World Cup: Group G Matchday Commentary

World Cup: Group G Matchday Commentary

World Cup 2010

World Cup: Group G Matchday Commentary

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BrazilLogo PortugalLogo Ivorycoastlogo NKorealogo

By AVI CREDITOR

The Group of Death hardly has had the drama that was expected when the World Cup draw was conducted over the winter, but there is still plenty of intrigue entering the final day of play.

Brazil has already qualified for the knockout stage, but it needs to fend off fellow powerhouse Portugal (10 a.m., ESPN/ESPN3.com) in order to win the group.

The Ivory Coast needs the miracle of all miracles to get out of the group, because even a win and a Portugal loss wouldn't necessarily get the job done. After Portugal's 7-0 dismantling of North Korea, the Portuguese are in the driver's seat because of a large goal differential. The Ivory Coast will need to defeat the North Koreans (10 a.m., ESPN2/ESPN3.com) in the same manner to have a chance at making up the difference.

I'll be providing live commentary for Group G action, with a focus on the Brazil-Portugal match. As always, please feel free to share any thoughts and opinions in the comments section below. Enjoy the matches (commentary after the jump).

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POSTGAME – That's all for me for now. Ives will be hosting a live Q&A in a little while, so come on back to SBI for that, because you won't want to miss his insight on all things World Cup.

Thanks for following along and making SBI your home for World Cup coverage. See you for Group H's matches later today!

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POSTGAME – A forgettable match between two powerhouse teams is in the books. If there was more on the line, we likely would've seen a much different game, but with both teams pretty much guaranteed to move on, I guess it shouldn't be a huge surprise that neither side took many risks.

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POSTGAME – The real suspense will unfold later today, as the unpredictable Group H unfolds. Brazil and Portugal await their knockout-stage fates.

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POSTGAME – Credit to Portugal for not conceding a single goal through group play. That's a tough unit to break down.

For Brazil, that was its only clean sheet of the group stage.

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POSTGAME – Nil-nil. Final. Brazil wins Group G, Portugal finishes in second. The Ivory Coast defeated North Korea, 3-0, but both of those teams have their World Cup runs come to an end.

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90th Minute – Portugal's last-gasp corner is defended, and that should probably do it.

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90th Minute – A bad touch by Juan puts Danny in on goal, but Julio Cesar slides out to defend the trouble. That was a close call. Remember, a Portugal goal would put the Brazilians in second place.

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90th Minute – Into the second of five minutes of stoppage time. We can thank Julio Cesar for the five added minutes.

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90th Minute – What a save by Eduardo! Ramires with a 20-yard strike that takes a deflection, and the keeper rises up to swat it away. There's some brilliance.

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89th Minute – And yes, that was a reverse jinx attempt. These teams are too skillful to not have one moment of brilliance between them.

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89th Minute – I hope you bet the under. This one's looking like a scoreless draw.

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88th Minute – SAVE Eduardo! Dani Alves' cross for Lucio is headed on frame, but right at the keeper. Best chance in a while.

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86th Minute – Aruna Dindane has a goal disallowed after being ruled offside. That would've made it 4-0 Ivory Coast. Still wouldn't be close to making up that goal differential.

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85th Minute – And Grafite comes on for Luis Fabiano, who had the best goal chance of the game.

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84th Minute – Raul Meireles coming off for Miguel Veloso. That's it for Portugal's subs. Surprised to see Ronaldo still out there, considering that a foolish yellow card would have him miss a knockout stage game. Better safe than sorry, just sayin.

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83rd Minute – Julio Baptista comes off for Ramires, who was quite impressive against the United States in the Confederations Cup last summer.

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81st Minute – Salomon Kalou hits for the Ivory Coast's third goal. Six more to go.

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80th Minute – Brazil applying more pressure in the attacking end now, but this Portuguese defense will not wilt. If it can get through this group without conceding a goal, that would be quite the feat.

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79th Minute – If these results hold, Brazil would win the group, Portugal would finish in second. A Portugal victory would flop that order.

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77th Minute – Simao with pacey run down the left side. His deflected cross finds Ronaldo in the box, but he's defended well and can't control the shot.

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75th Minute – And the award for most disappointing match of the World Cup goes to….

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72nd Minute – Dani Alves with his third crack from distance, and this one is the furthest one from goal. Not exactly Jogo Bonito today. 

