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The first round of games is almost over…

June 16, 2010

Top stuff from Elano -

…and one of the bigger surprises of the tournament so far was the Brazilian failure to hammer North Korea. It took until into the second half for the five-time winners to score and though a late Korean goal was simply a consolation, it gave a deserved credibility to the scoreline.

Elano’s goal was one of the best moves of the World Cup so far, though; too often the final ball has been poor but in this case a delightful through ball from Robinho was slotted home by his former Manchester City teammate. Maicon’s opener, too, was a decent move and the galloping right back punished the goalkeeper for his – admittedly fairly orthodox – position by cutting the ball in at the near post when a cross looked inevitable. But the Koreans were much better than most people expected, and, despite showing little first-half endeavour, held the Brazilians well. Not bad against a nation boasting a team sheet enough to make Kim Jong ill.

A little less conversation, a little more action please -

The result propelled Brazil to the top of a tough group – Ivory Coast and Portugal’s drab draw earlier on was disappointing following a lively first 20 minutes. Both teams seemingly started with the admirable conviction that if playing football’s not high on the agenda, at least kick the opposing players a bit. The expected red cards never materialised, unfortunately. Both would expect to beat Korea and hope to draw with Brazil, but based on yesterday the Koreans won’t be easy to break down.

New Zealand were also better than expected in their opener with Slovakia, and earned a deserved draw with a stoppage-time header from the excellent Winston Reid. This was another underwhelming game, a common feature of this year’s opening group matches. It should liven up today though, with Spain and Chile expected to make a good start and the second round of games beginning – both South Africa and Uruguay would leave themselves well-placed in Group A with a win, following the opening salvo of draws on Friday.

Today’s predictions:
Honduras 0 Chile 2
Spain 3 Switzerland 0
South Africa 1 Uruguay 2

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