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Shades of 1966 as Portugal meets North Korea

sports Updated: Jun 20, 2010 15:16 IST

AP
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Portugal and North Korea meet on Monday in a reprise of one of the most famous games in World Cup history.

The remarkable 5-3 quarterfinal win of a Eusebio-inspired Portugal over North Korea at the 1966 World Cup continues to resonate as one of the greatest games ever in football's premier tournament.

North Korea is making its first World Cup appearance since, and after a respectable 2-1 defeat to Brazil in its opening game, the Korean side must strive for at least a draw to keep alive ambitions of reaching the round of 16.

Portugal, which drew 0-0 with Ivory Coast in its Group G opener, needs a win; given its last group game will be against mighty Brazil.

"We know we can improve. Things will be different on Monday," said striker Liedson after the game against Ivory Coast.

"You're always nervous in the first World Cup game. We'll be calmer in the second one."

Reclusive North Korea played with great composure against Brazil, before succumbing. Coach Kim Jong Hun said the team had gained confidence from the match against Brazil, despite the loss.

But having manfully resisted the multi-pronged Brazil, the North Koreans are only looking in one direction to see Portugal's threat - Cristiano Ronaldo.

Striker Jong Tae Se compared Ronaldo favorably with Eusebio, whose four goals in that 1966 quarterfinal-ended North Korea's fairytale run.

"Ronaldo is better than Eusebio," he said. "He is a more skillful player both tactically and technically."

Midfielder An Yong Hak said the clash with the Portuguese will be tough because "the whole world knows Ronaldo is the best player in the world."

Several players at the World Cup are hoping to strengthen their claims to being the world's best. So far, only Argentina's Lionel Messi's has lived up to the billing. Like England's Wayne Rooney, the jury is still out on Real Madrid's Ronaldo.

After from rifling one ball onto the post from long range against Ivory Coast early on, he was near invisible for the rest of the game. His most notable contribution otherwise was a yellow card.