(Results: PORTUGAL 7-0 KOREA DPR, CHILE 1-0 SWITZERLAND, SPAIN 2-0 HONDURAS)
If Brazil had out-played the Africans, North Korea and Honduras were schooled by their more illustrious opponents – Portugal and Spain. The Europeans, after drawing flak for their performances thus far, raised their game to mesmerizing heights and not even a trigger-happy referee could rob the day of its footballing glory.
‘Serial Killers’ of the day: Portugal
When North Korea took the field against Portugal, they wanted to avenge the heartbreak that was England 1966, when the Asians were beaten 5-3, after leading 3-0 in the quarter-finals. Now when they qualify for India’50, they will be yearning to avenge this brutal massacre. Portugal pumped in six second half goals, in what maybe regarded as the most destructive forty-five minutes in a World Cup. The destruction caused by the relentless Portuguese has left us, at TheHardTackle, fearing for the safety of the North Koreans.
‘Poker-dealer’ of the day: K Al Ghamdi
The referee in the Chile v Switzerland game, saw this match as a perfect backdrop to resume his erstwhile job as a poker-dealer and dealt cards with such ferocity that it left even Las Vegas overwhelmed. It’s been reported that the biggest casinos in the world are vying for his signature, after seeing him dish out nine yellow and one red card in the game.
‘Florent Malouda’ Hairstyle of the day: Mario Martinez (Honduras)
Malouda has some competition. Is it difficult for you to fathom, yes? Mario Martinez has emerged as such a star attraction (at least for the bees, due to his flower-esque locks) that the Chelsea man is having sleepless nights; and no, Domenech is not the reason.
‘Crossbar breaker’ of the day: Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)
What does Cristiano have against the poor crossbar? Was the net fearing him not enough that he has started his crusade against the goal structure? After hitting the post in the game against the Ivory Coast, the Portugal captain struck the crossbar with such ferocity that one could see blood come out of the rain-soaked ball! Luckily for the medical staff, the goalkeeper was not in the way. Often blamed for his selfish play, the most expensive player in the world was at his selfless best – creating for his team-mates and celebrating with them in happiness. He himself scored when the ball refused to let go off him; it embraced his head, and when the magician realized that he has unintentionally performed a trick, he calmly obliged his beloved, by slotting it past the hapless keeper, thereby ending his goal-drought for the national team.
Blessing of the day: Deco’s injury
Carlos Quiroz was in a fix – Deco was fit and he had to play him. He prayed to the gods for guidance and they obliged. Deco was ruled out of the match with a hip injury and his replacement was Tiago, who has since then been bestowed with the title ‘Enemy of the State’ by Korea DPR, after his role in dismantling their national team.
Messiah of the day: David Villa (Spain)
Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Barcelona’s newest poster boy is one hell of a player. If ever there was a doubt about his big-match credentials, they were put to rest last night. Spain needed an inspiration, they needed a finisher to get something out of the plethora of chances they create. David Villa gave them arguably the goal of the tournament, when he dodged defenders, twisted, turned and re-established the European Champions as strong title-contenders. No jokes here!
Waste of the day: Half of Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg
You would have thought, it’s Cesc Fabregas for spending 180 minutes on the bench, when he could have been doing what he does best – play football – but it’s half the pitch that was used for Spain versus Honduras. Enough said.