CAPE TOWN, South Africa -- Portugal revived its World Cup campaign with a dominating 7-0 win over North Korea in Group G on Monday, eliminating the Asian team from the competition.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored the sixth goal of the game, his first in a competitive match for the national team since the 2008 European Championship.
"This is a great result for us," Portugal coach Carlos Queiroz said. "We have to continue now."
The win moves Portugal into second place in Group G with four points, two behind Brazil. The Ivory Coast has one point, and North Korea is out of the tournament after two straight losses.
It was the most one-sided World Cup match since Germany routed Saudi Arabia 8-0 in 2002.
North Korea had early chances, but were undone when Meireles latched on to a clever pass by Tiago and gave Portugal its first score of the tournament. The goal seemed to deflate the Koreans, while the Portuguese finally began to show some of the Latin flair that has made them an outside favorite to win their first championship.
"Tactically speaking, we fell apart and we couldn't block their attacks," North Korea coach Kim Jong Hun said. "It was my fault for not playing the right strategy and that is why we conceded a lot of goals."
The last time the two teams met, Portugal rallied from a three-goal deficit to win 5-3 in the 1966 World Cup quarterfinals.
Meireles assisted on Simao's goal in the 53rd minute, which went through the legs of North Korea goalkeeper Ri Myong Guk. Almeida scored three minutes later from a powerful header, and Tiago knocked home a pass from Ronaldo in the 60th.
Liedson scored from a defensive error, before Ronaldo ended a 16-month goal drought for his country with a simple finish after the ball fell to him.
"It was important to score goals today," Tiago said.
Played in a steady downpour, the wet field at Green Point Stadium caused numerous players to lose their footing and there was a series of errant passes.
North Korea named the same lineup as the one that impressed in a 2-1 loss to Brazil, but Queiroz made four changes from the team that was held to 0-0 draw by Ivory Coast.
Tiago replaced the injured Deco in midfield, with Almeida and Simao joining Ronaldo up front. Miguel Brito was chosen ahead of Paulo Ferreira at right back.
Portugal started positively, with Ronaldo sending a left-footed shot at Ri in the third minute, but the world's most expensive player was largely quiet until the second half.
After Ricardo Carvalho headed from a corner off the post in the seventh minute, the Koreans enjoyed their best spell. Cha Jong Hyok and An Yong Hak missed with long-range efforts, while striker Jong Tae Se should have done better with Mun In Guk's chip.
The win gives Portugal a massive goal advantage if it ends up even with Ivory Coast on points after the last match Friday. Portugal plays Brazil, which has already qualified for the second round, while Ivory Coast plays North Korea.