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68th Minute – Awful, awful take. Ronaldo should consult with Keisuke Honda on how to strike the Jabulani.

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67th Minute – Lucio impedes Ronaldo's path and its free kick time for No. 7.

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66th Minute – Still 2-0 Ivory Coast. Time running out on another African squad.

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65th Minute – Michel Bastos with a wayward cross after a nice Brazilian run relieved some Portugal pressure.

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64th Minute – Pedro Mendes replaces Pepe. That's two subs for Portugal, one for Brazil.

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63rd Minute – Carvalho barely gets his head on Danny's corner kick, but it's not enough to trouble the Brazilian defense.

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61st Minute – Meireles inadvertently fell on Julio Cesar's back. The Brazilian keeper is nursing a back injury already, and that definitely did not help. Medics out to tend to the Inter Milan netminder, who looks like he'll stay on.

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60th Minute – Ronaldo with a phenomenal run, beating FOUR Brazilian defenders and getting into the box on the right. Lucio came up with the tackle and almost set up Raul Meireles at the goal mouth, but the Julio Cesar got enough of the ball to put it out for a corner.

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57th Minute – Julio Baptista with a bad turnover that leads to a Simao shot on goal from the top of the area, but Julio Cesar makes the save.

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57th Minute – Disappointing pace to this match, as most hoped for a 4-3 shootout. With Group H being so up in the air, it's not a given that the Group G winner is in a better situation than the runner up. Perhaps that's why neither team is playing with any urgency.

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57th Minute – Luis Fabiano gets a header on target, but nothing too troubling for Eduardo.

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56th Minute – Awful giveaway by Coentrao, but Nilmar can't make him pay as he loses control in the middle of the pitch.

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54th Minute – Simao comes on for Duda as Portugal's first sub. I doubt we'll see Ronaldo go the full 90 considering he's carrying a yellow card.

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53rd Minute – Ronaldo's free kick deflects off Pepe and wide of the goal. Portugal with the bulk of the chances this half.

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51st Minute – Ivory Coast unleashing an assault on the North Korean goal, but the Elephants still lead 2-0.

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50th Minute – Another nice play by a Brazilian defender as Juan comes up with a diving header to deny another Ronaldo cross. The Portugal star is being less selfish this half, and that bodes well for his side.

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48th Minute – GREAT tackle by Lucio. Ronaldo broke free on the left side after a long ball and Lucio gets to Ronaldo's cross inside the box. Saved a goal chance for sure.

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47th Minute – If you want to make your work day a little less productive, come back to SBI at 12:30. Ives will be hosting a live Q&A from Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria as he awaits the Chile-Spain match.

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46th Minute – And we're back, Portugal to start with possession.

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HALFTIME – How about Portugal's outlook on the group. Bunker against the elite teams, beat down the minnow. Ruthless, but it's looking like it'll take the Portuguese through.

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HALFTIME – Who do you think wins this match? Do you think Dunga should insert Robinho for some more offense? Let's get the conversation rolling below.

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HALFTIME – The Group G-Group H Round of 16 matches are going to be special. Depending on how the Spain-Chile, Honduras-Switzerland matches unfold later today, we could have some very enticing matchups.

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HALFTIME – Ivory Coast leads North Korea 2-0 at the half. Elephants still have seven goals to make up over the next 45 minutes to pull off the miracle. I wouldn't rule anything out, based on how this World Cup has unfolded so far, but that would be an epic feat.

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HALFTIME – That's the end of the first half. Seven cards, no goals, two teams that appear to be on their way to the Round of 16.

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45th Minute – A yellow for Coentrao for a touch foul from behind on Dani Alves. This is getting a bit out of hand. Benito Archundia Tellez is our referee, by the way.

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44th Minute – Felipe Melo getting subbed out by Dunga for Josue. Not a bad choice. His temper isn't going to do Brazil any favors as this game wears on.

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43rd Minute – Felipe Melo with a revenge body check on Pepe and he sees yellow. Six cards this half.

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42nd Minute – Ronaldo tries to catch Brazil off guard, controlling after a quick free kick and unleashing a shot from outside the area, but Julio Cesar saves it easily.

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41st Minute – Chippy match so far with five cards being dealt in the first 40 minutes.

