliked in England, even by some of thhe rose tinted brigade at OT.
    Portugal, for all the talent which they have in abundance, are the worst country in Europe, for diving without question. Nani, Queresma when he plays and out mate Ronaldo are just a few examples.
    It is rife in ther domestic league in Portugal, snap out of it boys, and do what you are good at, playing football that is pleasing to the eye. Cut out the synical diving, can't belive they made Ronaldo skipper, hardly a team player is he. ?

  • Comment number 26.

    Group 'G' was billed as a group of death to start with; it is deadlier now. After witnessing the Brazil DPRK match I think all chances of qualification for Portugal and Ivory Coast look foreclosed. DPRK will be the second team to qualify from this group.

    Brazil had to play at their very best to break the deadlock. Maicon produced the best goal of the tournament so far. He is really a class player in this high quality Brazil team. The second Brazil goal was a quality pass from Robinho that was expertly homed in by Elano.


    DPRK were not fazed. They came up with one of their own that could have been the equalising one had they not been denied a penalty a minute earlier.

    What Portugal and Ivory Coast put on the table is not quite in the same league as what DPRK offered against Brazil. Defending against wave after wave of attack they were like an over-sprinkling of cherries in the off-yellow Brazilian ice cream.

  • Comment number 27.

    I was mystified by Ivory Coast's final set piece last night.

    3 minutes extra was announced. Time's almost up, Ivory coast win a corner, one last chance to grab a winner. The ref delays the corner being taken as a player is down injured. The game re-starts when 93 minutes is already up. The Ivorians simply need to deliver the corner and hope someone heads it in quick. What did they do? Play it short, take a moment to casually look up and - oops, the ref calls full-time.

    Summed up the lack of urgency in the match and the tournament so far.

  • Comment number 28.

    I think the ball is an issue. The teams who have been playing with it since February , like Germany and Argentina, are obviously more used to it.
    The France - Uruguay game was definitely more boring, but that's still no excuse for strolling around the pitch as if there was nothing to play for. I do hope that now that everyone has the point they wanted to start with, they'll jack themselves up and deliver. How Portugal will be at 6000 feet above sea level where running is much harder and the ball behaves more erratically, is a worry. As for the vuvuzelas I think 11/06/2010 is the day the music died as far as football goes.
    Queiroz has made Portugal boring. When you play players out of their natural positions, you're asking for trouble. That the players treated the game like it didn't matter is even worse. Ronaldo should be leading by example and he's not even getting the basics right. How he is captain with players like Deco and Simao in the squad is beyond me. He'd be the last player I'd make captain until he grows up.
    I think this is Portugal's only point of this WC, they may as well go home now

  • Comment number 29.

    I agree with all of what people have said on here. I am portuguese and i saw the second half of the game and i dont understand some of the managers decisions!!! we needed width to get through their defence but instead he changes the formation which gave us no width and took one of our most creative players (Deco) and put him on the right wing, which isnt his position!! What annoys me the most is that the fans and the media are only looking at ronaldo as a saviour to portugals problems but that isnt the case. he only played 7 qualifying games and didnt score in any of them, which is pretty awful for the most expensive player in the world but portugal can play without ronaldo and still win games and they proved that by getting here. As for the manager he is a waste of space, he has one plan and if that doesn't work then he doesn't know what to do like it showed yesterday. Some of my friends were telling me that nani will be missed but i disagreed because we have danny which is just as good but after yesterday's performance i wish nani wasn't injured as he probably was the most consistent portuguese player going into this world cup!

  • Comment number 30.

    On the ball: it may be better it may be worse (from what I have seen the lack of surface roughness seems to mean it can't be whipped with spin and curl as well which means Beckham-like free-kicks are more difficult), but the point is you wouldn't give a rock star a new guitar the day before Glastonbury and expect him to play it as well even if it is a better one. Yes they could have trained a bit more but its still a completely unnecessary obstacle to introduce something new for the world's premier competition. It only makes sense for Adidas and their wonga but FIFA will lose out more from marketing if the quality of football suffers as a result.

    On the Vuvuzelas, they can't ban them now, it would create too much tension where (understandable) insecurities over Europeans dictating to Africans. They should have done it a year ago over the Confed which would have given time for any backlash to die down but as normal FIFA ducked the issue.

  • Comment number 31.

    Yes they could have trained a bit more but its still a completely unnecessary obstacle to introduce something new for the world's premier competition.
    ----------
    It's been available to national FAs since early in the season.

  • Comment number 32.

