Thursday, June 29, 2006

Brazil 3-0 Ghana

An expected result, even if the game itself suggested the scoreline could have been otherwise. Ghana could not even become the first African team to score a goal against Brazil at a world cup.

Brazil: Always looked dangerous on attack, and were handed an early present as Ronaldo became the most prolific goalscorer in world cup finals history, as he expertly shimmied past Kingston after a through ball by Kaka. For most of the half though Brazil had to be content with defence, an aspect of their game which made them look vulnerable at times. However, Dida had a great game in goal and made the game turning save from Mensah's header at a corner. Fortuitously Brazil managed a second goal before the break as Cafu crossed, and Adrian tapped home. He was in an offside position but the officials got it wrong and the goal stood. Brazil sat back again in the second half, defending OK, but still relying heavily on Dida. After Ghana were reduced to 10 men with 10 minutes remaining, Brazil then created numerous opportunities and could have ended with 5 or 6 goals. Only one more was taken however as Ze Roberto also skilfully rounded the keeper to put the icing on the cake. 3-0 was not an accurate reflection of the game but Brazil are renowned for taking their chances and roll on into the quarters.

Ghana: Their defending was naive at times, in fact it was poor. They seemed to always want to play the offside trap, however this requires their flat backline to be synchronised, however at times one of the defenders didn't move up thus playing the Brazilians onside. This is what Paintsil did for Ronaldo's goal after 5 minutes. Ghana took about 20 minutes to get into the match, perhaps overawed by the big occasion, and feeling lost without Essien. However on attack Ghana looked dangerous. The final shot was often poor though, long range drives went over or wide, shots in the penalty were hit straight (and feebly) at Dida. Amoah and Gyan had the best of the chances but were unable to convert.

After Mensah's strong header was well saved by Dida with his legs only minutes before the half-time interval the killer blow arrived. Adriano scored from an offside position making Ghana's task almost impossible. What made it worse was that he appeared offside. The players, incensed, surrounded the ref, and coach Dujkovic was sent to the stands.

Still Ghana ploughed on in the second spell. However on many an occasion, as they looked good with the ball in a central position 20 or 30 yards from goal, with good options to the left and right, they opted for the harmless piledriver. This approach also revealed their naivety, with all their possession and chances in the second half goals should have accrued. After Gyan was sent off for a second yellow the Ghana defence crumbled and only heroics from Kingston kept the scoreline respectable.

The officials had a bit of a shocker. Brazil should probably have been awarded in the first half rather than Adriano receiving yellow, a number of offsides were wrong i.e. Brazil's second goal was actually offside, and Ronaldo being given offside when he wasn't. Overall not a great day for them.

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