Not the best game of the tournament by a long way can’t help but wish that Harry Kewell’s goal had come in the 90 minutes, it won’t matter to the Aussies though, a place in the semi-finals for them and the reigning Champions go home.

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One of the most one sided games of the competition so far. The post match stats say it all. Australia had 65% of possession and India had only seven shots at goal, two of them on target. No corner kicks for India, shows they had no attacking intent what so ever.

You would think if they weren’t willing to attack and have a go at the Australians maybe they will defend with their lives and keep the game tight….eh no. Throughout the match India’s defending was very poor, no pressure on the ball, poor marking just an awful performance.

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After yesterday’s preview it’s time to look at the player that hopefully will be dazzling us with their ability over the next four weeks. So here are ten players to watch out for, some of them I highly recommend, some of them I will be watching out for myself. Usually a bad sign when you get recommended on this site.

Ki Sung-Yueng – Korea Republic

When you mention the Korea Republic people automatically mention Park Ji-Sung of Manchester United and Park Chu-Young of Monaco however one of the most impressive players in Korea’s team is Celtic’s Ki Sung-Yueng. Only 21 years old and he has 21 caps for his country and four World Cup appearances.

After a tough first year at Celtic Park Ki returned from South Africa and was full of confidence, after a slow start he has made his way into the team and before leaving for Qatar he has become a first team regular. He has impressed the Parkhead faithful with his quality of passing, and calmness on the ball. He was named Young Player of the Month for October and it says a lot when Celtic fans now think they will miss him of the month of January.

Very impressive at the World Cup he was the lynchpin of most of Korea’s excellent passing football, also deadly from set-pieces he set up the first goal as Korea went on to brush aside Greece in their opening game. Growing in stature with every passing moment big things are expected from Ki.

Thomas Oar – Australia

A replacement in the Australia squad for Richard Garcia due to injury Thomas is a relevant unknown but has done enough in his young career to make a few people sit up and take notice.

Signing for FC Utrecht in March he has only made a handful of appearances, most memorably he came on with 20 minutes to go at Anfield in the Europa League tie against Liverpool, making a sudden impact he had commentators purring over his cameo.

It was the same when he started his career in Australia, after signing for the Brisbane Roar back in 2008 it only took him two games to open his account, playing against the Wellington Phoenix his 91st minute free-kick was the match winner.

Playing on the left wing, the references to “the next Harry Kewell” are made often. Thomas does possess a fantastic left foot but he can also use his right to devastating effect. It is no wonder Utrecht were quick to snap him up. One for the future for sure.

Ahmad Ayad – Iraq

Anyone known as the Iraqi Messi has to be worth a watch. A 19 year old winger from Baghdad currently playing his football for Persija Jakarta in Indonesia, with a very impressive record from his days in Iraq he is certainly one to watch. 35 goals in 84 games for Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya.

Not much else is known about Ahmad this tournament could be the ideal place for him to add to his 15 caps and make a statement to the watching world. He certainly is one to watch; at 17 he was named the Iraq Super League MVP by a fan vote.

Yuto Nagatomo – Japan

Nagamoto stood out during Japan’s run in the World Cup his constant runs down the left from his full back position were very impressive, naturally right footed he has the ability to cut inside and unleash some very dangerous shots.

Got his big move to Serie A after the tournament and has been playing for minnows A.C Cesena on loan from FC Tokyo. It has been a quick progression for the 24 year old. A member of the 2008 Olympic team he was then named in the J-League’s rookies of the year. Arsene Wenger then named him in his best XI of the World Cup.

His defensive abilities are not as good as his attacking side. Much more comfortable when going forward, this tournament will surely give him the chance to express that side even more.

Talal Al-Bloushi – Qatar

This one is a little bit of a long shot. After the World Cup was awarded to Qatar the world wanted to know more about this unknown quantity. One of the most common things people found was this video.

Ladies and Gentleman we present Talal Al-Bloushi of Qatari club Al-Sadd, with tens of thousands of people watching the video and laughing at this unknown player, surely he could now go on to have a fantastic tournament.

At only 24 he already has 64 caps for his country and four goals from midfield. He must have some ability to play so many times for someone so young, now is the time for Talal to come up with some new reasons for people to watch his videos on YouTube.

