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Winners and Losers Day 5: A New Hope

June 15, 2010

Today was a moderately exciting day. Or at least it wasn’t as boring as it has been. Regardless, New Zealand and Slovakia contested a highly entertaining 1-1 draw, with a dramatic finish. Elsewhere, Ivory Coast and Portugal got physical, and ground their way to a scoreless draw. North Korea, meanwhile, managed to score a goal against Brazil. I’m willing to bet nobody saw that coming. Anyways, winners and losers from day 5 after the jump.

Winners:

Winston Reid– First of all, what an awesome name. He sounds like he should be puttering around the Tasman sea on a yacht, eating caviar. But instead he was in South Africa, putting on an impressive display in the defense. He made a timely intervention to keep Robert Vittek from getting a second goal, and just looked impressive all around. Oh yeah, and he popped up in the dying moments of the game to knock in a header and rescue a draw for a New Zealand side that certainly deserved.

Ivory Coast– Unlike the majority of the other African sides in the tournament, the 4-3-3 shape that they lined up in suited them quite well. Their organization was impressive, as was their defending. But more than that, they came to play. You could see how competitive they were being, and it showed in their tackles, in the stamina, and in almost all the other facets of their game. Sadly, without Drogba on the pitch the few chances they created were wasted, but it was a great performance to secure a point in what promises to be a tightly contested group.

North Korea– The held Brazil scoreless in the first half, and managed to score a goal in the second half (and a beautifully taken one at that). More importantly, the Ivory Coast and Portugal drew. That means that two draws from the next two games could be enough to see North Korea through to the knockout stages, and from the anemic offense on display in the Ivory Coast/Portugal match it isn’t really a stretch to imagine them drawing.

Losers:

Crisitano Ronaldo– I lost count of the number of times he wilted without the slightest hint of contact. He flopped every time, and the referee bought it. Nothing new about that really, it just annoys me. But he was also shackled quite well by the Ivorian defense, only having one real quality moment, and that was a shot off the post from 30 yds.

Dunga– Sure, it was a win. But being a Brazilian coach has certain complications, like the expectation to win playing beautifully. Mind you, I don’t mind the way his team plays, and they are very good at winning, but this win certainly didn’t win him any fans at home.

Emmanuel Adebayor– Forgive our lateness on this one, but being Yanks we watch the ESPN coverage, not the BBC coverage. Sadly, though, we missed this hilarious moment with Ade. To paraphrase Roy Keane, I didn’t rate you as a player, I don’t rate you as a commentator, and I don’t rate you as a person.

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