4:23 p.m.: Brazil 3-1 Ivory Coast. Post Game Wrap-Up: Well, good game for the Brazilians over all, discounting the terrible minutes at the end. Dunga was very responsible for the cards in a lot of cases–he was instigating everything from the sidelines. The cards and the whistles will be the story of the game; Brazil’s play and Drogba’s response should be the story. Brazil played a very pretty second half; the first half was mostly forgettable on both sides. The second half saw, for a brief period there, the return of the samba as les elephants just couldn’t keep up with Kaká’s runs down the flanks and through the middle–they didn’t get any love from the French referee, who missed two obvious handballs on Luis Fabiano’s second goal.
Man of the Match: You probably guessed this: Kaká. Despite his “red card” (totally undeserved), and Luis Fabiano’s two goals, nothing would have happened for Brazil without him. He set up two goals and was a constant threat throughout the contest. Great job from Ricardo.
2:11 p.m.: Welcome Back! After a brief hiatus, Blargus Live Analysis is back! Today we have a cracker, a fantastic matchup in the “Group of Death,” between a surprisingly defensive Brazilian side that beat North Korea 2-0 in their opening match, and an exciting Ivory Coast squad featuring one of the game’s premier strikers, Didier Drogba.
2:19 p.m.: Pre-Game Chatter: Jurgen Klinsmann picks Brazil in “an open game,” and Alexi Lalas agrees; could this finally be the return of the Samba, the beautiful Brazilian style that was seemingly absent in the first Brazilian match–and that many people have argued has been absent since Dunga took over as head coach? Should be a good game today–the Ivorians need to try to pick up at least a point here if they’re going to get around the Portuguese in the group.
2:23 p.m.: Remember that Les elephants are widely credited with helping stop the Ivorian civil war when they qualified for the 2006 World Cup in Germany: they’ve become a national symbol, perhaps even more than the seleçao–Drogba has widely been lauded as a future president, or ambassador for the nation.
2:25 p.m.: NATIONAL ANTHEMS; Vuvuzelas; Stony-faced players–Game time. Time will be in game minutes from now on. Lúcio meets Drogba in the center for the coin toss–they’ve seen each other before, in the Champions League, where Lúcio’s Bayern Munich took down Drogba’s Chelsea.
1′) HUYYYYYY! Close shot from Robinho after a beautifully-orchestrated break from Kaká. Always rising. Good start for the Brazilians.
3′) Cheeky little Brazilian-esque move in the back there from Ivory Coast defender Tiene.
4′) Another free kick to Ivory Coast, comes to nothing as the Brazilians are patiently working the ball up from the back–loud vuvus right now.
5′) Poor touch by Robinho on the left flank leads to a quick break that was snuffed out by Lúcio; how often do you hear that, the commentators want to know–“Bad touch by a Brazilian in the last third.”
7′) No love there for Kaká, who was totally surrounded by Ivorians–needed help and the Brazilians didn’t give it to him. Good pressure from Ivory Coast, who try to organize an offensive set, but are stopped once again by Lúcio.
9′) Drogba’s “lurking,” waiting for the diagonal ball that doesn’t quite find him.
11′) Neither Robinho nor Kaká looks particularly strong today–Kaká looks a bit lost on this Dunga squad, as if he doesn’t know whether he should be a center midfielder or a winger. Commentators say he’ll “find his best form sometime next year.” Hmmm. Not for this World Cup though?
12′) Dangerous free kick for Ivory Coast–comes to absolutely nothing as Drogba skies a long shot.
13′) Another free kick for Ivory Coast–badly played, almost leads to a big break from Brazil, but Kaká loses it almost immediately. Another, more dangerous free kick for the Ivorians.
15′) That’s better! Good free kick for the Ivorians, but Julio César comes out well, and looks to have been leveled right there. Good play from Ivory Coast, who’re dominating proceedings right now.
17′) Very slow–Brazil looks unhurried, almost nonplussed bringing the ball out of the back slowly. Pace from Maicon on the right side–what a fantastic run from the coveted right back!
18′) HUUUUY! Two attempts from the Brazilians on a fantastic corner from Elano. Robinho skies his shot from inside the area. “Patience” is the name of the game for both teams according to Efan Ekoku, our wonderful commentator.
