Sunday, June 11, 2006

Another '750 to one' underdog takes on a European team. The on home soil born coach Luis De Oliveira Goncalves takes his team for the first time in history to the world cup finals. The world cup dream has reached Luanda, the capital of Angola. Although the chances are slim, with Iran in the group the Angolans might even win a game. Today they face Portugal, a team not likely to give anything away. The third place winners of 1966 have only three World Cup finals participations, despite a respectable record of results against all the soccer giants. The Brazilian born Coach Luiz Felipe will seek for Portugal to get the respect they deserve. Considering the group, reaching round two goes without saying, in Portugal. It is not a far leap for the people in Lisbon to dream of the carved inscription on the gold cup saying, 'Portugal, 2006 world champions'.
The Portuguese start extremely fast. Within ten seconds of play, the ball passes parallel to the goal line, only one foot away. No player to tap it in, it would have been the fastest world-cup goal ever. Soon its looks like it is going to be a free run for Portugal, the Angolans will have to get serious.
Four minutes later a one -two plays out the Angolan keeper and the Portuguese striker Pauleta brushes the ball into an open goal.


The Angolans now must regain themselves, and get serious. From a corner in the seventh minute, they create the first danger. But the keeper of Portugal plucks the ball out of the air.
"They are beginning to show signs of life," says the commentator.
For a little while Angola seems to succeed to move the game further from their goal, but Portugal stays in control.
An Angolan striker tries to turn the tie, with an overhead kick he aims for the goal. His kick is spectacular, his aim is way off.
"This game has lost its way a little bit," says the commentator as the action cools. In the last minutes of the first half, both nations attack and manage to get dangerous shots on goal. The coaches of both teams, most certainly, will make severe speeches.
When the game starts again the second half, both sides start cautious. Portugal is not really getting control of the game, but Angola fails to capitalize on it.
"Portugal seems to have lost their bang," says the commentator.
Fifteen minutes into the second half, and the Portuguese open fire, but no results.
"Still not much going on in terms of cohesive attacks," says the commentator.
The attacks of Angola get more bite, but the Portuguese are too mighty.
"Can't find any penetration," says the commentator. He means Portugal, but it is just as much true for Angola.
"Time is of the essence now," he says advising the Angolans in the 88th minute.
The Angolans prove themselves worthy to be on the World Cup stage, but they could not stop the established Portuguese. Considering the way they played, and considering the group, the Angolan dream is far from over. The Portuguese, however, start dreaming today.