It was supposed to be a close match, after all North Korea had defended so well in their first game against Brazil and Portugal had been having trouble finding the back of the net and were missing inspirational midfielder Deco who was out with a hip injury.
Things certainly did not turn out that way.
It was a rainy start to the game in South Africa,the first half was closely contested with both teams trading chances early, the best of which was by Portugal defender Ricardo Carvalho who headed the ball off of a corner kick and hit the post.
The breakthrough came in the 29th minute as Portuguese midfielder Tiago passed a perfect through-ball to Raul Meireles in the penalty area and he made no mistake slotting it past the North Korean keeper.
Cristiano Ronaldo found himself with some open space and looked to add to Portugal’s lead but shot the ball wide right before the half.
The North Korea defence was very resilient in the first half against the waves of Portuguese attacks but the second half would prove a different story.
Sublime passing by the Portuguese in the 53rd minute allowed winger Simao Sabrosa to break into the penalty area and shoot the ball between North Korea keeper Myong-Guk Ri’s legs to put the Portuguese up by two.
The floodgates would then begin to open.
Now having to search for goals, North Korea opened up their defensive approach and Portugal took full advantage.
A beautifully crossed ball found the head of Portuguese striker Hugo Almeida who made no mistake and put Portugal up 3-0 after 56 minutes.
If the game wasn’t out of reach yet, a Ronaldo pass into the box in the 60th minute was met with a well positioned shot by midfielder Tiago to make it 4-0.
Nothing could go wrong for Portugal, substitute Liedson’s first touch on the ball was a goal as a defensive miscue by the North Korean left the naturalized Portuguese player wide open in front of net and he simply hammered in the fifth Portuguese goal.
In perhaps the most important and humorous event of the match, Ronaldo was able to break in on the North Korean keeper who came sliding out to meet him, the ball would then ricochet onto Ronaldo’s back and then onto his boot where he shot the ball into the open net. It was 6-0 for Portugal but more importantly Ronaldo’s first goal for Portugal since Euro 2008.
A well headed ball by Tiago in the 89th minute added to the North Korean misery as North Korean fans were able to watch their team from home for the first time at this World Cup. It will be a game North Korea fans choose to forget.
With the decisive win, Portugal moved three points up on the Ivory Coast and holds a substantial nine goal difference over the Ivory Coast and will take on Brazil in their final group stage game on Friday June 25th.
North Korea who was officially eliminated from the tournament will take on the Ivory Coast at the same time.
The seven goals scored by Portugal was the most in team history at a World Cup.