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Brazil ties Portugal, a small blemish on its group stage dominance

Brazil supporters kiss a mock trophy as they

Brazil supporters kiss a mock trophy as they cheer prior to the start of the match against Portugal. (June 25, 2010) Credit: Getty Images

To say Brazil owns the group stage is like saying Bill Gates owns a computer.

The Brazilians tied Portugal, 0-0, today to take the top spot in Group G and clinch another berth in the Round of 16, where they'll face the runner-up in Group H. Shocking, I know. 

In 1966, the Brazilians entered the tournament as winners of the previous two World Cups, but lost twice -- to Hungary and Portugal -- in the opening round and exited the tournament. Since, Brazil hasn't suffered two losses in the group stage ... ever.

From 1970 through 2010, Brazil has gone 26-1-6 in the opening round.

PHOTOS: 2010 World Cup highlights

It's lone loss came in 1998 to Norway in its final game. Although it started nine of the 11 players it had started in its previous game, Brazil entered the game knowing it had already locked up the top spot in Group A. Portugal became the sixth team to draw with Brazil in the opening round, joining Yugoslavia (1970), Scotland (1970), Spain (1978) and Sweden (1978 & 1994).

Even more, Brazil won the first two games on its schedule for the eighth consecutive tournament.

The Group of Death unfolded as expected, with world No. 1 Brazil taking the top spot and Portugal and Ivory Coast's fate determined by how much each team could beat up on North Korea. Not only did Portugal help its cause by tying Brazil and securing five points, but it destroyed the North Korean's, 7-0, to virtually ensure its advancement before the day began.

The Ivory Coast defeated North Korea today, 3-0, on goals by Yaya Toure, Romaric and Salomon Kalou to finish in third place with four points.

The Round of 16 opponents for Brazil and Portugal will be decided later today when Group H takes the field. Spain takes on Chile and Switzerland will face Honduras. All four teams are still alive.

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