Portugal scores 7 in rout of North Korea at World Cup; Spain and Chile win in Group H

By Chris Lehourites, AP
Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Portugal scores 7 on NKorea at WCup, Spain wins

JOHANNESBURG — Forget the Iberian scoring slump. Spain put up two goals at the World Cup — and Portugal went five better.

After being shut out and heavily doubted in their openers, the Portuguese and Spaniards were dominant Monday. Portugal routed North Korea 7-0, knocking the Asian team out of the tournament, and Spain got back on track with a 2-0 win over Honduras.

The 2006 World Cup semifinalist Portuguese finally got a goal from Cristiano Ronaldo in the romp in Cape Town. It was the Real Madrid winger’s first goal for his country in two years of competitive games.

“It was important for him to score,” coach Carlos Queiroz said.

Portugal was held to a 0-0 draw by Ivory Coast in its opening Group G match, but the goals poured forth on Monday.

Raul Meireles gave the Portuguese a 1-0 halftime lead, and Tiago added two in the second half to complement Ronaldo’s score and those from Simao Sabrosa, Hugo Almeida and Liedson.

“It was a great day for Portugal and Portuguese football,” Queiroz said. “The players are really happy with the way they played, the attitude for the game, the beautiful football, the beautiful goals.”

Portugal still has to play Brazil to get into the round of 16. The five-time champions have already qualified.

The 7-0 score was the most one-sided World Cup match since Germany beat Saudi Arabia 8-0 at the 2002 tournament in South Korea and Japan.

Spain got its win of the tournament at Ellis Park, but it was Chile that moved into first place in Group H with six points by beating 10-man Switzerland 1-0.

David Villa took care of the offense against the Hondurans, scoring in the 17th and 51st minutes.

Villa, who has five career World Cup goals for his country, had a chance for a hat trick in the 62nd minute, but his penalty kick went wide of the right post with the goalkeeper diving in the opposite direction.

Spain will face Chile in its final group match, and will likely need to win convincingly in order to avoid facing Brazil in the round of 16.

“If we beat Chile we’re practically group winners, so we’re happy,” Villa said. “The good thing is that this result means we depend on ourselves.”

The 2008 European champion will have its hands full with the Chileans, one of five South American teams that have dominated the early going. South America has eight wins and two draws thus far.

In Port Elizabeth, substitute Mark Gonzalez scored the only goal in the 75th, heading in a pass from Esteban Paredes to break Switzerland’s record streak of stinginess. Switzerland set a World Cup mark in the 69th minute by going 551 minutes without allowing a goal, breaking the record of 550 held by Italy at the 1986 and 1990 tournaments. The last goal the Swiss allowed came on July 2, 1994 when they were eliminated 3-0 by Spain in the second round. Aitor Begiristain scored on a penalty kick in the 87th minute.

“We had some good luck near the end when we got the goal,” Gonzalez said. “We just kept trying our best, trying hard, and we got the goal. This was a great moment for me and for our team.”

Switzerland played most of the match with 10 men because midfielder Valon Behrami was red-carded for a violent foul.

“For me, it was just an unbelievable decision,” Behrami said. “There was small contact with my hands on his neck, and he went down like (he was hit with) an elbow. Everyone can make a mistake, but this mistake was very, very big for me because it’s a dream to play in a World Cup.”

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