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Three quick thoughts on Ivory Coast-North Korea (World Cup Group G)

Three quick thoughts after the Ivory Coast's 3-0 victory over North Korea in Group G:

1. Mercifully, the Ivory Coast didn't score enough to advance. Staring at a nine-goal differential coming in, the Ivorians were going to have to humiliate North Korea to jump over Portugal for second place. After getting two quick goals, the African side's offense stalled a little, allowing North Korea to settle its defense and even get forward a bit. While it would have been nice to see a talented and deserving Ivory Coast team get through to the second round, if would have meant a historic rout and no country should be on the losing end of something like that.

2. Does the World Cup need a mercy rule? This is sure to lead to many emails with the subject line "You're an idiot," but what if FIFA capped the number of goals a team could take from a game at, say, +5. It would have made Portugal's 7-0 victory over North Korea, when the European team piled on long after the game was over, count only as 5-0. That would have given the Ivory Coast more hope in its final game, but more importantly it would discourage teams from running up the score after they've reached the goal cap.

3. Start the bidding on North Korea's Tae-Se Jong. While the striker did not play as impressively as he did against Brazil, he once again showed enough that some European team will surely make a run at him. His club team in Japan, Kawasaki Frontale, stands to cash in, and the only question now is his worth. His value is going to be inflated because of his importance to the J League, much like Landon Donovan's price tag is higher than it should be because he is so vital to MLS. One guess on Jong's price: about $10 million.

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