Portugal maul North Korea 7-0 in goal riot
The 19th FIFA World Cup saw its first real goal-fest with Portugal pummeling North Korea 7-0 in a rain-soaked Group G match to bolster their campaign and eliminate the Asian side at Cape Town on Monday.
After Monday's huge win, Portugal took themselves on the verge of a round of 16 berth with four points from two matches while North Korea were knocked out of the tournament after suffering their second defeat in as many matches.
Even if Portugal lose their final group match to Brazil on June 25 and Ivory Coast -- on one point from two matches -- beat Korea the same day, they still have a big chance to make it to the knock-out stage as they now have a goal difference of plus seven as compared to minus two of the Didier Drogba-led side.
Image: Portugal's Hugo Almeida celebrates his goal with team mates during the 2010 World Cup Group G match against North Korea
Raul Meireles put Portugal in the lead
Sparks were expected to fly as the two sides were meeting for the first time after that famous 1966 World Cup match in which Portugal made a remarkable fightback to beat North Korea 5-3 after 0-3 down, thanks to Eusebio's exploits.
Going into the match, North Korean striker Jong Tae Se had talked about a revenge to erase the 44-year-old memory but he had to eat his words as the Portuguese scored goals at will in the second session to run away with the biggest win of this World Cup.
Portugal had the first chance but Ricardo Carvalho's header came back into play after crashing into the left upright.
The Portuguese, ranked third as compared to 105th of North Koreans, gradually took control of the match and Tiago then slipped through a wonderful through pass for Raul Meireles to slip it past onrushing North Korean keeper Ri Myong Guk.
Image: Portugal's Meireles jumps over North Korea's goalkeeper Ri after scoring during a 2010 World Cup Group G soccer match
Simao scored the second
The gulf of difference in class between the two sides started to show with Portugal dictating terms by attacking almost at will after the breather.
Eight minutes into the second session, Simao slipped past the ball in between North Korean goalkeeper Ri Myong Guk into the net after striker Hugo Almeida and Meirelis did a beautiful interchange of passes.
Three minutes later, Almeida himself scored heading in a cross from the left by Fabio Coentrao.
Image: -Portugal's Simao Sabrosa celebrates his goal during the 2010 World Cup Group G soccer match against North Korea
Tiago found the net twice
At the hour mark, Ronaldo broke down the left and sent a low cross for Tiago to fire a low right-footer past a diving keeper.
Ronaldo then set up two fine chances though they did not result to goals.
First Meireles shot wide in the 64th minute and four minutes later Coentrao also missed the target.
With no hope left for a turnaround, the North Koreans committed defensive mistakes which led to substitute Liedson, who came in for Almeida in the 77th minute, scoring the fifth goal in the 81st minute.
Image: Portugal's Tiago celebrates his goal next to team mate Almeida during the 2010 World Cup Group G soccer match
Ronaldo also scored his first goal
Star Portuguese winger Ronaldo, world's most expensive player, was in his elements scoring his first goal of the tournament and two assists to his credit.
The Real Madrid star entered his name in the scoresheet in the 87th minute by getting the better of the keeper and depositing the ball into the empty net to trigger a thumbs up from Eusebio at the stands.
He also had two shots at the North Korean goal but the woodwork denied him in the 71st minute when his right footer from the top of the box bounced back after hitting the crossbar.
Image: Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo sits on the ground after the 2010 World Cup Group G soccer match against North Korea