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Stubborn N. Korea falls to Brazil, 2-1

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - Maicon and Elano scored a goal apiece in the second half, and Brazil broke through a solid North Korea defense to win, 2-1, on a frigid Tuesday night.

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - Maicon and Elano scored a goal apiece in the second half, and Brazil broke through a solid North Korea defense to win, 2-1, on a frigid Tuesday night.

Brazil escaped with a victory in the Group G match after struggling to get past the defensive setup of the North Koreans, who are making their first World Cup appearance in 44 years and arrived as the tournament's lowest-ranked team.

"It wasn't our best match, but at least we got the win, that's what matters now," Brazil's Robinho said.

Maicon put Brazil ahead in the 55th minute after a through ball from midfielder Elano, making a run on the right side and firing into the far corner from a tight angle as North Korea goalkeeper Ri Myong Guk went for the cross.

Elano then added to the lead in the 72d after a well-timed pass from Robinho, finding the net with a one-timer from inside the penalty area. Ji Yun Nam scored for North Korea off a headed pass from Jong Tae-Se in the 89th minute.

New Zealand 1, Slovakia 1

RUSTENBURG, South Africa - Winston Reid scored in second-half injury time to lift New Zealand to a draw with Slovakia.

Reid didn't think twice about stripping off his shirt in celebration of his big goal. The yellow card he knew he would receive wasn't even a consideration.

"It probably was the most important goal of my life," Reid said.

Robert Vittek scored early in the second half, giving Slovakia the lead until Reid sneaked behind the defense to take a long cross from Shane Smeltz and tie it.

The Kiwis are ranked 78th in the world, 44 spots above Slovakia, which is in its first World Cup as an independent nation.

Slovakia's goal came in the 50th minute when Stanislav Sestak crossed from the right side. Reid missed his defensive header, allowing Vittek to score from close range.

Vittek nearly doubled the lead in the 69th minute on a counterattack, but goalkeeper Mark Paston was quick off his line and made the save.

"We were the better team over the game," Slovakia coach Vladimir Weiss said. "It's a pity we didn't take [advantage of] our chances."

Portugal 0, Ivory Coast 0

PORT ELIZABETH, South Africa - Ivory Coast tied Portugal, largely outplaying its higher-ranked opponent, despite having patched-up striker Didier Drogba come on as a late substitute.

Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo rattled a 30-yard strike off the left post in the 11th minute, but Ivory Coast created the better chances.

Drogba came on as a 66th-minute substitute for Salomon Kalou after FIFA cleared him to play with a special protective cast on his right arm, which he broke in a warmup match against Japan on June 4.

He was only ruled eligible shortly before kickoff at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, and his entrance was greeted by huge cheers, with vuvuzelas drowning out the drums of Ivorian fans for the first time in the match.

Portugal coach Carlos Queiroz blamed his team's failure to create clearer chances on a defensive opponent. "The game was a just result given the chances Portugal had in the first half and Ivory Coast had in terms of the counter-attack," he said.

Queiroz also suggested FIFA may have bent its eligibility rules for Drogba because of the "cultural significance" of a player hugely popular in Africa taking the field.

"The FIFA delegates decided that the referee's decision is final," Queiroz said. "This was a bit odd, as far as we were concerned, because there are rules and regulations that say, for example, that players cannot play with a string bracelet or a plaster."

Guy-Roland Demel brought down Ronaldo with a sliding foul in the 21st minute. Referee Jorge Larrionda gave them both yellow cards for exchanging words with each other.

Ronaldo also tapped in from close range in the 72d minute, but the referee had already blown his whistle for offside.