World Cup Day 5 action round-up - New Zealand bag first point while Brazil made to sweat
Day 5 of the World Cup saw some of the tournaments star names on show but no one could make an eye catching impact as the cautious approach continued. A last gasp equaliser for New Zealand earnt them a point against Slovakia while Ivory Coast and Portugal also shared the spoils in an uneventful stalemate. Brazil were made to sweat by a resilient Korea DPR side but did eventually run out 2-1 victors to top Group G.
NEW ZEALAND 1
A Winston Reid equaliser deep into stoppage time gave New Zealand their first ever point at the World Cup finals after a 1-1 draw with Slovakia in Rustenberg.
Despite entering the match as underdogs, New Zealand began the stronger threatening to open the scoring a few times from set pieces in the opening minutes. Slovakia ended the half on the front foot with captain Marek Hamsik forcing a smart save out of Mark Paston from long range after a well worked free kick.
Just five minutes after the interval, the breakthrough came when Stanislav Sestak whipped a dangerous ball into the box which Robert Vittek glanced past Paston to give the Slovakians the lead.
New Zealand produced very little in the way of goal scoring chances in response and Slovakia looked on their way to a comfortable victory and the top of Group F.
However, a last minute in swinging ball from Shane Smeltz was met by the head of centre half Winston Reid and flew into the net to break the hearts of the Slovakians and give New Zealand a first ever World Cup point in the dying seconds.
IVORY COAST 0
The long anticipated opening game in Group G between Ivory Coast and Portugal failed to live up to expectations as they played out a 0-0 stalemate at Port Elizabeth.
With Brazil favourites to top the group, this was likely to be the deciding game in quest for runners up spot and a defeat for either side would all but end their chances.
This showed in the early exchanges as the game lacked rhythm and attacking intent. Cristiano Ronaldo went closest to opening the scoring after 11 minutes when a traditional long range effort fizzed past goalkeeper Boubacar Barry but the left hand post denied the Real Madrid winger.
The second half began in similar fashion with both sides packing the midfield and making life difficult for their opponents. Ivory Coast did look threatening on occasions with Salomon Kalou and Gervinho linking up well.
The introduction of Didier Drogba visibly excited the crowd but even the Chelsea striker failed to break the deadlock, as the sides shared the points in a cagey opening affair.
Maicon 55, Elano 72
NORTH KOREA 1
Yun-Nam Ji 89
Brazil were made to sweat out a 2-1 victory after a spirited performance from Korea DPR at Elis Park, Johannesburg.
Ranked number 104 places above their opponents, The Samba Kings entered the game as overwhelming favourites and were fancied to register a comprehensive victory. This was not to be the case though as theunderstandably set out to frustrate their opponents and did so with a degree pf comfort early on with Brazilian playmaker Kaka struggling to make an impact.
The breakthrough that seemed inevitable came after 55 minutes when Maicon overlapped down the right hand flank before firing in from the tightest of angles.
They all but wrapped up the points on 72 minutes when Robinho produced an inch perfect through ball for Elano to slot home and double their lead. North Korea scored a well deserved consolation goal late on when Ji Yun-nam caught Brazil napping at the back and fired past Julio Cesar.
Three points will satisfy Brazil coach Dunga while Korea DPR sent a clear message to Ivory Coast and Portugal that they are far from the whipping boys of Group G.