Welcome, football fans. Bryan Sakakeeny here to help guide you through the most anticipated match in the group of death: Brazil vs. Portugal.
There are only a couple more invitations to the Round of 16 party left to hand out as the dust begins to settle and the real tournament begins to take shape here at the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
However, don't let your thoughts wander to this weekend's knockout clashes just yet because we've got a cracking matchup in prospect here today. The pitch will be teeming with talent today as two of the World's top teams are set to face off their final group stage match.
Both teams are effectively through, barring a landslide of goals from Ivory Coast in the other game today, so it is essentially a tune-up for these soccer giants. That said, both fan bases will be burning with passion today and the teams will no doubt be wanting to put their best foot forward going into the Round of 16, especially against such great competition.
Let me and the readers know what your thoughts are on the match, or just what your thoughts are in general, by posting a comment.
As always, enjoy the match!
It's official, Portugal goes through. Carlos Queiroz punches the air in delight, it's apparent now that Portugal only didn't want to lose today. They picked a couple of spots to go forward put once they hit some resistance, they were content to sit back and get the points they needed. Brazil was very much the same way, they'll be pleased with winning the group. Dunga football was very prevalent today as Brazil grinded out the one point with a very defensive and stout approach.
Disappointing match to say the least, but we'll be looking forward to see these two teams in action in the knockout round.
96'- Ensuing corner is swept away.
94'- Late pressure forces a mistake out of Juan, Danny runs on to it but the ball is kicked wide. Danny and Cesar both shaken up.
92'- Ramires with a hopeful strike, wicked deflection bends it down behind Eduardo, forcing him to go full stretch to knock it away, great save.
91'- Five minutes of added time, embarrassed to say I'm sad it's that much time. I'm ready for this one to get over.
90'- Dull spot in the game, obviously John Harkes decides to talk about the U.S.A. to pass the time.
88'- Dani Alves given a corner. Shot corner is cleared away but it comes back to Alves who finds the head of Lucio. Eduardo makes the routine save, made you think for a moment though.
85'- Fabiano off, Grafite on. Both teams looking to run some time off. Big fan of Grafite, him and Dzeko have been electric for Wolfsburg the past two years.
84'- Miguel Veloso comes on for Meireles. Raul lumbers off the field, quite indicative of Portugal's approach to the game.
82'- Ball dribbles out from Ronaldo after a challege, Danny fancies his chances and takes a shot from outside the box. Not a bad effort in truth but it curls wide.
78'- Brazil pouring men forward at the moment.
75'- Dunga is now the most entertaining person on the pitch, jumping and spinning in frustration.
73'- Portugal holding their shape very well, Alves is forced to take a long shot out of frustration. No surprise it's wide, he hasn't been on target all day.
68'- Portugal trying to isolate Ronaldo and Lucio, this time Lucio does his best impression of a road block as Ronaldo goes down, free kick is not dangerous.
64'- Pedro Mendes is on in a straight swap for Pepe. Cesar is up and appears just fine.
61'- Cesar seems to have tweaked his back after the save. He collided with Meireles after the save.
60'- Ronaldo with a sparkling run, centering pass is right to Meireles, but Cesar closes down the angle and forces it wide. Game starting to show some signs of life.
58'- Portugal with a wide attack, more men in the box this time. Bad giveaway from Baptista off the corner, shot from Simao makes Cesar work but not that much.
56'- Bastos with a ludicrous attempt from distance. It's well wide.
54'- Simao comes on for Duda.
52'- Free kick to Ronaldo, the low kick takes a deflection and whizzes over the bar.
50'- Good break by Brazil, terrbile ball to the wing from Fabiano, attack fizzles out.
48'- Great long ball over the top to Ronaldo, he had Danny in the middle but great recovery and intervention by the captain, Lucio.
46'- Second half is underway.
Brazil showed good pressure early on, but has seemed to back off and just pick out long, hopeful shots. Portugal on the other hand is operating with one tactic: Absorb pressure and then find Ronaldo on the break. Both teams are teeming with talent, but need to come out of their shells a bit more to make the match an exciting one. The CIV-PRK game still stands at 2-0, so Portugal really doesn't have anything to play for more than pride at this point.
