Saturday, June 17, 2006

After the draw of Mexico against Angola, all contingencies in group D are still open. Only Portugal can, with a win, qualify for round two.
"A win for Iran will blow group D wide open," says the commentator.
It would, and some fairy tale it would be.
The referee blows its whistle, speculation time is over, this is for keeps.
"Figo came out of retirement to play in the world cup," says the commentator while Figo tries for a goal within the first twenty seconds. He dribbles the ball halfway into the penalty box, before a defender can keep the dream alive for Iran.
"It is all Portugal," shouts the commentator after a couple of minutes of play.
He sees it right. Another striker of Portugal dribbles the ball far into the box, to far, a defender of Iran gets his foot on it.
Iran fosters its game, their first strike on target is in the eleventh minute. A striker of Iran heads the ball on target, extending a high pass straight to the middle, the ball goes one foot over. Portugal realizes it cannot win without a goal, and they open fire. Deco cannonballs on target, but the keeper can stomp it over the crossbar. Ricardo tries to shoot the ball from a sharp angle, into a small space in between the keeper, the post, and the crossbar. He is one foot off.
Thirty minutes into play, a striker of Iran makes a quick 180 degrees turn, and Iran gets a one on one with the keeper. The ball strikes the left pole, while the referee blows his whistle for offside.
"It was a spiritual effort, Iran confidence starts to built," says the commentator.
However, towards the end of the first half, Portugal reopens fire on the Iranian goal. But Iran can keep their dream alive, and the score is nil-nil when the halftime whistle blows.

Portugal tries to start the second half as they did the first.
"It looked threatening," says the commentator.
Portugal needs to grow more in their push forward. In the 54th minute, Pauletta tries to flick the ball in with his heel, Brazilian style, or after yesterday, I should say Argentina style. The ball goes wide and over.
"Iran might pull of a stunner," says the commentator.
Seconds later, the stunner is stunned. Deco runs freely through the box, accepting the ball of a Figo
"Nobody picked him up," shouts the commentator, while Deco lines up and fires.


"Iran might as well gamble now, you lose this game, you out of the world cup," says the commentator, advising the men from Iran forward.
They listen. In the 68 minute, Iran gets their best chance of the game. Their substitute proves a good choice when he releases a shot on the Portuguese goal. However, the striker cannot aim the ball through the narrow space in between the keeper and the far post, the ball goes wide.
Iran creates better chances, but the game turned when Figo is tackled, ten meters from goal.
Penalty, and Ronaldo is taking it. He stares down the keeper before he beats him with a well-aimed shot to the right.


Both teams develop potential lethal attacks, even an offside goal for Portugal in the last seconds. Nevertheless, the deal is closed. When the ref blows his whistle, we know Portugal gathers with the last sixteen, Iran goes on the casualty list.