Hao Junmin – China

Probably best known so far in Europe for handing over the #7 jersey when Schalke signed Raul from Real Madrid. It could have been an awkward situation but Hao grew up a huge Raul fan so there was no issue.

His chances at Schalke have been limited so far this season, only three appearances to date. He will relish the chance to get on the field and show the World what he has to offer. Chinese Young player of the year in 2005 and 2007 Hao has obvious ability. Able to finish with both feet, good on the ball, obvious pace, he can also be a danger from set-pieces.

At the young age of 23 there is plenty of time to add to his 28 caps, and he will be eager to add to his national teams goal tally, only one of his six goals have come in a competitive match.

Sunil Chhetri – India

Sunil is a strange but very interesting player, after playing in numerous teams around India he had an unsuccessful trial at Coventry City this was sparked by a hat-trick for India in the 2008 AFC Challenge Cup.

With 40 caps and 19 goals for his country he is an experienced international player although he has still to do anything of note outside of India. He signed for the Kansas City Wizards in March of 2010, yet to play in the MLS his first appearance came against the Colorado Rapids in a cup match, he was removed at half-time and picked up a yellow card.

His next appearance came against Manchester United in a friendly, he came on with 20 minutes to go as Kansas went on to win although down to 10 men. Manager Peter Vermes was quoted as saying he was impressed with Sunil’s craft, technique and his attacking tendencies.

Now aged 26 this could be his big chance to impress his club and whoever else might be watching, with no pressure on India to perform it could be the ideal situation for Sunil to turn some heads.

Ehsan Hajsafi – Iran

The most promising player in Asian football, well that’s what the reports say, Ioan Andone the Romanian manager of his club side Sepahan has said that Ehsan could make it in any European league. This 20 year old left back has the world at his feet.

Able to play at left back or further up in the midfield, with a wonderful left foot he had 13 assists last season but can also pop up with a few goals, five in all competitions last year. But unlike Gareth Bale he can move the ball to his right foot and finish just as well.

He has recently been playing in the U-23 Asian Games, Iran knocked out by Japan in he Semi-Finals. Ehsan played in all seven of Iran’s games. Now is his time to impress with the full team, very few doubt his ability.

Louay Chanko – Syria

One of Syria’s most successful footballers Louay was born in Södertälje, Sweden and has spent his career moving round various Swedish teams. His most successful moments came when he lifted the Swedish title and cup double with Djurgarden in 2002, and he lifted the title again in 2004 with Malmo.

In 2009 he moved away from Sweden and signed for AaB Aalborg in Denmark, the move seems to be a success as he has scored three goals in 47 games, not bad for a midfielder.

Born in Sweden he played for the team of his birth in 2008 in a friendly against Costa Rica, then in the same year he decided to change allegiances and made his debut for Syria in a World Cup qualifier against Kuwait and has now appeared six more times.

Deadly from set-pieces with his right foot, although he is 31 he is only one of two Syrian players to play their football in Europe and with over 250 games under his belt his experience will be vital to the Syrian team.

One other thing to note is that Aalborg fans have a song for Chanko, singing “Ya Ya Ya LOLO CHANKO Ya Ya Yeah” to the sound of Mr President’s Coco Jambo.

Naif Hazazi – Saudi Arabia

Al-Ittihad’s number 9 is one of the hottest young strikers in Asian football right now, only 21 and in three years for his club he has scored over 40 goals, now a bad return for someone so young.

His great form has continued over to the international game his goals against Iran and the UAE impressed in their World Cup qualification run. 10 goals in 13 games for his club this season, eight of them in the last ten games would have impressed Portuguese manager Jose Peseiro and should be enough to give him a starting spot for the Saudi team.

The tournament kicks off this Friday as Qatar play Uzbekistan in Doha. Eurosport are covering the game, However it seems the games will be shown recorded.

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Even though the wonderful guys over at twofootedtackle whipped up a fantastic Asian Cup preview this morning, plans were already afoot for gibfootballshow to provide our own, so here it is.

This Friday night the eyes of the World will turn to Qatar as they host the 2011 AFC Asian Cup. With people tuning in not just to see the best of Asian talent but to see how Qatar cope hosting an event half the size of FIFA’s grand showpiece.

