Group of Death ends with a dead match
Portugal reached the second round of the World Cup on Friday after a 0-0 draw with group winner Brazil, as two of football's most powerful attacks failed to score a goal. Both teams had good chances to score but failed to capitalize on them at Moses Mabhida Stadium.sports Updated: Jun 26, 2010 02:25 IST
Portugal reached the second round of the World Cup on Friday after a 0-0 draw with group winner Brazil, as two of football's most powerful attacks failed to score a goal. Both teams had good chances to score but failed to capitalize on them at Moses Mabhida Stadium.
Brazil striker Nilmar had a shot tipped onto the post by Portugal goalkeeper Eduardo in the 30th minute, and Luis Fabiano's close-range header just missed wide in the 39th.
Portugal had a goal denied by Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar in the 60th, when he just barely tipped wide a shot by Raul Meireles after a dangerous run made by ace striker Cristiano Ronaldo.
Brazil had already secured advancement and won Group G with seven points, two more than Portugal. Portugal came into the match with a massive advantage in goal difference over Ivory Coast, which all but guaranteed its spot in the round of 16 even with a loss.
The match was one of the most-anticipated in the group stage, a meeting between two talented teams known for their attacking style. Brazil came into the tournament as the top-ranked team, while Portugal is No. 3. Both teams had dominating wins in the previous match, with Brazil beating Ivory Coast 3-1 and Portugal routing a hapless North Korea 7-0 in their second match of the tournament.
The result kept alive a 19-match unbeaten streak for Portugal, which hasn't lost since a 6-2 defeat to Brazil in a friendly in 2008 in Brazil's capital of Brasilia. It halted Brazil's seven-match winning streak.
Brazil controlled possession most of the match in front of 62,712 fans at Moses Mabhida, with Portugal relying on quick counterattacks and the skills of Ronaldo. The best opportunity for the Brazilians fell to Nilmar after a perfect pass from Luis Fabiano, but his close-range shot was deflected by goalkeeper Eduardo and struck the post. Luis Fabiano, who scored twice against Ivory Coast, also had a golden chance after a cross from Maicon, but his header bounced off the ground and just missed wide with the goalkeeper beaten.
Simao Sabrosa entered the match in the 54th and nearly scored in the 58th with a shot from outside the area but despite this and numerous other efforts, the match ended goalless.
Brazil and Portugal had battled it out against one another four times in friendlies this decade, but it was the first time the teams played each other at the World Cup since the Portuguese win 3-1 in 1966 in England.
R-16: Brazil vs Runners-up H
R-16: Portugal vs Winner H
First Published: Jun 25, 2010 21:03 IST