By AVI CREDITOR
With the drama pretty much zapped out of Group G a few days ago, Brazil and Portugal didn't have a whole lot to play for, and it showed.
Portugal's 7-0 drubbing of North Korea on Monday pretty much guaranteed that both teams would be through to the knockout stage. After Brazil and Portugal played to a listless 0-0 draw in Durban, South Africa, the two teams advanced, with the Selecao winning the touted Group of Death.
The Ivory Coast entered Friday needing a win, a Portugal loss and a combination of the two that also included making up nine goals. Despite a three-goal victory over North Korea, Les Elephants had too tall a task and joined the four other African teams to not make it out of the group stage.
Here are brief recaps from Group G's final games, as well as the group's Best XI:
BRAZIL 0, PORTUGAL 0
Portugal came up with its third consecutive clean sheet, bunkering down and not conceding to a Brazilian side that played without Kaka, Robinho and Elano.
Neither side displayed a sense of urgency to go out and take control of the group. Brazil had the better of the chances early on, and Nilmar almost scored in the 31st minute after a Luis Fabiano cross to the left post gave him a close-range look. His touch was saved by Portuguese keeper Eduardo, who deflected the ball off the post and the crossbar to keep Brazil off the scoreboard.
Raul Meierles had Portugal's best look at the hour mark, after Cristiano Ronaldo dribbled through four Brazilian defenders and into the box. Lucio made a desperation tackle but ended up crossing the ball perfectly to Meierles by the left post. Brazil keeper Julio Cesar dove out and got enough of the ball to deny his shot.
Second-half substitute Ramires almost snatched a late victory for Brazil with his deflected, 20-yard shot, but Eduardo leaped and got a hand on the ball to swat away the Benfica midfielder's shot.
Both teams await the results from Group H, which will determine their matchups for the Round of 16.
IVORY COAST 3, NORTH KOREA 0
Yaya Toure, Romaric and Salomon Kalou provided the goals in a pride-saving victory that could have been more lopsided than the scoreline indicated.
Facing a tall mountain to climb, the Ivory Coast came out firing and netted two goals in the first 20 minutes that provided a sliver of hope that the Africans could potentially move on.
A horde of missed opportunities, combined with Brazil's ineffectiveness against Portugal, slammed the door on any Ivory Coast miracle, though, as Sven-Goran Eriksson's team fell short of the knockout rounds.
North Korea, whose run began with an admirable 2-1 defeat to Brazil, finished group play with a goal differential of -11.
GROUP G FINAL TABLE
1. Brazil……………..7 points, +3 Goal Differential
2. Portugal………..5 points, +7 GD
3. Ivory Coast……4 points, +1 GD
4. North Korea….0 points, -11 GD
SBI'S GROUP G BEST XI
Were you disappointed by the Brazil-Portugal match? Surprised that the Ivory Coast didn't fare better than it did? Despite the results, were you impressed with how North Korea played?
Share your thoughts below.