In the Group G opening games, ten-man Portugal were well and truly Mullered, after Pepe not only let his team down but the world of watching football fans.
Later in the evening, USA made a clear statement when Clint Dempsey scored the fastest World Cup Finals goal ever; in their first win over Ghana at a World Cup Finals, at the third attempt.
This means that if USA beat Portugal in Manaus, on Thursday, the Americans will extend their stay in Brazil with a visit to Porto Alegre or Salvador, while Ronaldo and Co will be booking their flight tickets home.
Germany, Ghana, Portugal, and USA.
On paper, Group G looks tough. We always hear that there is never an easy group and sometimes the tougher they look, the easier they are to get out of; with a lucky win or two.
To get out of this group, luck is what USA and Ghana are going to need.
Germany and Portugal just look too strong, without having to get out of second gear.
In a semi-final match between two of the top footballing nations in Europe we would have hoped for an exciting ninety minutes. Those days seem to be gone.
Spain’s possession football is about as exciting as a tortoise looking for ice-cream.
For Portugal, Nani might have been able to excite the fans, if he could get the ball but at least Ronaldo tried to run at the Spaniards in the thirteenth and sixteenth minutes.
Portugal hustled the Spanish with their own attacking play and frustrated them with their pressing; their desire to get the ball and run with it, through Nani and Ronaldo. So much so that Spain were forced to kick and run on the half-hour. Maybe we did have a game in the making.
Spain held the ball and frustrated the crowd once again, seven minutes from half-time. If only the world champions would play with some Brazilian flair, they might win more fans over.
Half-time: Portugal 0 – Spain 0
Spain tried to get their game going by stringing a few passes together but it all looked so uninspiring; so much so that Cesc Fàbregas replaced Álvaro Negredo, with less than ten minutes played of the second-half.
Spain’s playing with non-strikers didn’t set the world alight as the second-half deteriorated from bad to worse; aided and abetted by the referee. Having said that, he wouldn’t have had to blow his whistle all the time if the players didn’t get all edgy; Portugal’s entire back four entering the book, joined by three Spaniards.
The tense final minutes were broken by a faint, half-hearted chorus of E-span-ia, E-span-ia.
On a counter-attack in the final minute of normal time, Cristiano Ronaldo had the chance to seal the win for Portugal.
With four white shirts streaming towards Iker Casillas, all of Spain breathed a massive sigh of relief as one Real Madrid player sliced the ball high over the other.
Into Extra Time…..
Spain came alive in the final five minutes of the first period of extra-time; as Rui Patricio dived to his left to deny Iniesta.
Rui Patricio had to make another world-class save in the second period of extra-time; this time from Seville’s Jesús Navas.
Although Spain continued to pile on the pressure it would have been an injustice if they’d have nicked the game after their ninety minutes siesta.
Ronaldo didn’t get the chance to take the fifth penalty after a nervous Bruno Alves hit the bar; having earlier forgot the order and almost stepping up in front of Nani.
Fabregas then put Spain into the final; in off the post. It might have been Portugal, had Ronaldo not tried to set himself up as the glory boy with the last kick.
Final Score Portugal 0 – Spain 0 aet (2:4pens)
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