    The Jabulani ball is certainly a problem. There are some very queer mispasses as if the passers are not sure if it will go in the given direction. I've never seen so many free kicks sail over the bar when the intent is clearly to score.

    With time players will perhaps get used to its eerie characteristics but I cannot say the same about the maddening vuvuzelas.

  • Comment number 33.

    Very poor skill levels on show.

    I've never seen so many players unable to shoot on target - when they shoot at all.

    Corners go straight out for a throw-in.

    Free-kicks reach row Z - when they arent just blasted into the wall.

    Today's players is faster and fitter.

    But nothing like as talented!







  • Comment number 34.

    Yes they could have trained a bit more but its still a completely unnecessary obstacle to introduce something new for the world's premier competition.
    ----------
    It's been available to national FAs since early in the season.
    ----------
    That's what I meant by they could have trained a bit more - but only outside league games and its the clubs who support the players wages so they wouldn't be too happy with this. Many leagues couldn't use the new ball because they were under contract elsewhere. These are businesses - the whole season can't be tailored for the world cup breaking contracts and the like. If FIFA had plumped for Nike then German clubs would have been stuck using Adidas. My point is that if you want to maximise the chances of seeing the best players in the world playing at their best you try to ensure they are all using familiar tools. Not something radically different.

  • Comment number 35.

    As for all the criticism of the vuvuzela. Some of you need to get over yourselves.

    What happens in Africa is African business - even when it's on the world stage. If you dont like it - take a good look at yourselves.

    You remind me of people who have to have fish and chips when in Spain!

    Not everywhere is England. (Thank God!!!!!)

  • Comment number 36.

    I was full of optimism for this world cup as i am Ghanaian and it is the first time it is being hosted here in Africa.So far though,i have been very disappointed.The vuvuzela's or whatever they call it all so wrong.I miss the passion and the cheer songs,the drumming,the anguish and frustrations from the crowd when the referee makes a call that does not go down well with them.Its all drowned and lost in a very annoying sound comparable flies on a carcass.
    For me and most people here in Ghana,my agony is double.But it still has to do with sound, and this time it has everything to do with the clowns who do the commentary.They are a joke.Players names are not pronounced right,wrong analysis of the game and tactics,to cut a bad story short,they are just clueless and its so frustrating.Oh God i miss them English commentators on the EPL and ECL...Big shouts to Allan Green,Gary Lineker,Jonathan pearce,Clive Tyldesley etc.

  • Comment number 37.

    Stop blaming Ronaldo for getting fouled so often.Having played football for many years I know just how much it hurts to be kicked on the ankle and achiles area.
    Why should he just accept it.Also there is nothing in the rules that says when you are fouled you should make every effort to stay on your feet.
    It's not only Ronaldo who is getting fouled in this way and it's not just him who is going down.
    Based on one game against one of the best teams in Africa, Paul Fletcher decides Portugal lacks punch.
    The Ivory Coast team played very well and it was a matter of two top teams cancelling each other out.


  • Comment number 38.

    Ah the usual bile and dribble from english fans about Ronaldo. At least he tried to light up this otherwise dull WC with a moment of pure class that unfortunatly didnt hit the right side of the post and fly in.

    He showed all these other talentless players that have been on display that all this rubbish of the ball being garbage, is well, just that, GARBAGE!

    Yeah he's more arrogant than most, but at least he has some talent and isnt afraid to try and use it, unlike these teams like the Ivory Coast that just want to shut games down 0-0 and not even try and shoot at that white thing with a net hanging off it. Since he left the EPL, the quality of football in the league nose dived and its no surprise why.

    Maybe if a few more players tried to get a bit more confidence/arrogance call it what you will, like Ronaldo, then maybe this WC will start to resemble something other than a sunday under 10's tournemount. (mind you the amount of "talent" on show is a worry, Messi and Ronaldo apart, half the players cant kick the flippin ball and fall over it when they do bother to try and shoot!!)

  • Comment number 39.

    @Midland "You remind me of people who have to have fish and chips when in Spain!

    Not everywhere is England. (Thank God!!!!!)

    I think you will find that most players from most countries are complaining about it, you live in england, of course you are not going to know if the Chile nation are moaning


  • Comment number 40.

    England will be fine on Friday, no worries there.....fingers crossed!

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------Ha! You better keep your eyes well closed then...As far everyone could see from England, it clearly seems that you are coming home soon, very soon!!!
    As usual, you English talk too much...that to not say a lot of rubbish!!!
    Your squad is a disgrace, and to be honest i already feel sorry for Capello who is gonna end up with is reputation well damaged!
    Until a decent Long-Term Athlete Development programm is established, in which everyone (and i mean EVERYONE), follows the same vision and desire England will have no chance...
    I do support you in one thing: Never stop dreaming!!!!
    One day, when things are moving in the right direction you might have another shot at the title!!!
    Or shall we have another World Cup where England plays every game at Wembley, and everyone else has to move up and down the country in order to play their matches?
    Yada, yada, yada!!!