Sixteen teams will compete for the fifteenth Asian Cup. With the inclusion of six past champions (Israel being the only one not there of course.) there is a mixture of the better known teams Japan, Korea Republic, Australia and the lesser known Jordan, Syria and Bahrain.

Pressure you feel on the home nation to prove they are worthy of a World Cup spot albeit for a tournament in 11 years time. Korea DPR will look to improve on there impressive showing in South Africa with this their 3rd appearance in the tournament. Iraq and Saudi Arabia will hope to have an impressive tournament after both reached the final last time but failed to appear in South Africa last year.

With all the claims the Qatari bid made with their World Cup stadia plans people will be disappointed to hear that only two stadiums planned for the event in 2022 will be used in the competition. The 50,000 seater Khalifa International Stadium in Doha will host the opening game between Qatar and Uzbekistan and the final on January the 29th.

The Al-Gharafa Stadium also in Doha is the other World Cup stadium being used of course the plans are to increase it to 44,000 from it’s current 22,000 seats. Out of the other three stadiums only one can be found outside Doha.

Al-Rayyan’s Ahmed bin Ali Stadium will host all of Saudi Arabia and Iraq’s fixtures and organisers will hope to fill the 25,000 seats for each game and really ramp up the atmosphere of the tournament.

Back in 2007 the tournament was held in July with co-hosts Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. This year’s cup was moved to January to cope with the increased heat in the Middle East it is still expected to be around 25 degrees when the games start on Friday.

Younis Mahmoud’s 72nd minute goal was enough to see Iraq overcome Saudi Arabia 1-0 to lift the 2007 Asian Cup and complete a fairytale story for the war-torn nation. Reaching the final they beat Australia, Vietnam and the Korea Republic, although they only scored seven goals they played some great football and deserved the victory.

Saudi Arabia would have been disappointed with their finish to the tournament, top scorers with twelve goals and wins over the Korea Republic and Japan they would have felt like favourites for the cup but Mahmoud’s seventh goal was enough to cause the upset.

Looking at the four groups there are some mouth-watering encounters. Qatar have a great chance of reaching the Quarter-Finals and so will their opponents, Kuwait, China and Uzbekistan will all fancy their chances of getting out of Group A.

Group B sees favourites Japan and Saudi Arabia lock horns and surely Syria and Jordan will need a miracle to advance, however in a three game group there are no certainties for qualification.

In Group C Australia will fancy their chances of reaching the last eight, a tough test against the Korea Republic sandwiched by games against India and Bahrain. The last group is surely the “Group of Death” Iraq, Iran, Korea DPR and the United Arab Emirates will be a scene out of a George Bush tea party. All four teams from Group D will be eager to advance.

According to a popular betting site it’s no surprise to see Japan, Australia and South Korea as outright favourites to lift the trophy. Holders Iraq are deemed as a long shot to regain their title at 21/1. Most people will look to the big three for the winner come the end of January however it’s worth watching Korea DPR and the Saudis.

For people with access to TV channel Eurosport will be happy to know they will be broadcasting the tournament from this Friday.

Stay tuned tomorrow for ten players to watch for in the tournament.

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Another 4 teams went home today, there was a injury time winner, a nail biting finish and two favourites that will meet in the Last 16, another great day in the World Cup. I managed to watch the full Ghana v Germany game, first half of England v Slovenia and the highlights of the other 2 games.

SLOVENIA

0

 

ENGLAND

1

      Jermaine DEFOE (23′)  
         
1.Samir HANDANOVIC     1.David JAMES  
2.Miso BRECKO     2.Glen JOHNSON – Y  
4.Marko SULER     3.Ashley COLE  
5.Bostjan CESAR     4.Steven GERRARD – C  
8.Robert KOREN – C     6.John TERRY  
9.Zlatan LJUBIJANKIC OUT – 62   8.Frank LAMPARD  
10.Valter BIRSA – Y     10.Wayne ROONEY OUT – 72
11.Milivoje NOVAKOVIC     14.Gareth BARRY  
13.Bojan JOKIC - Y     15.Matthew UPSON  
17.Andraz KIRM OUT – 79   16.James MILNER  
18.Aleksandar RADOSAVLJEVIC     19.Jermain DEFOE OUT – 86
         
Subs     Subs  
14.Zlatko DEDIC - Y IN – 62   9.Peter CROUCH IN – 72
23.Tim MATAVZ IN – 79   21.Emile HESKEY IN – 86

MY THOUGHTS

Overall a much better performance for England, Capello would hope there is more to come from his men, from what I saw in the first half they played the best football they have so far, there was 10-15 really good minutes around the time of the goal, but then towards the end of the first half they were reverting to the long ball again and this is what causing England problems cause they then sit back, from the highlights in the second half, Slovenia never troubled England properly till the last 2/3 minutes and no clear cut chances.

