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Portugal Maul North Korea 7-0 In Goal Riot

The 19th FIFA World Cup saw its first real goal-fest with Portugal pummeling North Korea 7-0 in a rain-soaked Group G match to bolster their campaign and eliminate the Asian side in Cape Town on
PTI June 21, 2010 20:12 IST

The 19th FIFA World Cup saw its first real goal-fest with Portugal pummeling North Korea 7-0 in a rain-soaked Group G match to bolster their campaign and eliminate the Asian side in Cape Town on Monday .

Raul Meireles (29th), Simao (53rd), Hugo Almeida (56th), Tiago (60th and 89th), Liedson (81st) and captain Cristiano Ronaldo (87th) found the target as Portugal pumped in as many as six goals in the second half at the Green Point Stadium in presence of their 1966 World Cup legend Eusebio.

After today's huge win, Portugal took themselves on the verge of a round of 16 berth with four points from two matches while North Korea were knocked out of the tournament after suffering their second defeat in as many matches.

Even if Portugal lose their final group match to Brazil on June 25 and Ivory Coast -- on one point from two matches -- beat Korea the same day, they still have a big chance to make it to the knock-out stage as they now have a goal difference of plus seven as compared to minus two of the Didier Drogba-led side.

Sparks were expected to fly as the two sides were meeting for the first time after that famous 1966 World Cup match in which Portugal made a remarkable fightback to beat North Korea 5-3 after 0-3 down, thanks to Eusebio's exploits.

Going into the match, North Korean striker Jong Tae Se had talked about a revenge to erase the 44-year-old memory but he had to eat his words as the Portuguese scored goals at will in the second session to run away with the biggest win of this World Cup.

Star Portuguese winger Ronaldo, world's most expensive player, was in his elements scoring his first goal of the tournament and two assists to his credit.

Portugal had the first chance but Ricardo Carvalho's header came back into play after crashing into the left upright.

Four minutes later, it was the turn of North Korea to threaten opposition goal but Cha Jong Hyok's 25-yard right-footer off a pass from Jong Tae-Se went just wide of keeper Eduardo's left-hand post.

The North Koreans, playing in their only second World Cup finals, had another go at the Portuguese goal in the 18th minute and Hong Yong-Jo smashed a right-foot shot from an angle inside the box and after Eduardo parries it away, Mun In-Guk can only head the rebound over.

The Portuguese, ranked third as compared to 105th of North Koreans, gradually took control of the match and Tiago then slipped through a wonderful through pass for Raul Meireles to slip it past onrushing North Korean keeper Ri Myong Guk.

The gulf of difference in class between the two sides started to show with Portugal dictating terms by attacking almost at will after the breather.

Eight minutes into the second session, Simao slipped past the ball in between North Korean goalkeeper Ri Myong Guk into the net after striker Hugo Almeida and Meirelis did a beautiful interchange of passes. Three minutes later, Almeida himself scored heading in a cross from the left by Fabio Coentrao.

At the hour mark, Ronaldo broke down the left and sent a low cross for Tiago to fire a low right-footer past a diving keeper.

Ronaldo then set up two fine chances though they did not result to goals. First Meireles shot wide in the 64th minute and four minutes later Coentrao also missed the target.

Ronaldo himself had two shots at the North Korean goal but the woodwork denied him in the 71st minute when his right footer from the top of the box bounced back after hitting the crossbar.

With no hope left for a turnaround, the North Koreans committed defensive mistakes which led to substitute Liedson, who came in for Almeida in the 77th minute, scoring the fifth goal in the 81st minute.

 Ronaldo then entered his name in the scoresheet in the 87th minute by getting the better of the keeper and depositing the ball into the empty net to trigger a thumbs up from Eusebio at the stands. Tiago completed the route with a goal with one minute left in the normal time. PTI

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