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Portugal 3, Senegal 0
Waikato Stadium, Hamilton, May 31 2015

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I suppose you probably want me to actually tell you something about one or two of these, watchamacallem – football games. You are no doubt sick and tired of me crapping on about myself and the atmosphere and how wonderful it is to be here and ‘look at me ma’ type nonsense! And fair enough too.

To be honest though, it’s not that easy. My greatest excuse is that I’m concentrating really hard on taking good photographs and when you spend all your time staring through a viewfinder, the finer details of the game tend to escape you.

It shouldn’t matter too much. It’s not like this is NRFL football where I’m pretty much the only person on the face of the planet writing about it. This is a World Cup and you can get your meticulous detail from other sources. But having said all that, this is the second match of a double header, I already crapped on about the atmosphere in the other post, all the Colombians were gone and the light was crap by the time this kicked off so the ‘look I got great photos’ excuse probably won’t wash. I thought, therefore, it might be a bit of an idea to make something of an effort in this instance. So herewith I present to you my half-baked collection of things I noticed about this match:

Senegal were good.

Their striker, Sidy Sarr, stood out like the proverbial for both his play and his looks. To me he was like a young Emmanuel Adebayor. His player profile places him five centimetres shorter than the Togolese striker, and he wasn’t the tallest player in this team either (he was the second tallest), but he certainly gave a formidable impression. As a slight aside, he was the scorer of the last minute goal against Congo DR that qualified his country for this tournament, after which he said “I don’t know anything about New Zealand. All I know is that it’s far away”. Yep. My kind of player!


I was also quite taken with the Senegalese keeper, Ibrahima Sy, who had that goalkeeper’s way about him that I always enjoy so much. First he had to be ordered into the team photo by the coach after a bit of thoroughbred prancing about, and then he was just full of personality all game.

The African side enjoyed the occasional period of dominance in the match and, while they were well beaten on the scoreboard, they certainly showed that they can play.

Portugal were better.

Their goalkeeper, Andre Moreira, currently on  loan to Portugese club Moreirense (seems apt) from Atletico Madrid, was a player I had circled as one to watch, and he saved their bacon on a couple of occasions, but by and large he didn’t have a lot to do. Instead it was number 18 Gelson Martins (always fear players with numbers higher than 11) who made the most immediate impression, finding the back of the net after just 26 seconds – the fourth fastest goal in tournament history!

Andre Silva was another player I had my eye on given his reputation for ruthless efficiency in front of goal. But neither he, nor his highly fancied team mates, particularly lived up to their billing. Instead, after countless wasted opportunities, it took until the 90th minute for Silva to put matters beyond doubt albeit with a sumptuous header.

Their third, scored by Nuno Santos, was really just one of those ones that comes as a result of trailing teams pushing high, trying to get something, and only succeeding in exposing themselves at the back.

So there you have it. Detail. See? I’m capable. I may or may not have got some of it from the highlights video, but that’s not the point. You ask – I deliver. You’re welcome.

Stand up for workers in Qatar.

Categories: FIFA New Zealand 2015

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Enzo Giordani

A grassroots sports photography enthusiast based in Auckland, New Zealand, and a fan of the most magnificent football club on earth - A.S. Roma.

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