Portugal vs. Brazil  0 - 0


The first was marked more by harsh challenges, diving and yellow cards, but there was a great chance for Brazil on the half hour.

Nilmar made a breakthrough into the Portugal area on the left, but his shot was pushed onto the post by goalkeeper Eduardo to mark a rare opportunity in the opening 45 minutes.

A minute later, Tiago went down trying to earn a penalty, but he was booked for diving.

In the 39th minute, Brazil got the best chance of the game when a cross from the right by Maicon found a wide open Luis Fabiano at the far post, but his header somehow missed the target.

On the hour, Portugal got a decent chance when Lucio's attempted clearance rolled across goal to Raul Meireles, but his shot was charged down bravely by Brazil goalkeeper Júlio César.

A late deflected drive by Brazilian substitute Ramires forced a diving stop by Eduardo, but that was the end of the chances on a forgettable game.


Portugal join Brazil in last 16, Ivory Coast exit

25 June 2010 18:00

DURBAN, South Africa (AFP) - Portugal joined Brazil in the last 16 of the World Cup on Friday after the pair drew 0-0 in their final Group G game, while Ivory Coast were eliminated despite a 3-0 win over North Korea.

Brazil topped the group with seven points and Portugal ended on five with the Ivorians on four.

The Africans at least signed off with a stylish win at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit with goals from Yaya Toure and Romaric before the break and a third from Salomon Kalou as the outclassed North Koreans finished with zero points from their three games.


Portugal advance with Brazil after drab draw

25 June 2010 10:20

DURBAN, South Africa (AFP) - Portugal qualified for the second round of the World Cup after battling to an ill-tempered 0-0 draw with five-time champions Brazil in their final Group G game on Friday.

In a match that was hyped as a potential showcase for the "beautiful game", there was not much samba on display with seven yellow cards brandished in the first-half alone and only a handful of decent attempts on goal.

"Brazil played very well early on, but after some early domination we came back into the match and controlled the game, attacking whenever we had possession," said Portugal coach Carlos Queiroz.

"The players did extremely well. A draw is a just result."

Brazil coach Dunga lamented Portugal's deep defensive tactics and lack of attacking play.

"I'm not happy," he said. "We always play to win. We even tried to attack in the last five minutes. Portugal didn't attack. They just wanted to defend."

Brazil, who had already qualified for the last 16 after wins over North Korea and Ivory Coast, dominated possession and looked extremely solid at the back while Portugal looked over-reliant on captain Cristiano Ronaldo up front.

Portugal, on a run of 17 matches without defeat, needed a draw to guarantee going through to the next round ahead of Ivory Coast and arguably had the best chance of a winner in the 60th minute.

A storming run by Ronaldo had Lucio in all kinds of problems and the Brazil skipper was forced into clearing the ball across his own six-yard box into the path of Raul Meireles.

But the Porto midfielder's close-range dink was tipped around the corner by Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar.

Brazil dominated possession and wasted two excellent chances through Nilmar and Luis Fabiano in the first-half.

In the 30th minute, Nilmar got in at the back post to direct a Fabiano cross at Portugal goalkeeper Eduardo, who did well to turn the ball onto the post and safety.

Fabiano then fluffed a golden opportunity nine minutes later, getting too much contact on a downward header which bounced wide from a deep Maicon cross.

The industrious Dani Alves had the first attempt of the game, striking a 25-yard shot just wide after a good through ball from Julio Baptista, starting in place of suspended Brazilian playmaker Kaka.

The Portuguese had to wait until the 14th minute to even get close to the Brazilian goal, Duda just failing to latch on to a good cross from Fabio Coentrao, who had the run of the left wing early on.

The South Americans were seemingly happy to sit back and control the ball in the second period, under no real pressure from a muted Portugal attack.

Ronaldo had an early free-kick deflected wide by Pepe and Simao, on as a replacement for Duda, had a smart shot saved by Cesar.

In the 77th minute, Ronaldo got on the end of a Simao through-ball but blasted high and wide under pressure.

Portugal keeper Eduardo was then on hand to palm away a late effort from replacement Ramires to save any blushes amid boos and whistles at the Moses Mabhida Stadium.


Preview: Portugal - Brazil

25 June 2010 02:15

(GSM) - With both sides having virtually locked up their spots in the Round of 16, there will be nothing but a lot of Portuguese-speaking pride on the line when Portugal and Brazil square off on Friday in Durban.