  • Comment number 41.

    VUVUZELAS ARE THERE TO STAY.ITS PURE NONSENSE TO SAY VUVUZELAS ARE DISRUPTING THE FLOW OF THE GAME.......MANY PLAYERS GET TARGETED AND BOED BUT THEY KEEP THEIR HEADS AND PERFORM QUITE WELL, E.G RONALDO AFTER 2006 WORLD CUP, CASHELY COLE AGAINST ARSENAL, SOL CAMPELL AGAINST SPURS.....I MEAN BEING BOED IN ISOLATION IS WORSE THAN ANY SOUNDS THAT ARE GENERALLY RINGING THE EARS OF ALL INCLUDING REFEREE.EUROPEANS ALWAYS THINK THEY HAVE STYLE......THIS IS AFRICAN STYLE, GET USED TO IT OR GO JUMP INTO THE OCEAN.THE FANS IN S.A LOCAL AND OTHERWISE ARE ENJOYING THE VUVUZELAS......SO ARE FANS WATCHING THE WORLD CUP.CARRA IS BUYING ONE FOR HIS KIDS WHO HAVE ASKED FOR IT!!!!

  • Comment number 42.

    That match was an absolute disgrace.

    Any player who cheats (by diving, pretending to have been pushed, clutching face in agony, etc) and escapes punishment during a match should be retrospectively red-carded, and any goals subsequently scored by the team while that player was still on the pitch should be retrospectively disallowed.

    That should put an end to the amateur dramatics.

  • Comment number 43.

    Now then,
    The BBC bus has just arrived in Colesberg, a town on the way from Port Elizabeth to Bloemfontein. We will be watching the South Africa-Uruguay game in a tavern here.

    As for Ronaldo, I guess he needs to be given the entire duration of Portugal's participation in the tournament to prove his worth but the jury remains out.

    The vuvuzela issue is just going to divide opinion - simple as.

  • Comment number 44.

    Typical anti-Portuguese feeling. Before the match everyone was going on about how good the Ivory Coast are and immediately writing off Portugal. This desire of the world to see the Ivory Coast winning didn't materialize and now they're criticizing Portugal. As for Ronaldo, I don't see why the world keeps going on about him. We qualified to the World Cup without him playing. Our team is not just Ronaldo and it is ridiculous to expect Ronaldo to do everything for us. And the captain should be Carvalho or Ferreira or Simão. We are still very much in this tournament and have a great chance of progressing to the next stage. As for the qualifying matches, we were rebuilding and if the armchair critics of our team have watched Portugal matches since Euro 2008, they will have seen Portugal have actually improved their defence and we didn't allow Drogba to do anything. Don't blame his broken arm for this. If he was fit enough to play then he was fit enough to play so much better than he actually did The attack was rubbish yesterday but then I never wanted naturalized players on my team. Deco and Liedson should be replaced by Amorim or Simão and Hugo Almeida.

  • Comment number 45.

    #23 Paul wrote: The vuvuzela issue is not going to go away - it has a very negative impact on what else fans can do - singing, chanting etc

    ____________________________________________________________________________

    You'll get a lot of agreement on that Paul, but so far it's the only really identifiable thing that distinguishes this World Cup from that of the last few. The stadiums, pitches, all other game ambience seem the same otherwise - Fifa sanatised (on TV at least, I'm sure it's different out there?). I tend to forget about the vuvuzela's early on but can see how it can get under the skin of many people (a bit like scratching on a blackboard)

    As for the games, at least so many drawn matches should keep it interesting right up to the very last minute of the group fixtures.

  • Comment number 46.

    The reason why Portugal lacked punch is because of Queiroz who's a conservative incompetent coach. He's as bad as Domenech and I hope for Portugal's sake that they fire him ASAP and replace him with someone who's more competent (Jorge Jesus maybe?)

  • Comment number 47.

    This will go down as the worst World Cup Ever; reasons:-

    1. The ball is rubbish - 50% less goals than ususal scored - makes games sooo boring - no free kicks gone in only Podolskis thunderbolt of note.

    2. Vuvuzelas drown out banter.

    3. Kick Off too early we only see 1 match a day if you work.

    ergo .... this will be forgotten by all country except the eventual winners.