44'- Felipe Melo is finally awarded a yellow card after a long stretch of chippy play. Dunga has seen enough, he puts on Josue in his place.
41'- Felipe Melo puts in a hard challenge. Ronaldo takes advantage with a quick free kick. Carrying the ball forward before firing a low shot right at Julio Cesar.
39'- Great cross from Maicon, Fabiano finds a bit of space and gets a head on it. He narrowly misses the back post. Portugal has twice fallen asleep on that back post when crosses come in from the right side.
37'- The prospect of drawing is going to become more and more attractive to both teams as time passes. Let's hope we get a first goal.
33'- I love watching Ronaldo's arms flail when he runs. He looks like a T-Rex sprinting at full tilt.
31'- Baby face Nilmar exploits the left side and gets on the end of a cross but it's off of the bar! Portugal runs the break to perfection but Tiago takes a dive and is shown a yellow card.
29'- Ronaldo trying to do too much on the ball at the moment. He has a knack of taking himself out of the game even when he has it at his feet frequently.
26'- Ronaldo tries to punch one in off of a free kick of ungodly distance. That one ended up in Polokwane.
25'- Juan throws up the ol' arm and blocks a nicely lofted through ball headed right towards the boot of Ronaldo with plenty of space. Yellow card is shown. Duda asks why it wasn't a red card and he's shown a yellow as well.
21'- Ivory Coast up 2-0 on North Korea already, remind me how they played Brazil to a 2-1 loss? They're probably trying to get beat so bad Kim Jong Il tells them not to bother coming back to their country.
17'- Alves with another long shot, a weak bouning strike straight at Eduardo. Kaka is texting on the bench. Martin Tyler informs us that if you're last name beigns with "K", you might get red carded (Kaka, Khune, Klose, Kaita)
14'- Portugal looking fine with sitting back and playing a counter-attacking game. They've absorbed pressure well so far.
9'- Fabio Coentrao being run at early by Maicon and the like, Coentrao's really impressed me thus far in the tournament though.
6'- Long, wishful attempt from Dani Alves that sails wide. So far Alves has botched two corners and a shot, I'll let you know how his passing looks as we progress.
4'- Ronaldo gets his first touch and a roar of approval from the Portugese fans is audible above the vuvuzelas.
2'- The game looks like a fresh pack of Starburst that learned to play soccer, early corner to Brazil.
1'- We're off and running here in Durban.
9:58EST- Carlos Queiroz looking to become just the second ex-Metro Stars coach in World Cup history to go through to the knockout stages.
9:54EST- Damnit, John Harkes, what are you doing here? Shouldn't you be off with Alexi pouring over the U.S.A.'s formation?
9:53EST- Nothing should be lost in translation on the pitch today, let's pray for a bevy of trash talking.
9:47EST- I've heard tens of millions of dollars are lost through lack of productivity during the NCAA Basketball Tournament. Just was informed that over 1.2 billion dollars are lost during the World Cup due to the same reason.
9:42EST- Here's the real question: Do you have a better chance of avoiding Spain in the Round of 16 if you go for the win and the Group G title? Or throwing the match and advance as the two seed? I guess Spain will be the ones playing the chess match later today to pick their opponent.
9:40EST- Must be nice to be Brazil when you start a completely new line of attacking midfielders and still come up with a lineup like that.
9:37EST- Wow, did ESPN just unveil an extension of the "Write the Future" ad campaign? It featured Robinho doing a rainbow kick and then slotting it home against Portugal. Events that ensued included: Robinho currency, making Robinho into a saint, people getting Robinho tattoos and a parade complete withi Robinho floats.
9:34EST- Both teams not at full strength. It is a finals-caliber match but both teams want some players to keep their legs and avoid amassing too many yellow cards. Let's just hope they don't play for the draw.
9:30EST- Starting lineups
9:26EST- We're up and running.