Brazil crushes Ivory Coast to reach last 16, New Zealand Italy Draw, Paraguay beats Slovakia
Brazil produced one of the most entertaining performances of the FIFA 2010 World Cup, when they defeated Ivory Coast in Group G match. The win takes Brazil to the next round. But a sour taste will remain in the mouths of Brazil and Brazilian fans, after Kaka was unjustifiably sent off in the final minutes of the match. Another concern for Brazilian management is the fitness of Elano who was seriously injured during the match.
Five-time World Champion Brazil started the match in confident fashion as they moved the ball freely in typical South American fashion. Luis Fabiano opened the scoring for Brazil in the 25th minute. Fabiano blasted the shot in near corner after a brilliant passing move was created by Kaka and Robinho. After the half-break Fabiano was again on the score sheet after Fabiano dodged two defenders to chip the ball in the goal. With two goals upfront, Brazil was completely dominating the match with Ivory Coast looking below average. The expression on Ivory Coast’s coach Sven Erikson was of heavy concern.
Kaka was again in the centre of another brilliant play which saw him providing a brilliant through ball to Elano. Elano neatly finished the move to take the score to 3-0. Just after he scored the goal, he was involved in rough tackle which saw him taken out of the ground on a stretcher. Despite losing Elano, Brazil kept on playing in their typical style. Ivory Coast momentarily caught Brazil off guard when a counter attack saw Drogba scoring goal for the ‘Elephants’ with a header. That was the only consolation for Ivory Coast as Brazil kept on dominating the proceedings.
However, Brazil suffered a serious blow, when Kaka was sent off in final minutes after his tackle with Keita. Replays showed that the referee gave a harsh decision as Keita clearly exaggerated the impact of the tackle by falling to the ground and clutching his head with his hands. After the win Brazil is the second team to qualify for second round after Argentina made it through earlier. The fate of the rest of Group G will be at stake when Portugal faces North Korea on Monday.
Meanwhile, in the Group G match, Paraguay climbed to the top of the table after their victory over Slovakia. Italy was held to their second successive draw in their match against World Cup surprise package New Zealand. Enrique
Vera put Paraguay in front in the 27th minute when he finished a pass supplied by Lucas Barrios. Vera fired a right foot shot from 12 meters to out the South Americans in the lead at half time. In the second half, Cristian Riveros sealed the match when he scored the second goal just four minutes before the final whistle. Commenting on the victory, man of the match Vera said, “It was a great match. We scored and feel close to the round of 16. I think we can reach that. We will play the next match as if it is the final. It was very tough, the opposition played well but we never got desperate.”
On the other hand, it was more misery for Italy, as Azzuries were held to a 1-1 draw in Nelspruit. New Zealand took the lead in the 7th minute when Shane Smeltz scored from a free kick. Italy’s captain Fabio Cannavaro was at fault in a second successive match when he made a mess of his attempt to clear the ball. Smeltz capitalised on Cannavaro’s incompetence to take his country to 1-0 lead. Former World player of the year Cannavaro was also responsible for Paraguay’s goal in Italy’s opener.
Italy was again rescued by the Daniele De Rossi, when he won a penalty for Italy. Vincenzo Iaquinta calmly converted the dead ball to level scores. It is the second time that Italy has conceded a goal from a set piece. Commenting on it, Italy’s coach Marcello Lippi said, “Certainly it is not the will of the lads that is certainly missing but a bit of fluidity. We hit post and had chances but we created little really.”