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World Cup Recap - Portugal vs. North Korea



(Monday, June 21st)

Final Score: Portugal 7, North Korea 0

Cape Town, South Africa (Sports Network) - Portugal solidified its chances of advancing out of Group G by demolishing North Korea, 7-0, in World Cup action at Green Point Stadium on Monday.

Tiago scored two goals, and Cristiano Ronaldo, Raul Meireles and Hugo Almeida each had a goal and an assist as Portugal scored six second-half goals in the drubbing.

"It was a great display with good goals and the right attitude," Portugal coach Carlos Queiroz said. "We needed a game like this, but we have to remember that we've not won anything yet. The most important thing is to secure qualification. We'd seen some North Korean matches, like the one against Brazil, and we felt that we should make a few changes. So we decided to put our faith in these players. We proved that all our players are ready to play their part."

The seven-goal deficit is the largest in World Cup play since Germany defeated Saudi Arabia, 8-0, at the 2002 tournament, while North Korea is the second team to be officially eliminated from the knockout round along with Cameroon.

"Our tactical plan didn?t work for us today," North Korean defender An Yong Hak said. "We were too attack-minded and conceded a lot of goals. And once we started playing even more openly, we ended up letting the Portuguese score seven times. The rain didn't affect us. Our problem was that we set our stall out to attack too much and that weakened us. Weve now got time to prepare for our next match and try and give it our best shot."

The game actually started on pretty even footing, but Portugal tested the North Korean net first after a Ricardo Carvalho header went off the left post from a corner kick in the seventh minute.

The Korean's best early chance came when Cha Jong-Hyok ripped a shot from about 25 yards out that curled just wide of right post in the 11th minute.

The best chance of the game for the Koreans occurred in the 18th minute, when Hong Yong-Jo's shot from the right side was knocked dangerously back through the box by goalkeeper Eduardo. But Pak Nam-Chol's header off the rebound went over the bar and the game remained scoreless.

Portugal made the Koreans pay for the missed chance just before the half-hour mark when an Almeida through-ball into the center of the penalty area split four defenders before Meireles ran on to it and hammered it home for the 1-0 advantage.

That was how the score stayed until Portugal's second-half goal explosion started in the 53rd minute.

Simao Sabrosa started the chance with a diagonal ball into the area to Almeida that was neatly touched to Meireles. He then picked out Simao, who finished between goalkeeper Ri Myong-Guk's legs.

Three minutes later Almeida added a goal when he headed home a Fabio Coentrao service from the left side after the defender got free making an overlapping run down the wing.

Portugal made it 4-0 at the hour mark when Ronaldo received the ball on the left side, drove into the offensive third and played the ball back to the top of the box to Tiago, who fired it home.

With the game very much decided, Ronaldo and Liedson added their first goals respectively of the tournament before Tiago added his second of the game.

Portugal is in the driver's seat to advance alongside 2-0 Brazil after drawing with Ivory Coast in its opener.

The Portuguese will get through with a draw against Brazil in its final group match on Friday, while Ivory Coast will need to make up a sizable goal differential even if Portugal falls in that game.

06/21 13:24:31 ET


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