11 June, 2006

Colony Wars: Angola 0 Portugal 1

The teams might be mismatched on paper, but thanks to the colonial link between the nations this was expected to be one of the most competitive matches of the group stages.

I miss the first 40 minutes and switch on to find Portugal 1-0 up from an early Pauleta goal. For the remainder of the half they are clearly in control but Angola don't look anything like a walkover. Nonetheless the ITV studio team are predictably patronising during the break, laughing at a replay of an Angolan player missing the ball when attempting an overhead kick, as if Andy Townsend was a master of the move.

The second half starts out fast and furious. The Portuguese have most of the possession but both teams struggle to get the ball into forward positions and there is a good deal of aimless passing and pinball.

Loco has a good chance for Angola but blasts his shot well wide when he has time to place the ball and the option to pass it forward. Portugal don't get near the goal until Figo punts a free kick weakly into the box, the ball bouncing around harmlessly for a few moments before being cleared. Otherwise the middle half of the pitch sees almost all of the action.

For the last ten minutes Portugal are content to keep the ball out of danger. They don't do it particularly well and the Angolans get the ball into the box on two occasions, but are thwarted first by a thick Portuguese defence and then by a weak shot played straight into the keeper's hands. In the dying seconds Maniche forces Joao Ricardo to push the ball over the Angolan bar.

The whistle blows on a nondescript match. Portugal are far from being the force they have been in recent tournaments and Angola have proved they are no whipping boys, but more than anything this match has been a further demonstration of the lack of quality in Group D.


Nik said...

Only just caught up with this, so back tracking a little - but which England game were you watching in which we were better in the second half?

Nik said...

Portugal did OK at Euro 2004, but that was on home soil. Can't think of any other recent tournaments at which they have been a force

Joe Williams said...

If I remember rightly they were pretty good in 2002 World Cup and very good in 2000 Euros.

What I meant, and should have said, is that England were better at the beginning of the second half. Didn't last long though.

Baz said...

england did manage to string more than three passes together in the second half (as opposed to the hoofball of the first half).

just that they forgot to move beyond the half way line (or in front of the 18-yard line when defending).

Rish said...

Figo is sh*te


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