Portugal stormed to life in a 7-0 rout of Korea DPR last time out, putting themselves well ahead of Côte d'Ivoire on potential goal difference. That result all but secured their berth in the last 16 with a nine-goal edge on the Ivorians.

Brazil, meanwhile, secured a 3-1 victory over those Ivorians in their last game to ensure they go into the big showdown on six points. A draw will be enough to see that Brazil win the group and move on to face the runners-up in Group H.

Portugal must win in order to claim top billing in what was considered the group of death.

For Portugal coach Carlos Queiroz, he is likely to be without playmaker Deco with an injury, and he is certain to be without Ruben Amorim off the bench.

Tiago, who scored two goals and played very well against Korea DPR, will start in the stead of Deco.

The big absence for Brazil is Kaká, who is suspended after being foolishly sent off late on in the win over Côte d'Ivoire. In addition, there are doubts over the fitness of Elano with a leg injury.

Spots could, therefore, open up for Nilmar and Júlio Baptista, though Ramires might also see some significant action in the Brazilian attack.

With both sides likely advancing on, yellow cards could become an issue.

For Portugal, Cristiano Ronaldo, Pedro Mendes and Hugo Almeida are all sitting on a booking that could prove costly if they earn a second yellow against Brazil.

Brazil, meanwhile, will want to avoid a second caution for Ramires.


´Traditional´ powers thing of the past, says Dunga

24 June 2010 20:40

DURBAN, South Africa (AFP) - The notion of traditional footballing powerhouses is becoming obsolete, Brazil coach Dunga said after reigning champions Italy were eliminated from the World Cup on Thursday.

Italy joined 1998 champions France in finishing bottom of their respective groups for an early flight home.

England and Germany left qualification to the second round until their third group match while joint favourites Spain still have to nail down their passage to the round of 16.

But Dunga said it was to be expected as players for other "lesser" teams gained experience and accrued invaluable technical skills starring for high-profile clubs in Europe.

"Argentina and Brazil are already under a lot of pressure," he said. "We have to start evolving.

"Forget the notion of 'traditional teams'. If you don't play well, you'll be eliminated.

"Long gone are the days when a traditionally strong team could just turn up and expect to win.

"Players in other 'weaker' teams play for some of the best clubs in the world, like Barcelona, Real Madrid or Chelsea, as is the case with Ivory Coast.

"We have to constantly be on the look-out."

Speaking on the eve of his team's final Group G game against Portugal, Dunga predicted a "very interesting game" between the five-time champions and their former colonial masters.

"It'll be a very good game for football lovers," he said. "Portugal are going to have to attack to secure some points."

Brazil are already qualified for the second round, but Portugal need at least a draw to book their berth.

Third-placed Ivory Coast will have to beat win-less North Korea handsomely to push Portugal should they fail to muster a draw.

"We have to play balanced football," Dunga said. "Whenever Brazil are well organised and play technically well, we always get good results.

"We have to face up to the round of 16 and play the best football we can."

Dunga, who captained Brazil to the 1994 World Cup crown, was in no doubt about what his team's target was against the Carlos Queiroz-coached Portuguese team.

"Brazil have to win. Otherwise it's a great problem for me. We have no option: we play to win," he said.

"Both Brazil and Portugal have shown their competitiveness over the years. With the quality both teams are able to show, it should be a good game.

"Our style of football is similar to a certain extent. Brazilian players adapt very well in Portugal, with the same language and style of play, and vice-versa."

Dunga confirmed that Elano would not likely play as he recovers from a calf injury sustained in a tackle against Ivory Coast, adding that Roma midfielder Julio Baptista could take the place of suspended playmaker Kaka.

"Baptista has already played in the Copa America," Dunga said. "He's a strong player, good in midfield and going forward. He can shoot from long distance and has played for Brazil for a long time."

The coach also praised his side's "calmness" in the face of a tough-tackling Ivory Coast team in their 3-1 victory.

"Tackles came in on Elano and Michel Bastos, but the team remained cool and collected. We continued to play," he said.

"Since the qualifiers, I've stressed that we start the game with 11 players and must finish with 11."

He also played down the significance of Brazil's last encounter with Portugal - a 6-2 win for the South Americans in 2008, saying that was water under the bridge.

"The past is the past. That's history and we're now in the World Cup in South Africa two years later. Tomorrow is a new game.

