By Subendran Ravindran
The FIFA World Cup has finally peaked as Brazil turned on the samba in an all out display of ferocious attacking football against Côte d’Ivoire (in French, in English Ivory Coast) The match had all the drama, as if to prove the critics wrong about Dunga,the Brazilian players put a show worthy of any Brazilian team despite not taking off intermediately. Kaka still did not pick himself up from the North Korea game and in the first half he seemed to be out muscled in every tussle he had with the Ivory Coast players. This changed in the 25th minute when Robinho, Kaka and Luis Fabiano shared some rapid passes between them until Fabiano shot it into the roof of the net in what seemed like a difficult angle. Brazil never looked back after that and in the second half.
Photo from fOTOGLIF
Fabiano’s second goal though excellent was handled by Fabiano twice before he lashed on to a half-volley, but in the first incident Fabiano seemed to be fouled from the back and the ball hit his hand, as Fabiano still had possession the ref seemed to give an advantage and Fabiano did it again before scoring, it happened in an instant and the ref might not have seen it and the assistant referee too, which begs the question; what are the officials doing? The goal in the 50th minute however did not make a difference as Brazil were already tearing the Elephants apart.
The third goal came when Kaka went into cruise mood when he managed a strong run on the left wing to give a low cross for Elano to slot it into goal in the 62nd minute. A few minutes later Elano crashed out of the game with what seemed like a bad shin injury.
The South Americans went up a notch after that with some superb passes and switch play which left the African players chasing wind. This is when the match took a turn with the Ivory Coast players doing foul after foul.
The Referee from France did not handle the game well, the Brazilian players were frustrated with the fouls and the ref was still reluctant to give more cards to the players after he had given three yellows to Côte d’Ivoire players. Didier Drogba seemed subdued in this match until Gervinho ( Ivory Coast player named like a Brazilian because of his flair) came on and was instrumental in Drogba’s 79th minute headed goal.
Côte d’Ivoire started playing again, but once again resorted to dirty tactics constantly and Kaka appealed to the ref to look into the fouls and be more strong in the decision and for this he got a yellow card and towards the end of the game he got another for losing his temper and nudging a player in an off the ball incident. By this time the ref lost the plot as the Côte d’Ivoire were more interested in bringing down the Brazilian players by whatever means whenever they attacked. With Kaka’s sending off and Elano’s injury Brazil will now have to reshuffle and might be more conservative in their third game against Portugal. Since the 1982 World Cup the winner of the FIFA World Cup Tournament never lost a match. Italy started this in 1982 where despite not being a skillful team remained unbeaten.
Brazil have shown that iron and silk can mix and co-exist together, though at times during the match there seem to get into each other’s way whenever they went for the ball, this is something rare in Brazil, at times they looked like a pack of wolves hunting down a man or in this case elephant as that is Côte d’Ivoire’s nick name. Either way Portugal must watch out now as Brazil look strong in defence and attack and though Drogba’s goal looked easy Brazil and the South Americans in general lapse when they are 2 or 3 goals ahead and this for now seems the only weakness or chink in Brazil’s armour.