20′) Beautiful! Great pass to Maicon on the right side, but his touch was mediocre, and his cross leads to a Brazilian corner.
21′) Barry! Hangs on very well to the corner, and starts an Ivorian break–shut down by Lúcio.
23′) Bad pass from Maicon trying to set Luis Fabiano on goal. The Brazilians do not look very good in front of goal right now.
24′) GOOOOOAAAAALLLLLLLLLLL! GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAALL GGOOOOOOOOAAAAAALLLL GOOOOOAAAAALLLLL! OH MY! BEAUTIFUL FROM BRAZIL! KAKA THREADS A PERFECT PASS THROUGH TWO IVORIAN DEFENDERS, AND LUIS FABIANO BLASTS IT INTO THE TOP OF THE NET. What a beautiful goal from Brazil. Wow.
26′) The goal was clearly against the run of play, but now we’ll see if it energizes the Brazilian squad, who begin a pretty little break.
28′) The Ivorians went to ground way too easily on the goal; Drogba went to ground way too easily on the subsequent break–nothing doing there.
30′) Much better from Brazil since the goal–Dunga makes a very loud case against Tiene, who eventually gets a Yellow Card. Doesn’t look like a card to me.
33′) They’ve managed to slow down the game as well; Ivory Coast looks deflated.
34′) Eriksson is screaming and yelling on the sideline, not happy with his teams’ lack of effort.
35′) Nothing brewing for either side, as another Brazilian makes a mistake with his touch–this time it’s Maicon. Drogba has barely touched the ball so far.
36′) A bit better now from Ivory Coast, but the cross goes right to Julio César; another missed touch from the Brazilians loses possession, and the Ivorians look threatening.
37′) Yikes! Robinho frees Luis Fabiano in space, but he can’t find Kaká. Good play by the Brazilian 10 to regain possession with a nifty back heel.
39′) Lúcio keeps bursting forward–you’d think that he’s weakening the Brazilian defense, but the truth is it doesn’t look too bad, and his runs are threatening. Weird, but true.
41′) Eboué! Good shot glances off the Brazilian defender–should’ve been a corner, but the French ref gives a goal kick. On the goalkick, the Ivorians get a good break, but called offside.
42′) Luis Fabiano elbows Tiene in the face; a bit of an argument going on right now between some of the Brazilians and the ref. It’s not up to the players to play the ball out of bounds in the event of an injury–it’s the referee’s job (thanks commentators).
44′) This has been a “Dunga Half”–slow, boring, one goal for Brazil, and not much happening for the Ivorians. Kaká receives the ball in the area, but his pass is just chested back to Barry.
45′) One minute of stoppage.
45’+1) Halftime. Well, not too much so far. Kaká has been pretty active, actually, while Drogba has been mostly invisible; Lúcio’s runs up from the back look dangerous, but the truth is that this isn’t classic Brazilian soccer. Truth is, the scoreboard is all that really matters–and that looks pretty good for the South Americans.
46′) Annnnnnd we’re back. Brazilians moving the ball in the back.
47′) Tempo has been really lacking from the Ivorians–don’t they realize that they could be eliminated soon?
48′) Maicon is hurt, rolling around on the ground; he picks himself up slowly.
50′) GOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAALLLLLLLLLL!! GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL! GOOOOOOAALLLLLLLL! LUIS FABIANO! Fantastic individual effort from the coveted striker from Sevilla!
51′) Oh, yikes, total handball on the goal. Terrible missed call from the French referee.
52′) Hopefully the goal will shock the Ivorians into turning it on a bit now. Certainly not what they wanted–they need to come out and grab one back as quickly as possible.
53′) DROGBA!! NO! Beautiful header misses the far post by six inches. So close from the Ivorians; beautiful cross from Dindane–immediately substituted for Gervinho, probably too late.
55′) Much better tempo now from les elephants. Hard not to root for the Africans right now.
57′) They just replayed the goal–SHOCKING HANDBALL. Two of them. Terrible. And the ref and Luis Fabiano had a laugh after, where the ref pointed at his arm.