"When we have possession, very simply, we've got to score."


Portugal expect ´beautiful game´ against Brazil

24 June 2010 18:55

DURBAN, South Africa (AFP) - Portugal coach Carlos Queiroz fully expects his team's final Group G clash against star-studded World Cup favourites Brazil on Friday to be a "beautiful game".

Five-time champions Brazil have already qualified for the round of 16 having racked up a 2-1 win over North Korea and a 3-1 victory over Ivory Coast to sit pretty on six points. A draw would see them top the group.

Portugal, on a run of 17 matches without defeat, drew 0-0 with the Ivorians before routing North Korea 7-0 to put them in second spot in the group and needing only a draw to advance to the next round.

But Queiroz, former assistant to Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, vowed that his side would gun for victory, with Ivory Coast needing to win handsomely against North Korea to keep in the hunt for second.

"The most important thing is that we play with a view to qualifying for the round of 16, that is our main objective. Brazil is not in that position as they have already qualified. So there must be no error or doubt on our part," he said.

"We've seen (Brazil coach) Dunga's team playing. If you haven't got a good balance between attack and defence, they simply take you apart. We know we're playing a great team with a great coach in Dunga.

"Brazil are a solid, very well organised unit full of very capable individuals. They're also very realistic."

But Queiroz said Brazil would miss suspended playmaker Kaka and highlighted his side's impressive defensive record as reasons to be confident.

"The fact we've conceded no goals so far means we've defended well. But we will also have to attack well. When we have possession, we'll have to exploit any opportunities Brazil might offer us," the Mozambique-born coach said.

"We've played 25 games together over the last two years, and we've kept a cleansheet in 21 of those matches. It's a great record for the team, and shows it's well balanced.

"But tomorrow is a World Cup game against Brazil, one of the favourites with the number one FIFA ranking. It'll be very tough for both teams.

"With the quality of the players both teams have at their disposal, we can expect some spectacular football.

"That's what the World Cup is all about: the players and the beautiful game. We'll endeavour to try to play. Football must be king at the end of the World Cup."

On Kaka's absence, Queiroz said: "It's obvious that the Brazilian golden trio is made up of Robinho, Luis Fabiano and Kaka. When they play together they score goals.

"It'll be interesting to see who they bring in for Kaka."

Queiroz also hinted that a draw would satisfy him.

"Of course any victory over Brazil is a great result for any team," he said. "But even a draw is something noteworthy. We'll have to use all our skills to make sure we qualify.

"When two great teams like Brazil and Portugal play, everything is possible. I'm sure it'll be a great footballing show and great entertainment."


Brazil wait on Elano

23 June 2010 21:10

JOHANNESBURG (AFP) - World Cup favourites Brazil were waiting on the fitness of Elano as they trained for Friday's World Cup meeting with their former colonial masters Portugal.

Elano picked up a calf strain in the win over Ivory Coast which guaranteed the five-times champions' place in the last 16 though he is expected to be fit for the final Group G match.

Brazil have racked up a 2-1 win over North Korea and a 3-1 victory over Ivory Coast to sit pretty on six points whereas Portugal need draw to be absolutely certain of second place as the Ivorians could theoretically still just pip them.

Elano, who scored in both games, took part in some but not all of Wednesday's session at Saint Sthithians College in the northern Johannesburg suburb of Sandton, jogging and then taking part in a special session with a physical trainer while his squadmates worked on set pieces.

Tuesday, Elano had sat out the day session but insisted: "I feel better."

Coach Dunga allowed reporters barely half an hour before bringing down the shutters - a tactic which has infuriated a media desperate for more information on tactics from the camp.

With Elano's fitness still in some doubt Benfica's Ramires is on stand-by.

Kaka is suspended after his harsh red card against Ivory Coast and Dunga is still mulling his replacement, though the favourite is AS Roma's Julio Baptista.

Another option is to move Robinho slightly further back and field Villarreal forward Nilmar or else be more conservative and stiffen midfield with Daniel Alves.


No Kaka as Dunga turns to Brazil's reserve squad

22 June 2010 00:00

JOHANNESBURG (AFP) - With progress to the World Cup last 16 already assured, Brazil's reserves have the chance to shine in their final group match against Portugal.

Monday was a rest day for the most part for the first eleven, as coach Dunga instead put the remainder of the squad through their paces in the knowledge that he now has two reasons to shuffle his pack and investigate his men's strength in depth.

