Top notch work from the Brazilians as they flew past a disappointing Ivory Coast (3-1). A deserved win for the Samba boys who booked their ticket for the final 16. The Elephants could yet join them if results go their way.
With the return of captain and goal-machine Didier Drogba, Ivory Coast had high hopes before facing Brazil, in a much awaited first round encounter.
The Auriverde may not be the apostle of jago bonito football they used to be, they make up with efficiency what they lack in fancy football. Sven Goran Eriksson’s men learned that the hard way.
Despite not scoring for ten games straight, Luis Fabiano was on top form. The Elephants had their foot on the ball in the beginning of the game. But this only proved to be the catalyst to a period of pressure from Brazil which would lead to the opening goal on 26 minutes.
Robinho picked up the ball in midfield and fed Luis Fabiano, whose first-time flick freed Kaka. The Real Madrid man did well to keep hold of possession under pressure before returning the pass to Luis Fabiano, who strode forward and fired emphatically into the roof of the net at Barry’s near post.
The breakthrough was just what Brazil needed to take control of the game, and for several minutes afterwards Ivory Coast did well to so much as get out of their own half as the Selecao began to dominate possession and territory for the first time. It became a lesson in keep-ball for a few minutes as the Samba stars stroked the ball around with ease.
In the second period, Luis Fabiano doubles his tally, flicking over one defender’s challenge, clipping the ball over another and then slamming home left-footed into the corner. The handballing was obvious for everyone. Not for the French referee.
"We conceded a couple of easy goals, the first goal Brazil scored was very good. I thought we came back well but we couldn’t score more than one. We were unlucky with the handballs (for Fabiano’s second goal), the referee didn’t see that, it shouldn’t have been allowed", explained Sven Goran Eriksson after the game.
The rest is history. Elano added another one for Brazil (63’) before Didier Drogba scored Africa’s first ever goal against the South Americans in a World Cup. Too little too late. If the Elephants want an invite for week 3, they’ll have to count on North Korea against Portugal, before trashing the Asians on Friday.