58′) Ahhhh. Gervinho just missed a threaded ball into the area.
60′) Elano takes a long shot–nothing doing.
61′) KAKAAAAAAAAA!! Beautiful move from Brazil’s 10; his rocket shot bounces right off Barry’s hands.
61′) GOOOOOOOAAAAALLLLLLLL!! GOOOOOAAAAALLLL GOOOOOOAAAALLLL GOOOOOOAALLLLL! KAKA GIVES AN INCREDIBLE PASS TO ELANO IN THE CENTER OF THE AREA! WHAT A PASSSSSSSS! PHENOMENAL FROM THE MADRID MAN–ELANO THREADS IT BEAUTIFULLY IN TO THE BOTTOM OF THE NET. No handball on that one, just fantastic, Brazilian play–welcome back, Samba.
63′) Corner for the Ivory Coast–game looks more or less over right now, unfortunately. Drogba’s shaking his head–they really need to get a couple of these back, because the goal average will make it hard for them to qualify.
65′) Elano is hurt–got stepped on pretty hard.
66′) He’s coming off on a stretcher. Bad news for the Brazilians going forward. Dani Alves comes on for Elano.
68′) Keita comes on for Kalou.
69′) MAICONNNNN! Cheeky little move threads the ball through the defenders legs; his shot is wide.
71′) Romaric is coming on for Ivory Coast; out comes Eboué. Erkisson knows that they really need to get a couple back to stay in this group. They don’t need to win or tie, they just need to NOT be blown out.
73′) Lots of whistles. Brazil’s trying to shut this game down; Robinho has really not been involved in this game, but Kaká has had a sort of rebirth. Fantastic game from the midfielder.
74′) Yellow Card for Keita on a brutal challenge on Michel. He came in with his cleats up–same thing that hurt Elano.
75′) UGLY. Yaya Touré throws Kaká on the ground. Blech.
77′) Corner to Brazil, as Kaká was begging for the ball on the left flank–Robinho and Luis Fabiano couldn’t see him.
78′) GOOOOOOOOAAAAAALLLLLLL!!! GOOOOOOOOAAAAALLLLLLLLLL GOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLL GOOOOOOAAAALLLLL!! DIDIER DROGBA!! PERFECT PASS FROM TOURE!! HE LOOKED OFFSIDE, BUT CLEARLY NOT ON REPLAY!!! FANTASTIC!! What a play from the Ivorians. 3-1.
81′) Great from Gervinho now on the left wing–very active, the young Ivorian. Two really bad crosses in a row there.
83′) The Ivorians cannot let the Brazilians score again. No matter how much they samba, the Ivorians really do need to pull one more back to have a shot at qualifying.
84′) They just cut to a shot of Zinedine Zidane and Luis Figo, who’re sitting together in a box; they seem to be leaving. Yellow Card to Kaká for shoving someone; Yellow Card to Tiote–Luis Fabiano took a huge dive to get that one.
86′) Goddamnit. This game is going to hell, as Robinho goes down hard begging for a Yellow on Keita. AND we have a brawl. Wonderful. What a disgusting display. What’s Keita doing? Oh, no, he’s gotten Kaká sent off by faking. Red Card to Kaká. Keita ran into Kaká, and Keita throws himself to the ground, grabbing his face. Goddamnit.
88′) Drogba hyping up the crowd on a corner for Ivory Coast. Comes to nothing.
90′) This game needs to end. 3′ of stoppage time.
90’+1) Martine Tyler calls Keita’s display “pathetic”; “they are role models,” he says “they need to recognize that the eyes of the world are on them.” Good point.
90’+2) Brazil on the back foot right now. Ivory Coast pushing hard for a second. GREAT SAVE BY JULIO CÉSAR!
90’+2) Ramires on for Robinho–Dunga wasting some time.
90’+3) This game really needs to end–it went from boring to pretty to ugly as hell. Free kick to Brazil.
90’+3) GAME OVER. Brazil qualifies; Kaká sent off with two yellow cards in five minutes after playing a fantastic match for his team. Drogba’s goal was the first ever scored by an African team against Brazil. Frustration for les elephants; the ugly end of the game will be talked about a lot. Dunga should’ve subbed Kaká.