Thursday, June 22, 2006

Group D decided

Portugal finish first with the perfect record, Mexico sneak into second place in what I perceive as the weakest group of the tournament.

Portugal 2-1 Mexico.

Without 5 of their notable star names (rested because they were on yellow cards), Portugal were worthy victors.

Portugal: Ironically enough Portugal's first half performance was probably their best at the tournament, this without the likes of Ronaldo, Pauleta and Deco. Scolari was so adamant not to have suspensions that he said none of them would come on even if Mexico were winning 3-0! Simao played Maniche in who obliged with an unstoppable finish after less than ten minutes. Then midway through the half Marquez inexplicably handled in the box, Simao making no mistake with the pen. Portugal were a bit nervy though for the rest of the half, conceding a goal and looking a little flustered. In fact they didn't look comfortable for the rest of the game, perhaps missing those 5 key men, and could easily have conceded an equaliser. The goal they did concede could have been avoided had Portugal had a defender on the line at the corner! Miguel looked a little suspect in defence but made up for it in some way with his surging runs forward. 9 points out of 9 though as Scolari races to 10 consecutive world cup victories.

Mexico: Looked weak in front of goal. During the second half Bravo the two goal hero against Iran missed a penalty blazing over the bar and also hit a one-on-one way over the top. Fonseca was the only one to score with a quality header from a corner kick and there is no doubt they are missing Borgetti. Will he be back for the Argentina match? There is a chance but who knows?? They will need him! Mexico bossed the second half but Portugals fleeting dominance was enough. Perez got himself sent off for two yellow cards but was even fortunate not to have got another yellow card earlier. Sanchez dived the right way for the penalty but he started from too far to the other side, had he dived from a more central position a save may have been made. Mexico were unlucky not to get at least a point from the game but will need to improve their resourcefulness in front of goal.

Iran 1-1 Angola.

Angola needed a good victory coupled with a Mexican loss to grab a second round berth. Ultimately they could not achieve this. They were wasteful in front of goal. It was an entertaining match though as both teams had plenty of chances and the keepers were pretty busy. Akwa and Daei really should have both been on the score sheet. Instead only a bullet header from Flavio and another headed effort from Bakhtiarizadeh went in. Mendonca had two efforts go excruciatingly close at the close of the game but had to be content with a draw. Both sides conceded too much possession in midfield though and it was readily apparent that these were two weaker teams at the FIFA world cup.

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