Disappointing performance from Slovenia, Birsa looked busy as did Kirm, the front two failed to connect, and Suler was caught out for Defoe’s goal, Radosavljevic was decent in the middle the player who does the dirty work in midfield, and Handanovic made some fantastic saves, especially the save from Rooney’s chance.

Losts of good performances from England, Defoe started sharp, Gerrard was better on the left this time, Rooney did ok but still not as sharp as the English would like, 3 players that stood out were the defensive pairing of Upson and Terry they were terrific, some last ditch tackles, hearts on the sleeve kind of stuff, without their passion Slovenia may have had some more chances. and James Milner was quality, playing some lovely teasing balls in the box, one for the goal, nice to see him return to form after his bad 30 minutes against the USA, he bounced back with style and should keep his place.

England through to the last 16 more on who they’ll face later.

USA

1

 

ALGERIA

0

Landon DONOVAN (90+1′)        
         
1.Tim HOWARD     23.Rais M’BOLHI  
3.Carlos BOCANEGRA – C     2.Madjid BOUGHERRA  
4.Michael BRADLEY     3.Nabir BELHADJ  
6.Steve CHERUNDOLO     4.Anther YAHIA – C - Y/R  
8.Clint DEMPSEY     5.Rafik HALLICHE  
9.Herculez GOMEZ OUT – 46   8.Medhi LACEN – Y  
10.Landon DONOVAN     11.Rafik DJEBBOUR OUT – 65
12.Jonathan BORNSTEIN OUT – 80   13.Karim MATMOUR OUT – 85
15.Jay DeMERIT     15.Karim ZIANI OUT – 69
17.Jozy ALTIDORE - Y     19.Hassan YEBDA - Y  
19.Maurice EDU OUT – 64   21.Foued KADIR  
         
Subs     Subs  
7.DaMarcus BEASLEY - Y IN – 80   10.Rafik SAIFI IN – 85
14.Edson BUDDLE IN – 64   17.Adlane GUEDIOURA IN – 69
22.Benny FEILHABER IN – 46   9.Abdelkader GHEZZAL IN – 65

MY THOUGHTS

Only seen the highlights of this one so impossible to comment on performances, but what can you say about this USA team, lost a goal against England after 3 minutes and came back, went 2-0 down against Slovenia and came back and now with a place in the last 16 beckoning it took to the 91st minute and a never give up attitude for the US to advance, Donovan following in Altidore’s shot and he placed the rebound past M’Bolhi.

After the shocking decision to disallow the goal against Slovenia, when Dempsey’s goal was chalked off for offside in the first half maybe the Americans had it in their mind that it wasn’t to be their day, if they did think that it didn’t show it, Bradley charging forward from midfield, Dempsey and Donovan combining and I think they deserved the goal and to go through, although at Slovenia’s expense, they will hope to not have to wait to the 91st minute for a goal the next game.

GHANA

0

 

GERMANY

1

      Mesut OZIL (60′)  
         
22.Richard KINGSON     1.Manuel NEUER  
2.Hans SARPEI     3.Arne FRIEDRICH  
3.Asamoah GYAN OUT – 82   6.Sami KHEDIRA  
4.John PANTSIL     7.Bastian SCHWEINSTEIGER OUT – 81
5.John MENSAH     8.Mesut OZIL  
6.Anthony ANNAN     10.Lucas PODOLSKI  
8.Jonathan MENSAH     13.Thomas MULLER - Y OUT – 67
12.Prince TAGOE OUT – 64   16.Philipp LAHM  
13.Andre AYEW - Y OUT – 92   17.Per MERTESACKER  
21.Kwadwo ASAMOAH     19.CACAU  
23.Kevin Prince BOATENG     20.Jerome BOATENG OUT – 73
         