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40th Minute – Pepe with an awful challenge on Felipe Melo and he sees yellow. Stomped on the back of his leg with his entire boot.

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39th Minute – Luis Fabiano just misses a header! Maicon with a perfect cross and Fabiano's header takes a bounce and just missed the left upper 90. 

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37th Minute – Nilmar with a wonderous piece of skill to volley the ball to himself around Costa, but his shot is skied. 

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34th Minute – Eduardo jumps out in front of Luis Fabiano to ruin a great header opportunity for the striker.

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32nd Minute – Maicon with another attempt from a tight angle on the right. It worked against the Ivory Coast, not this time though.

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31st Minute – Tiago booked for a dive in the area off a 4-on-3 breakaway. Tried to draw the penalty, but to no avail.

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31st Minute – Nilmar almost scores! How did that not cross the line?? Luis Fabiano with a beautiful ball and Nilmar's touch deflected off Eduardo's hands, then the post.

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30th Minute – Gilberto Silva with a push to Ronaldo in the back after Portugal clears. Not a bad foul, as it slows down a potential counter.

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29th Minute – Maicon and Dani Alves team up on the right and earn another Brazil corner. Two very dangerous overlapping runners right there.

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28th Minute – Ronaldo knifes through two Brazil defenders but turns it over. He tries too hard to do it all himself sometimes.

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26th Minute – Ronaldo tries a 40-yard free kick and doesn't come close. Not a good decision.

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25th Minute – Juan with a deliberate handball and gets a yellow to break up what would have been a Ronaldo breakaway (very far from goal).

Duda picks up a yellow card for arguing that it should've been red. Wasn't exactly an obvious goal scoring chance.

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24th Minute – Portugal defends the corner, but Brazil is back on the attack.

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23rd Minute – Ivory Coast still trailing goal differential by seven. It'd take four more goals and a 3-0 Brazil victory (or some other workable combination) to make the impossible happen.

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22nd Minute – Romaric with a goal to put Ivory Coast ahead 2-0. So you're sayin' there's a chance…

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21st Minute – How about Dani Alves playing an attacking midfield role? He might be a Top-3 right back in the world. But when Maicon is on your team, you've got to find somewhere else to play.

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20th Minute – Brazil doing most of the heavy lifting so far, Portugal content to sit back and counter.

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19th Minute – Yaya Toure with a goal to give the Ivory Coast a 1-0 lead over North Korea.

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18th Minute – Tiago with an ambitious volley from the top of the area after a cross from the left that misses the frame. Coentrao sets it all up with another great run from the back.

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17th Minute – Dani Alves again from distance, but it's easily taken by Eduardo on a bounce. Portugal will welcome those shots all day. 

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15th Minute – Beautiful cross from Coentrao on the left, but Julio Cesar does well to punch it away.

Luis Fabiano picks up a yellow for a late challenge on Pepe.

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14th Minute – Portugal yet to concede in this tournament, but the way Brazil is controlling possession, it's unlikely that streak will continue.

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11th Minute – Julio Cesar is in goal, the defense is the same, with Michel Bastos, Juan, Lucio and Maicon manning the back line. Felipe Melo, Julio Baptista, Gilberto Silva, Dani Alves and Nilmar in the midfield and Luis Fabiano alone up top.

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10th Minute – Brazil lining up in a 4-5-1 with a whole host of changes to its lineup. No Kaka (suspension), no Robinho, no Elano.

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9th Minute – Brazil with a nice chance as Nilmar can't get a clean look on goal after sneaking behind the defense.

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8th Minute – Portugal's lining up in a 4-3-3. Eduardo in goal, Fabio Coentrao, Bruno Alves, Ricardo Carvalho, Ricardo Costa from left to right at defense. Raul Meireles, Pepe and Tiago in the midfield, Cristiano Ronaldo, Duda and Danny up top. Some changes from Carlos Queiroz' side, one that's quite confident after its drubbing of North Korea.

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6th Minute – Shot from distance from Dani Alves goes wide left. It's his first start of the World Cup.

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3rd Minute – Ronaldo's first touch sets off the crowd, but Portugal turns it over as Brazil heads the other way. Brazil with a two-point edge in the standings over Portugal.

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1st Minute – Apologies for the late start folks, we'll get lineups to you as we go. Brazil with the early possession in a star-studded matchup.

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