That is because wins over North Korea and Ivory Coast have propelled Brazil through the opening phase but also because star midfielder Kaka has inadvertently done Dunga a favour.

By getting himself a red card against Ivory Coast the Real Madrid superstar will have to sit out the Portugal encounter come what may.

His opening showing against the North Koreans in a fairly hard-fought 2-1 win was not quite what fans have come to expect of a former world player of the year and there had been indications that he would not necessarily keep his place with some players talking up the skills of the likes of Julio Baptista.

Kaka did improve against the Ivory Coast, with a neat assist, but his sending off for pushing Abdelkader Keita means Dunga must shake things up anyway - though with six points in the bag he can afford to do so.

"We are not sure who will replace Kaka for the next game, we will think about it over the next few days," Dunga said.

Although Dunga - to the horror of some former players and many fans - has reined in the samba style in his four-year tenure to date he has nonetheless been handsomely rewarded both in the Copa America and the Confederations Cup here last year.

Former England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson, currently in charge of Ivory Coast, feels Brazil look like champions.

"You need to be almost perfect to beat Brazil. In every way they are good, they are very good," opined Eriksson.

The reserves aren't too bad either as they hammered The Birds, a local side from Vaal, outside Johannesbrug, 7-1, albeit after negotiating a tricky 20 opening minutes.

Baptista was on target as was Wolfsburg's Grafite with a brace, Ramires, Kleberson and Daniel Alves with an own goal on top.

The first team were meanwhile enjoying the facilities at their Fairway Hotel base.

Dunga looks to have three options regarding his Kaka conundrum.

He can field Nilmar in attack and switch the on-form Robinho into a central role, send in Julio Baptista or push Daniel Alves forward into the engine room.

Elano meanwhile still hopes to start against the Portuguese, who thrashed the North Koreans 7-0 after their goalless stalemate with Ivory Coast, despite taking a blow to the throat on Monday, according to team doctor Jose Luis Runco.

Assuming they claim at least a draw on Friday Brazil will win their group and face the second team in Group G - either Spain, Chile or Switzerland.


'We don't fear Brazil' says Portugal's Simao

12 June 2010 21:10

MAGALIESBURG, South Africa (AFP) - Winger Simao said on Saturday Portugal could beat five-time champions Brazil if they had to in order to qualify from the "Group of Death" but admitted he wanted to avoid Spain in the next phase.

The Portuguese, semi-finalists at the 2006 World Cup, are battling for qualification with Brazil and Ivory Coast, with North Korea the dark horses in Group G, and Simao said they were anxious to get their tournament under way.

"Portugal have some of the best players in Europe with a lot of ambition and it's a very united and strong team," the Atletico Madrid player told reporters at Portugal's rural training base outside Johannesburg.

"It's always important to start the World Cup in the best way with a win. We don't want to face Brazil in the third game needing a win but if we need to win, why not? Because we have beaten them several times before."

He said Portugal, who face the Ivory Coast in their first match on Tuesday, wanted to avoid Spain in the last 16, which would happen if Spain topped Group H and Portugal finished as runners-up in their group.

"It will be difficult if Portugal face Spain in the last 16 because they are the European champions," the 30-year-old said. Spain are hot favourites to top Group H.

And he sought to quash rumours that he did not get on with superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, saying he was good friends with the Read Madrid player.

"It's a lie and I don't understand it. You can ask Ronaldo and he will confirm that."

Portugal needed a play-off against Bosnia-Herzegovina to reach South Africa after a qualifying campaign in which midfielder-cum-striker Ronaldo failed to score in seven matches before being sidelined by injury.

Where to play the "golden boy" will occupy much of coach Carlos Queiroz's time with the options facing the former assistant to Alex Ferguson at Manchester United including using him in a wide or central midfield role or as a lone striker.

Portugal breezed through a 3-0 warm-up victory over Mozambique on Tuesday, but the match was overshadowed by the loss of Nani following an injury in training.

Simao admitted the Manchester United winger would be a loss but said: "Of course he is a good player but unfortunately he is injured. We are sad but we have a lot of good players that can also play in our position."

Simao said he was not certain to be in the starting eleven as there were many good players pushing for places.

"I'm very happy to be part of this 23. We are preparing for the World Cup in a good way and instead of thinking about our opponents we are thinking about ourselves.

"We hare working hard. I am fit, all the players are fit. I feel 100 percent."