Today in a nutshell: Ronaldo’s Portugal thrash North Korea. Spain thrill on the pitch to get points on the board and set up an exciting tie with Chile who maintain their 100% record with a win over Switzerland. It’s official – the World Cup is no longer boring!
Results – Monday 21st June
|Group G:||Portugal||7 – 0||North Korea|
|Group H:||Chile||1 – 0||Switzerland|
|Group H:||Spain||2 – 0||Honduras|
|Post Match Review|
|Some in the media have been guilty of taking their eye off the ball. They were busy talking up the likes of Brazil and Argentina and forgot about little old Portugal. Well people with football manager coats like me never took them lightly and their 7-0 demolition of North Korea sends out a reminder that Ronaldo’s team are not just here to make up the numbers. Neighbours Spain meanwhile could have scored a similar amount against Honduras and those two teams could find themselves up against each other in the next round. What a special tie that would be – something like Crewe against Port Vale on a wet Tuesday evening in the Johnson Paint Trophy.|
Fixtures – Tuesday 22nd June
|Group A:||France||vs||South Africa|
|Group B:||Nigeria||vs||South Korea|
View from the sofa
We are at the half way stage of the tournament which is a good or bad thing depending on whether you are a tournament half empty kind of person. With one group game left it can all change but at the time of writing there are some huge potential shocks in store and most of them concern European teams. Consider this:
- 1998 World Champions France are in disarray. If they don’t beat Mexico it will be au revior. Oh, and very funny.
- England almost certainly have to beat Slovenia to progress, despite their “easy” group
- Germany could still slip out if they lose to dangerous table topping Ghana. Why do I have visions of a penalty shoot out with them at some point later?
- World Champions Italy have to beat tricky Slovakia to ensure qualification
- Surely Portugal won’t lose 2nd spot with a plus 9 goal difference over Ivory Coast! Except they play Brazil, while Sven’s men take on the North Korean whipping boys. It couldn’t happen. Could it?
- Spains unbeated qualification campaign counts for naught as they take on mightily impressive Chile in a game they must win to be sure of progressing further
Only the Dutch have made light work of qualification from the group phases as far as European teams go. The African teams had little genuine hope resting upon them and only Ghana have a better than 50% chance of qualifying. The predominant force so far has been the South American contingent with Brazil and Argentina looking like they could go the distance and Chile and Paraguay also set to progress.
We may still be in the group stage but from now on every game is effectively a cup game. Lose and you are probably out. This is when the competition really begins…