Newton's universal law of gravity tells us that all motion is comprehensible and predictable, that it guides planets and asteroids and keeps billions of stars in orbit within the Milky Way. But the Brazilian national team, along with its magical style of play, apparently thinks Newton's universal law of gravitation can suck it. This was never more evident than during the tenth minute of the second half of yesterdays 2-1 victory over North Korea, when Brazilian fullback Maicon, whose momentum was taking him out of bounds, fired a side angle shot that went between the North Korean keeper and the near post, and twisted midair into the far corner of the net. It was football alchemy. An extraordinary goal. The joga bonito.
Give the North Koreans credit. Entering the World Cup as the lowest
seed, they proved to be a scrappy bunch. And they seemed to take
advantage of the near-frigid temperatures that hit Johannesburg's Ellis
Park Stadium, keeping the Brazilians -- some who were wearing gloves -- on
their heals for the entire first half. North Korean star
striker Jong Tae Se was in full attack mode throughout, and the team even scored a goal late in the game when Ji Yun Nam
got past the Brazilian defense and put the ball in their net.
It took an entire half of play for Brazil to find their game, but when
it arrived, it was brilliant. Robinho was dazzling throughout, getting
off pinpoint accurate passes and creating opportunities for the
five-time champions to strike. In the 72nd minute of play, he was able
to place the ball through the North Korean defense and right on Elano's
foot, who proceeded to put it in the corner of the net and give the
Brazilians their second goal of the match.
With Ivory Coast and Portugal up next, things don't get any easier for
Brazil. But being in the World Cup's so-called Group of Death should
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help them play to their fullest potential. And that means a lot more
magic soccer in store for the rest of us.
Brazil has its showdown with Ivory Coast this Sunday at 2 p.m.