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New ball has fan at last as Portugal blitz North Korea

PORTUGAL(7) vs NORTH KOREA(0)

PORTUGAL boss Carlos Queiroz has become the first manager to laud the much-maligned new ball – after seeing it nestled in his opponents’ net seven times.

Queiroz’s men racked up the biggest win at World Cup finals since Germany hammered Saudi Arabia 8-0 in 2002 to take a huge step towards the last 16.

Raul Meireles earned Portugal a modest half-time lead but they ran riot after the break, former Chelsea midfielder Tiago leading the charge with a brace.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Liedson, Simao and Hugo Almeida also put the controversial Adidas Jabulani past goalkeeper Myong-Guk Ri as North Korea failed to repeat their plucky opening match performance against Brazil.

“We love the ball,” said Queiroz. “We need to be engaged to produce great entertainment and forget this discussion about the ball, the vuvuzelas, whatever. It was a great display, good goals, great attitude. We needed a moment like this, a well-played game so that the motivation and confidence can be even bigger now.”

North Korean state television aired the full match live – a first for the national team playing abroad. But it would not have made happy viewing for Pyongyang as their men were dumped out of the tournament.

The boost to their goal difference means Portugal are almost certain to go through even if
they lose to Brazil on Friday and Ivory Coast beat North Korea.

“It’s a big result, but it’s another game and we still haven’t won anything yet,”Queiroz
added. “Now we have to think of qualifying for the next round, one game at a time, try to win the next one with the same ambition with which we approached this game.”

Tiago set up Meireles to slot the first before the onslaught really began in the second half.

Simao finished a neat move before Almeida headed home and Tiago made it four on the hour. Liedson volleyed a powerful fifth and Real Madrid star Ronaldo got his name on the scoresheet before Tiago completed the rout.