Brazil 2, Korea DPR 1.
Brazil squeezed through a very committed Korea DPR in the second half of what was supposed to be a stroll in the park for the Samba Boys. I owe the Asians an apology, having bought them a coffin in my preview.
Generally, me and the Brazilian coach Dunga, thought Korea was going to be content fulfilling the fixture. these guys are here for business. they rolled into a 1-8-2 formation, and flowing forward swiftly in counter attacks. More impressive was their comfort on the ball, committment and decisive in challenges.
The front 2 players held the ball well while waiting for support from midfield. Their ball control was fantastic. They had excellent timing and weighting of passes. There was an incredible teamwork and passion in their game. They intercepted the ball perfectly, winning everything outside their penalty box and quickly turning defence to attack.
Brazil, on their part, were out of sorts and puzzled, if not dazzled by the pace of the Koreans. They depended more on Robinho who was not allowed to play, resorting to several attempts at goal from way out. Kaka was played out of the game, and the South Americans were invisible all of the first half.
After the break, the Koreans failed to find their rhythm, allowing Brazil to creep back into the game. A combination of luck for the Brazilians and a lapse in concentration by the Korean defence, saw a defence splitting through ball that Maicon, intending to cross hard and low, scored on the near post with the goalkeeper anticipating across.
While the goal took steam out of the Koreans, they maintained a steady shape and sporadic counter attacks. Their left side of the defence was caught napping, conceding a goal once more. A few counter attacks later, a beautiful goal was scored by Korea, and with a little more patience, they could have found an equaliser.
This group will be hard to decide. Usually, small committed teams like Korea, may put a grand show like they did with Brazil and yet crumble like a sand castle against Ivory Coast or Portugal. On that note, it’s a game lost by Brazil and advantage Ivory Coast and Portugal. These nations will have to see how they grind points off Brazil.
For now, let’s not take anything away from a performance of the tournament so far. Hats off Korea DPR.