Soccer Night In South Africa: Shutout and Shutdown

Matchday 11 at the 2010 World Cup had a few games that were destined to turn into mismatches. Only one of those turned into a mismatch on the scoreboard as North Korea courageously held Portugal to under eight goals. Meanwhile, Spain looked to rebound from their shocking defeat at the hands of the Swiss.

Portugal 7 vs. North Korea 0 – After an unexpected effort against Brazil that allowed for a halfway decent spin by the North Korean national media, North Korea forgot how to play soccer. The Portuguese took advantage of an outclassed opposition and laid a beating to them. Amazingly, it was a one goal game at the half as the North Koreans attempted to make a game of it. In the second half, PDRK forgot to come out of the locker room, or so it seems. They gave up three goals in the span of eight minutes before the hour mark to put the game out of reach. Then in the final nine minutes before the end of regular time, the Portuguese added three more goals for good measure. The star of this game was Tiago who put home two markers and produced an assist on the opening goal of the game. With the big win, Portugal has all but assured themselves of progression to the knockout round. As for North Korea, it’ll be interesting to see how Kim Jong-Il reacts to the drubbing. Maybe he’ll decide that nuking Christiano Ronaldo is the best course of action. I can’t see the Americans or Brits getting upset over that.

Chile 1 vs. Switzerland 0 – The storylines were plentiful heading into this one. The Swiss upset the Spanish and could go through to the next round. Chile needed the win because Spain is next. And the Swiss were 67 minutes away from setting a record for longest time span with out conceding a goal in the World Cup. The Swiss got their record but lost the game. They were down to ten men in the 30th minute when Arturo Vidal played dead after Switzerland’s Valon Behrami put an arm across him while defending. The Swiss Army held on for the next 44 minutes before Mark Gonzalez headed home an Estaban Paredes cross for the game’s one and only goal. Up to that point, the Chileans had been pressing the advantage given their numerical advantage. The real story of this game was Saudi referee Khali Al Ghamdi who wouldn’t keep his cards in his pockets. He showed the yellow nine times and the red once during the game. The ten cards issued during the game set the new high mark for the 2010 World Cup.

Spain 2 vs. Honduras 0 – The final game of the day marked the 32nd match and halfway point of the tournament but for the loser of this contest, it was likely to mean the end of the road. Unfortunately for Honduras, it looks like they’re just playing out the string. La Furia Roja controlled the game from start to finish as they moved ahead of Switzerland in Group H on goal differential. In the 17th minute, David Villa took a pass and cut towards goal. He took a sliding shot from the near the penalty spot that was just out of the reach of the keeper to score the game’s first marker. Villa also had the game’s second goal when his strike deflected off a defender and above the Honduran keeper in the 51st minute. Villa had a few more chances to pick up the hat trick but missed them all, including a missed penalty kick. But Villa missing the hat trick was the only disappointment for the Spaniards on this day.

Man of the Day: David Villa (Spain) – 2 goals

Group G Standings
1. Brazil 2-0-0, 6 Pts.
2. Portugal 1-1-0, 4 Pts.
3. Ivory Coast 0-1-1, 1 Pts.
4. North Korea 0-0-2, 0 Pts.

Group H Standings
1. Chile 2-0-0, 6 Pts.
2. Spain 1-0-1, 3 Pts.
3. Switzerland 1-0-1, 3 Pts.
4. Honduras 0-0-2, 0 Pts.

Tuesday’s Schedule:
Group A: Mexico (1-1-0) vs. Uruguay (1-1-0)
Group A: France (0-1-1) vs. South Africa (0-1-1)
Group B: Nigeria (0-0-2) vs. South Korea (1-0-1)
Group B: Greece (1-0-1) vs. Argentina (2-0-0)

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