Marinovic fronts up

It's not often that a team concedes four goals and everyone is raving about the goal keeper, but that will be the case today. Stefan Marinovic was simply outstanding for the All Whites in their 4-0 loss to Portugal, with a number of fine saves that would grace any tournament. His late stop from Nani - when the Valencia forward looked certain to score - was outstanding. At times he was under constant pressure but never looked like flagging, and seemed to relish the challenge. After a nervy opening 15 minutes against Russia just over a week ago, Marinovic has grown into the tournament and cemented his position as the All White's top keeper.

Ronaldo lives up to the hype

Cristiano Ronaldo's appearance against the All Whites was highly anticipated and he didn't disappoint. His movement and anticipation was a joy to behold, even if he only operated in the final third of the field. But the 31-year-old's workrate is higher than comes across on television and he produced some some lovely touches, often thinking one step ahead of both his opposition and his teammates.


Ronaldo's close control is devastating, making even a simple chest down appear as a work of art. But what catches the eye the most is his work in the penalty area. As teams from all over the world have discovered, his late runs - combined with an extreme vertical leap - are almost impossible to contain and New Zealand did well to limit him to one goal.

Progress made, but more needed

The development of the All Whites throughout this tournament has been pleasing to see. As often happens with New Zealand teams on the world stage, the team struggled with the pace and intensity at the start of the Russia clash, before settling into their work in the second half of that game. Mexico was a big step up - and they deserved a result - while the Portugal clash on Sunday morning (NZT) was a patchier display.

But the intercontinental playoffs in November, presuming New Zealand is there, will be a much bigger challenge, especially the away leg. The team need to develop a harder edge at the back, though the return of Winston Reid will help, as at the moment this side isn't as defensively resilient as their 2009-10 counterparts.

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