What We Learned From Group G Eliminators


Group of Death My Arse – Brazil 0 – 0 Portugal

When the Group of Death was originally announced, everyone thought that it would be the usual Group of Death malarkey, with teams rushing out of the blocks to inflict maximum pain on the small usually African or Asian nation unlucky enough to have been drawn with the three Big Boys. However, in this Group the only danger of death is of me dying of boredom, so vacuous and tepid was this encounter. Admittedly it wasn’t quite up to the thoroughly reprehensible standards set by the two most boring teams of all time Switzerland  and Ukraine in 2006 (and fuck me was that boring, by the end I was the only person left in the pub including the landlord), but it was way up to the standards set by the likes of Bolton, Blackburn, Hull etc. Quite how Brazil (Brazil for god’s sake) can be this unimaginative is a mystery, although they were without both Kaka, who was harshly sent off in their match with the Ivory Coast, and Elano, who wasn’t so much sent off as taken out of the game by the Ivorians. And, yes they were up against an extremely well-drilled Portuguese team, whose defensive record is pretty exemplary and whose version of the Mourinho Discipline is certainly a great deal more exciting than that of Switzerland. So you could say it was a stalemate of a game that was essentially a dead rubber to start with, the Portuguese destruction of North Korea meaning that Ivory Coast had to score approximately 10 to have any chance and still needed the Brazilians to beat the Portuguese. So, in some ways it was more predictable that this match should be a nil-nil than the Mexico Uruguay game. It’s just a shame that what could have been a classic turned into a turkey.

Meanwhile In The North Korean House Of Pain – Ivory Coast 3 – 0 North Korea

How disappointed are we in both these sorry excuses for teams. The North Koreans had the virtue of being an unknown quantity and were determined and plucky against Brazil, but then fell apart against Portugal, who could have spanked them for a hell of a lot more than the seven they put past them. Unfortunately for North Korea the tactics of unrestrained totalitarian dictatorship don’t translate very effectively from the gulag to the football pitch. Unfortunately for the Ivory Coast the joys of military dictatorship don’t inspire the best in a football team. You have to feel that this is probably the end of the road for the World Cup hopes of the Drog, the Toure brothers and the rest of this generation of Ivorians.

So Bye-Bye North Korea And Ivory Coast

For you, this was the group of death.

46 Down 18 To Go 17 Teams Remaining

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