Ivory Coast and Portugal contested a goalless draw in a cagey opening game to the World Cup's so-called group of death at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
With Brazil also in Group G, it was obvious that both sides were desperate to avoid defeat and there was an extent to which both teams cancelled each other out.
It was the first competitive fixture of Sven-Goran Eriksson's short spell in charge of the Elephants and he can be pleased with the unity and discipline his side showed, particularly with talismanic striker Didier Drogba missing from the starting line-up.
The Chelsea striker, who broke his arm on 4 June, came on after the break to huge cheers from the far-from-capacity Port Elizabeth crowd, but he had limited chance to make an impact on the game.
Ivory Coast were courageous in defence - Didier Zokora, for example, receiving a kick in his arm after bravely heading a cross that Liedson tried to volley - and showed an organisation and discipline in their play that suggested talk of fractures in their squad are wide of the mark.
Portugal, third in the Fifa rankings but who only made it to South Africa after a play-off victory over Bosnia-Hercegovina, should perhaps have tried to capitalise on Drogba's absence.
They did come closest to scoring when Cristiano Ronaldo struck a post, but there was little to suggest an upsurge from their patchy form during qualifying.
It was a match that desperately needed an early goal to force one team to abandon the tactical caginess that has been a feature of the opening round of fixtures.
It almost arrived when Ronaldo's 25-yard strike after 10 minutes swerved and dipped, easily defeating Boubacar Barry but finding the woodwork an altogether more difficult opponent.
It would have been a stunning end to a precise and swift build-up from the Portuguese - but it proved to be the high watermark in the match.
There were glimpses of real attacking intent from both sides, but all too often defensive and midfield players remained pinned back.
It left little room for the opposition to exploit with swift counter-attacking moves, while Ronaldo soon started to become frustrated with the close attention he received.
The Portuguese captain and Guy Demel were both booked after a brief confrontation, with Ronaldo perhaps a little unfortunate after referee Jorge Larrionda failed to spot a clear foul by the Ivorian moments earlier.
Portugal, who only managed 17 goals in their 10 qualifying games, failed to test Barry again after Ronaldo's early shot until the Elephants keeper stopped a weak header from the largely anonymous Liedson after 57 minutes.
Raul Meireles, industrious in midfield, had a shot deflected wide, while Ronaldo, who has not found the net for Portugal since February 2009, missed the target with a free-kick.
Ivory Coast, who conceded twice in every game during their debut appearance at a World Cup in 2006, had only mustered errant long-range strikes from Siaka Tiene and Ismael Tiote during the opening 45 minutes.
However, they made a more incisive opening to the second half and the impressive Gervinho drilled a strike across the face of goal, while Salomon Kalou was inches away from connecting with a cross from the right and finally forced Eduardo into action with a low shot from the edge of the box.
And it was the Ivorians who finished the game on top, without actually managing to break the deadlock.
Drogba stretched to reach a through ball but his attempted shot ended up being more of a cross even though he was little more than eight yards out.
Attempts on target
Attempts off target
Projected table based on current scores
|Group A teams||P||W||D||L||F||A||GD||PTS|
|Group B teams||P||W||D||L||F||A||GD||PTS|
|Group C teams||P||W||D||L||F||A||GD||PTS|
|Group D teams||P||W||D||L||F||A||GD||PTS|
|Group E teams||P||W||D||L||F||A||GD||PTS|
|Group F teams||P||W||D||L||F||A||GD||PTS|
|Group G teams||P||W||D||L||F||A||GD||PTS|