When the World Cup draw was made months ago, the match-up with Brazil and Portugal was seen as perhaps the best match of the group stage. Two technically gifted sides that played attractive attacking football that would make for a classic of a game.
Unfortunately, do to the circumstances surrounding the game, that proved to be a unrealistic possibility.
Heading into the game, Brazil sat comfortably at the top of the group with six points while Portugal sat second with four and a impressive goal difference of seven after thrashing North Korea. A draw would see both teams through and Brazil maintain first place and that is exactly what happened as the game finished 0-0.
Though much was said before the game by both coaches about going for the win and defensive approach was taken by both sides.
Carlos Queiroz made several changes to his line-up after the 7-0 win over North Korea introducing Ricardo Costa, Duda and Real Madrid man Pepe into the mix.
On the other side, Brazil coach Dunga rested Robinho while replacing the suspended Kaka and injured Elano with Julio Baptista and Nilmar.
The Brazilians pressured the Portuguese early and nearly got a breakthrough in the 30th minute as a crossed ball into the area found Nilmar who’s attempt was parried off the bar by Portuguese keeper Eduardo.
A controversial moment came just a minute later as Portuguese midfielder Danny ran into the penalty area and laid the ball off to midfielder Tiago who went down in the area after colliding with Brazilian Gilberto Silva.
No penalty was given and instead Tiago was given a yellow card for diving. Replays showed that their may have been a faint push in the back by Silva but the right call was indeed made.
The first half ended in a whimper with neither side establishing much in the half.
Portugal seemed to get into the game more in the second half, the 60th minute saw a brilliant run by Cristiano Ronaldo who beat three Brazilian defenders until Lucio managed to tip the ball away from him in the penalty area right into the path of Portuguese midfielder Raul Meireles who was left one on one with Brazil keeper Julio Cesar who manged to get a piece of the shot to send it wide.
Portuguese left-back Fabio Coentrao was put back into the winger role he originally played when he started his career and was marvellous as his defence kept Brazilian defender Maicon at bay from making his usual dramatic runs down the sidelines.
The last great chance of the game fell to Brazilian midfielder Ramires in injury time as a struck shot from outside the box deflected off the back of Portuguese defender Bruno Alves forcing Eduardo to make a brilliant save to keep the game scoreless.
Portugal became the only side in the 2010 World Cup to not concede a goal in the group stages and are now unbeaten in 19 games.
Brazil will next see action on Monday June 28th against Chile while Portugal will meet Group H winners Spain on Tuesday June 29th.
About the Author
Written by Igor Henriques
A sports enthusiast with a passion for hockey,soccer,basketball,football, and baseball