Portugal and Côte d’Ivoire played out a faintly dull 0-0 in this afternoon’s FIFA World Cup 2010 Group G encounter between the two sides.
The high points of this match were a Cristiano Ronaldo shot from open play from 25 metres that rifled off the outside of the post and the roar that greeted Didier Drogba’s introduction to the field of play with 25 minutes remaining.
Other than those two moments, this match that promised much delivered very little.
The opening moments were nervy, but both sides looked to stretch each other and stamp some authority on this match. There was also some early aggression on display as Ivorian tempers frayed over Ronaldo’s propensity to fall to the floor following the slightest of touches, or even no touch at all.
Other than Ronaldo’s wonderfully struck effort in the opening twenty minutes, the game went increasingly quiet until half time.
The second half was not much better, but Portugal did manage to put the ball in the net midway through the half, though this was long after the referee had blown for an infringement.
The match finished at 0-0 after neither side did enough to even hint at a goal.
Group G will see one good side fail to progress, and Portugal and Côte d’Ivoire must achieve at least a point in their match with Brazil to ensure this is not they. Qualification could also come down to goal difference, after this result, so entertainment could be to come later when these teams meet North Korea.
We will see what is in store for them this evening when Brazil play the North Korean side for the lead of Group G, for looking forwards is just about the only pleasure to be taken from this cagey opener.