Sports Now

Sports news from Los Angeles and beyond

« Previous Post | Sports Now Home | Next Post »

World Cup: Portugal vs. North Korea: Portugal wins, 7-0

June 21, 2010 |  8:50 am

Portugal revived its World Cup campaign with a dominating 7-0 win over North Korea in Group G on Monday, eliminating the Asian team from the competition.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored the sixth goal of the game, his first in a competitive match for the national team since the 2008 European Championship.

Ronaldo also set up Tiago's first goal in the 60th. Tiago added another for the 2006 World Cup semifinalists in the 89th, while Raúl Meireles, Simão Sabrosa, Hugo Almeida and Liédson also scored.

"It was a great day for Portugal and Portuguese football," Portugal Coach Carlos Queiroz said. "The players are really happy with the way they played, the attitude for the game, the beautiful football, the beautiful goals."

The win moves Portugal into second place in Group G with four points, two behind Brazil. The Ivory Coast has one point, and North Korea is out of the tournament after two straight losses.

It was the most one-sided World Cup match since Germany routed Saudi Arabia, 8-0, in 2002.

North Korea had early chances but were undone when Meireles latched onto a clever pass by Tiago and gave Portugal its first score of the tournament. The goal seemed to deflate the Koreans, while the Portuguese finally began to show some of the Latin flair that had made them an outside favorite to win their first championship.

"Tactically speaking, we fell apart, and we couldn't block their attacks," North Korean Coach Kim Jong Hun said. "It was my fault for not playing the right strategy, and that is why we conceded a lot of goals."

North Korean state television aired live coverage of the game, a first for a North Korean football match taking place abroad.

The last time the two teams met, Portugal rallied from a three-goal deficit to win, 5-3, in the 1966 World Cup quarterfinals.

Meireles assisted on Simão's goal in the 53rd minute, which went through the legs of North Korean goalkeeper Ri Myong-Guk. Almeida scored three minutes later from a powerful header, and Tiago knocked home a pass from Ronaldo in the 60th.

Liédson scored from a defensive error, before Ronaldo ended a 16-month goal drought for his country with a simple finish after the ball fell to him.

"To score seven goals in a World Cup is not easy," said Ronaldo, who gave his man-of-the-match award to Tiago. "My teammates played very well."

The match was played in a steady downpour. The wet field at Green Point Stadium caused numerous players to lose their footing, and there was a series of errant passes.

North Korea named the same lineup as the one that impressed in a 2-1 loss to Brazil, but Queiroz made four changes from the team that was held to 0-0 draw by Ivory Coast.

Tiago replaced the injured Deco in midfield, with Almeida and Simão joining Ronaldo up front. Miguel Brito was chosen ahead of Paulo Ferreira at right back.

Portugal started positively, with Ronaldo sending a left-footed shot at Ri in the third minute, but the world's most expensive player was largely quiet until the second half.

After Ricardo Carvalho headed from a corner off the post in the seventh minute, the Koreans enjoyed their best spell. Cha Jong-hyok and An Yong-hak missed with long-range efforts, while striker Jong Tae-se should have done better with Mun In-guk's chip.

The win gives Portugal a massive goal advantage if it ends up even with Ivory Coast on points after the last match Friday. Portugal plays Brazil, which already has qualified for the second round, while Ivory Coast plays North Korea.

-- The Associated Press

Photo: Cristiano Ronaldo controls the ball before scoring the sixth goal for Portugal on Monday. Credit: Helmut Fohringer / EPA