    Bring on Brazil in 4 years with none of these issues.

  • Comment number 48.

    #47 tyson wrote: Bring on Brazil in 4 years with none of these issues.

    How come we never hear moans about new Nike balls every Premiership season..strange?

    Don't know about the kick-off time's in Brazil'2014..probably all day matches starting well before 5pm G.M.T though I imagine? Does anyone else know?

  • Comment number 49.

    @Stevenov, I completely agree with you.

    This world cup, at least in these very early stages is a terrible spectacle, made even worse by the amateur incompetent commentating we are being subjected to. I do not have cable T.V so I have to rely on our national broadcaster to screen games, that they are dong, but the AUB which is sponsoring them is doing us a disservice.

    I will be getting cable for the knockout rounds, as for now I am watching with the T.V on mute.

  • Comment number 50.

    I saw no evidence of them producing any swagger during qualifying. Nothing has changed to suggest they will find any here.

  • Comment number 51.

    I remember once thinking there was a swarm of flies outside during one of the games only to remember it was the famous vuvuzelas, but i do love the way they crank up when the team being supported has an attacking opportunity, really nice.

  • Comment number 52.

    Ivory Coast might just "sneak in?" Toure, Toure, Drogba, Kalou, Eboue. Not exactly Division 2 standard. Portugal will be the ones going home, not Drogbas team mates.

    Just a bit off topic but England have probably the worst keepers in the tournament. Nobody I have seen lately is having a problem with the ball. In fact the keepers generally have been superb-hence the low scoring.

  • Comment number 53.


    Portugal are a competent side. Deco, Ricardo Carvalho and Ronaldo have featured in many famous victories for their clubs and country. The trio and rest of the colleagues will need to produce something special in their remaining ties against an efficient North Korea and hot favourites Brazil. Best wishes to Carlos Queiroz and his boys.


    Dr. Cajetan Coelho

  • Comment number 54.

    I hope they lose and go out for that wink 4 years ago I can never forgive hopefully what goes around comes around and they go out and ivory coast go through

  • Comment number 55.

    @ 44. Portugal OUT of the EU
    Typical anti-Portuguese feeling.

    I’m with you all the way.
    Bit of friendly advice don’t bother reading and commenting on these blogs, you will get yourself frustrated and feel offended at times.

    After reading and commenting week in week out, you will one day realise...”why do I bother?”

    They bias and just for the English.

    If you are Portuguese and live in England you will soon realise that the ...
    ...English have everything and are always up for a good moan.

    Remember the Old Portuguese saying...”to complain with your mouth full.”

    If it serves as consolation it doesn’t matter what many say, what matters is we beat them...in 86...2000...2004...2006...

  • Comment number 56.

    55 chucksavage7:

    I wouldn't focus too much energy on the English or the English football team.....I'd conserve as much as possible for the Brazilians & North Koreans.

  • Comment number 57.

    @56. ninetofivegrind

    Dont worry about me or anyone focusing too much energy on the Brazilians & North Koreans.

    Generally, we are quite realistic as a nation, not arrogant.

    We dont claim to winning anything before we have even competed.

    Brazil should win.

    North Korea did impress.

    As for the result, may the best man win.

  • Comment number 58.

    I Agree that Portugal lacked width and this would have helped them to attack. With Nani out, they needed their full-backs to provide some width, but they were obviously instructed to keep it tight and not venture too far forward.
    I saw an interesting take on the match here: [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 59.

    Will be happy to see Portugal and Spain both go out due to their diving antics. Great football interspersed that's for sure, but I just hate seeing cheats getting away with murder. There must be some retrospective action that FIFA or any other footballing body can take on this at the higher levels, it really destroys the game.

  • Comment number 60.

    55. @ chucksavage7,

    I've been reading these blogs and 606 for several years. The so-called "experts" are always out looking for reasons to bash Portugal. However, I intend to keep reading these "experts", so as to remind me of how Portugal is one of the most hated countries in the world. It must hurt many people to see a small nation with only 10million people doing so well in so many tournaments since 2000.....

    59. @Spigz, what are you talking about? Yes Ronaldo dives but he doesn't dive as much as he did in 2006. And if you don't want to appear Lusophobic, I suggest you mention Italy and France. Italy only beat Australia by diving and France only made it into the final of the 2006 World Cup through a dive by Henry. And of course France qualified to this year's World Cup with Henry cheating once again, whereas Portugal qualified by playing with a solid defence (we haven't suffered a goal for well over 10 matches) and scoring goals at the right time. It is easier to criticize us than to highlight our strenghts.

 

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