By Ollie Irish
Yet another disappointing match. The first 15 minutes were quite lively but after that both teams seemed to lose ambition, no doubt afraid of losing a match when each has still to play group favourites Brazil. In that respect, it’s a shame this was the first match in the group.
Cristiano Ronaldo had one excellent shot which hit the post – one of the best strikes at the World Cup so far – but otherwise he wasn’t involved much. Didier Drogba came on in the second half, wearing a FIFA-sanctioned protective cast on his arm, and made no impact.
Both teams were much stronger in 2006, it seems to me. It’s amazing that Portugal are ranked third in the world. Sven’s Ivory Coast are solid enough but play without fire and joy. It’s a shame many African teams have lost their character by mimicking European teams (caution and organisation before invention and flair), but I guess when you have had to endure European nations dominating in the World Cup for so long, it’s a logical shift.
Brazil should beat both these teams, and based on North Korea’s spirited display against Dunga’s side, there’s no guarantee that Ivory Coast or Portugal will beat the group’s so-called whipping boys.