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Brazil 3 Ivory Coast 1 – Bad tackles and play-acting rather than Samba football

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In a sentence

Brazil cruise to victory while tempers flare.

Lethal even when half-hearted

Brazil’s first half performance was tepid: the tempo was slow and the penetration was limited. But they still scored. It’s time to roll out that old cliche about how the best teams are those that still win even when the play poorly. Brazil have so far reached no more than 65/70% and yet they have qualified with ease.

The Elephants can attack

If they do fail to make the second round, the Ivory Coast will be missed. This tournament needs an African success story and the Ivorians have more attacking verve than any other African side. During the few precious phases in the game where they went after the Brazilians, they looked a good side. Drogba aside, Gervinho, Eboue and Dindane were all lively.

The moments – Fabiano’s handballs and Drogba’s miss

Three minutes in which the game was decided. Fabiano gives the ref two opportunities to call him up for handball. Then Drogba misses a great chance.

The controversy – Kaka’s sending-off

Clearly ridiculous. The Brazilians, however, cannot complain too much: they are masters of the art of over-reacting to non-fouls.

What next?

Brazil will see off Portugal so this group may well come down to who scores more against North Korea. Or perhaps the Koreans, hardly hopeless against Brazil, will turn out to be the joker in the pack.

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