World Cup’10 – Day 15: Grand Finale of Group Matches

(Results: Portugal 0-0 Brazil, North Korea 0-3 Ivory Coast, Chile 1-2 Spain, Switzerland 0-0 Honduras)

The final day of group matches revealed the complete fixture list for the round-of-sixteen of this World Cup. A day that can be remembered for footballing indecents rather than incidents. Two important clashes in group G and H became the scrappiest games of this world cup. Lets take a listen to some of the keynotes of the last day’s orchestra.

‘Nerd Tackle’ Of The Day: Pepe(Portugal)

June 25, 2010 - Durban, South Africa - epa02222191 Pepe (L) of Portugal vies for the ball with Michel Bastos (front) and Felipe Melo of Brazil during the FIFA World Cup 2010 group G preliminary round match between Portugal and Brazil at the Durban stadium in Durban, South Africa, 25 June 2010.

Old habits die hard?

Just a season back Pepe was banned for ten matches for deliberately kicking Fransisco Casquero in a La Liga match against Getafe. As if the reprimand was not enough, the bad boy of Portugal played the first half of the match in exactly the same destructrive mood, frequently nailing Fabiano and Melo. Finally he was cautioned for stamping his boot on to Melo‘s calf muscle.

Hand of God (?) Moment Of The Day: Juan(Brazil)

June 25, 2010 - South Africa - Football - Portugal v Brazil FIFA World Cup South Africa 2010 - Group G - Durban Stadium, Durban, South Africa - 25/6/10..Brazil's Juan (2nd L) is shown a yellow card by referee Benito Archundia Tellez.

Oh Juan, it's called football..

The perfect long ball was destined to reach an unmarked Cristiano Ronaldo on the right flank, but Juan had some other plans. Knowing very well that if he doesn’t intervene between the ball and Ronaldo, it can prove to be dangerous for Brazil. Along came his masterpiece – sticking out his left hand deliberately to stop it from reaching Ronaldo. He earned a booking which was far lesser punishment than what he truly deserved.

Goal Of The Day: Andres Iniesta(Spain)

June 25, 2010 - Pretoria, South Africa - epa02222795 Spanish player Andres Iniesta (bottom right corner) scores the 2-0 during the FIFA World Cup 2010 group H preliminary round match between Chile and Spain at the Loftus Versfeld stadium in Pretoria, South Africa, 25 June 2010.

Spanish Armada is gaining momentum

After being set up by David Villa inside the penalty box, Iniesta did not make any mistakes and his neat right footed drive was enough to give Spain a two goal cushion against Chile in their final group match. The play for setting up this goal was one of the moments of the day and the cool finish made it look even better.

Save Of The Day: Diego Benaglio(Switzerland)

June 25, 2010 - Bloemfontein, South Africa - epa02222839 Switzerland's goalkeeper Diego Benaglio (R) prepares to make a save as Honduras' David Suazo (L) tries for the header during the FIFA World Cup 2010 group H preliminary round match between Switzerland and Honduras at the Free State stadium in Bloemfontein, South Africa, 25 June 2010.

What a save!

Switzerland’s chance of qualifying for the knockout stage could have taken a knockout punch well before the mandated time. On 71st minute, an unmarked Edgar Alvarez of Honduras had to tap in the ball to score Honduras’s first goal of this tournament. But Benaglio, who orchestrated the Swiss defense throughout the tournament, pulled off a remarkable one-handed save to keep Switzerland’s chances alive, though only for a few more  minutes.

Harakiri Of The Day: Claudio Bravo(Chile)

June 25, 2010 - Pretoria, South Africa - epa02222842 Chile's goalkeeper Claudio Bravo tries to clear the ball in front of Spain's Fernando Torres (C) only seconds before Torres' teammate David Villa (not pictured) took advantage of the deflected clearance and scored the 1-0 lead during the FIFA World Cup 2010 group H preliminary round match between Chile and Spain at the Loftus Versfeld stadium in Pretoria, South Africa, 25 June 2010.

The game-defining moment

In a moment of sheer madness Bravo came running out of the penalty box to put in a fine sliding tackle to dispossess Fernando Torres. But the clearance went straight to David Villa who acknowledged the gift with left footed ‘wink’ and gave Spain their all important goal out of nowhere. That goal set up the outcome of the match and surely Bravo must be thinking what possessed him to make that run.

Dictators Of The Day: Benito Archundia and Marco Rodriguez (Mexico)

June 25, 2010 - Durban, South Africa - epa02222088 Mexican referee Benito Armando Archundia Tellez (R) shows the yellow card to Portuguese Duda (C) as Brazil's Gilberto Silva (2-R), Portuguese Bruno Alves (2-L) and Danny (L) look on during the FIFA World Cup 2010 group G preliminary round match between Portugal and Brazil at the Durban stadium in Durban, South Africa, 25 June 2010.


No, they did not dictate anything by playing for their country; however, they dictated two of the most important matches of the night, the way they wanted to. Portugal and their cousins Brazil, have met previously and the tension between the sides has never failed to come to the fore. In order to curb all the ill-intended aggression, Mr. Archundia started  flashing the yellow card as if it’s a guard of honor, but majority of the bookings could have been avoided. Amidst all this, Archundia‘s mania of law and order went for a toss when he only cautioned Juan for a deliberate handball, in a last ditch attempt to stop Cristiano Ronaldo to run away with the ball, an act for which Juan should have been sent off. Seven cards were shown in the first half and quite surprisingly none in the second half! Mr. Rodriguez, on the other hand, started off rationally but a card flashing spree for a period of 22 minutes in the first half left the Chileans riling with two goals and one man down. Simply put, the second yellow card shown to Estrada was way over the top.

June 25, 2010 - 06088655 date 25 06 2010 Copyright imago BPI Referee Marco Rodriguez sends Marco Estrada of Chile Off for A 2nd Yellow Card PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxUKxFRAxNEDxESPxSWExPOLxCHNxJPN Football men World Cup National team international match Tshwane Pretoria Action shot Vdig 2010 horizontal Highlight premiumd Football.

The Mexican referees lost the plot to dish out a plethora of cards


The final day completed the fixtures for the knockout stage – Brazil topped group G, followed by Portugal; whereas Spain topped group H, followed by Chile. Brazil will meet known foes Chile in a Latino Battle Royal, whereas the Iberian neighbors – Spain and Portugal – will fight it out in a bid to reach the last eight.

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  1. Aw, this was a really quality post. In theory I’d like to write like this too – taking time and real effort to make a good article… but what can I say… I procrastinate alot and never seem to get something done.