Show me an easy victory and I'll show you a near upset! That was the them for the 5th day of World Cup Soccer with all 3 favored teams narrowly escaping defeat or lucky to get a tie in what happens become a World Cup of the Underdog in many instances. We can't say who is the Cinderella just yet as the glass slipper hasn't quite found it's rightful owner. However, here are a few teams that might suffice.
In the first installment of Slovakia v. New Zealand, it was expected to have been an easy victory for the Slovakian team having beat many top Baltic and Eastern European squads, but had a lot of trouble with the "All Whites", not scoring until the 50th minute when Robert Vittek scored an impressive header, they seemed to be in control. 3 minutes of extra time and just over 30 seconds left in the game comes Winston Reid uses his own head and nails in the equalizing shot. What might have helped the Kiwi Nation, perhaps the high altitude of Rustenberg and a desire never to quit. Unbelievable, slightly. Shocking...for many, but mostly Slovakia. What does it mean, all teams in Group F are now tied.
The result of Portugal v. The Ivory Coast lead a friendly and energetic, soccer loving Portuguese coworker to my desk yesterday angry and nearly in disbelief, not to mention sour on their chances of going far. Why? Didier Drogba was on the bench until 25 minutes remaining in the game for La Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast in French), so they didn't have their star, plus he had just fractured his right arm when a jumping Japanese player crushed it with his knee in their last friendly. Portugal couldn't seem to get past the defensive effort by the highly touted "Elephants" and the former best player in the World, Cristiano Ronaldo just couldn't connect, although he had 3 clean shots on goal, one that hit the left post and another that sailed just over the top one. The Ivorians nearly stole the game on several counter attacks and are quite pleased with a tie having not been at full strength and facing the 2006 World Cup 4th place team who had looked awesome. Once again a staunch defense and relentless attacks by Gervinho & Tiote were barely stifled and in extra time Drogba nearly connected a through ball to pull off the upset, but was clearly bothered from his broken arm that he was clenching the entire time.
Who else played from Group G, big Brazil and little crazy communist Kim Jong Il led North Korea. After today, they don't seem that crazy as they kept up with the Brasileiros the until first half and nearly 10 minutes into the 2nd when Defender Maicon connected a solid whistling shot parallel to the goaline that curved just inside Ri Myong Guk's reach who had cheated to the center to cut off the cross. It was an amazing goal whether or not the Jabulani ball was to blame it was beautiful. At the 72nd minute, fair haired Elano connected a nice in step shot to make it 2-0 and Brazil seemed to be on a roll, however the 5 man defensive front of these Koreans thwarted several opportunities and shut down Kaka from doing anything. More shots came from Robinho, however he was off on several occassions and reminded me of Messi in Argentina's 1-0 win over Nigeria. Now who wasn't off in the 89th minute, Ji Yun Nam whose precision goal matched the accuracy of South Korea's 2nd goal by Park Ji Sung and had more ummph to it! Coincidence...I think so, lol. Trust me, eating at The Shark's Cove in Manhattan Beach, CA with 3 Brazilian ladies showed me just how scared and upset the Samba Nation was, cause it wasn't supposed to start or finish this way.
According to Fifa.com the team from the Asian Football Conference (AFC) who has impressed the most so far is South Korea (Korea Republic) with North Korea (Korea DPR) following a close 2nd.
You don't like it or you do like it, tell me about it, comment on my website http://www.futboldelcorazon.com/ and leave me a comment on my board...and we can discuss, but save the real talking for the soccer field.