Subs     Subs  
11.Sulley MUNTARI IN – 64   2.Marcell JANSEN IN – 73
14.Matthew AMOAH IN – 82   15.Piotr TROCHOWSKI IN – 67
18.Dominc ADIYAH IN – 92   18.Toni KROOS IN – 81

MY THOUGHTS

Really enjoyable game this, very open some really nice football, shocked it finished 1-0 with the amount of counter attacking football and near chances we saw, with Ghana needing at least a draw to go through, they really tried hard Annan who has really impressed me controlled the midfield always got time on the ball and very smart with the ball, Boateng and Asamoah were busy in midfield always trying to find space and nearly breached the German defence at times, Asamoah Gyan was the main man again and should have at least scored, great movement, great strength, great awareness, just lacked that composure upfront that they need as an attacking threat.

Germany continued their impressive attack minded football, always finding space, there was always movement off the ball, maybe lacked the danger of Klose up front, Lahm was a general tonight, clearing off the line, charging his team forward a true captains performance, Khedira and Schweinsteiger were sold and dealt well with Ghana’s threat caught out at times though, the defence still looks shaky to me and will come under sterner tests, however the attacking options will cause any team problems, with the wing play of Podolski and Muller accompanied with Mesut Ozil’s guile/skill and wisdom above his years, teams will be scared to play Germany and so they should.

Germany’s reward for winning the group will be a Last 16 tie with arch-rivals England, and what a game that could be.

AUSTRALIA

2

 

SERBIA

1

Tim CAHILL (69′)     Marko PANTELIC (84′)  
Brett HOLMAN (73′)        
         
1.Mark SCHWARZER     1.Vladimir STOJKOVIC  
2.Lucas NEILL     5.Nemanja VIDIC  
4.Tim CAHILL     6.Branislav IVANOVIC  
5.Jason CULINA     10.Dejan STANKOVIC  
6.Michael BEAUCHAMP - Y     13.Aleksandar LUKOVIC  
7.Brett EMERTON - Y     14.Milan JOVANOVIC  
8.Luke WILKSHERE – Y OUT – 82   15.Nikola ZIGIC OUT – 67
9.Joshua KENNEDY     16.Ivan OBRADOVIC  
16.Carl VALERI OUT – 66   17.Milos KRASIC OUT – 62
21.David CARNEY     18.Milos NINKOVIC  
23.Mark BRESCIANO OUT – 66   22.Zdravko KUZMANOVIC OUT – 77
         
Subs     Subs  
14.Brett HOLMAN IN – 66   4.Gojko KACAR IN – 62
11.Scott CHIPPERFIELD IN – 66   7.Zoran TOSIC IN – 77
19.Richard GARCIA IN – 82   8.Darko LAZOVIC IN – 67

MY THOUGHTS

The goals were played during the Germany game, and it looked a half decent game when Cahill opened the scoring, the 2nd goal by Holman a nice bouncing 30 yard strike gave the Aussies hope and a goal in either game and they’d have been through, but the 2-1 defeat of Serbia eliminated both teams from the Group Stage, once Pantelic scored Serbia only need a goal to advance, and they had one ruled off for offside, anda  massive chance for Pantelic at the end where he could have done better, not many clips of Australia troubling the Serbians late on, so it was a good result for Ghana as they then qualify for a game against Greece

Ghana will face the Usa on Saturday for a place in the quarter finals, the winners play the winner of Uruguay v South Korea and one of these four smaller nations will advance to the Semi’s, gotta take one game at a time.

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Really enjoyed the games today well except the Holland game, but we had a mixture of European technique, Asian organisation and African spirit, coming together in an enjoyable day of football, it was also a very momentous day, as I managed to predict the correct score in a game for the first time in the tournament, much to Cameroon’s disgust, oh and I’ve seen 3 examples today that show that there is bugger all wrong with the Jabulani ball, Sneijder’s shot, Bresciano’s free kick and Kjaer’s 60 yard pass. 

NETHERLANDS

1

 

JAPAN

0

Wesley SNEIJDER (53′)        
         
1.Maarten STEKELENBERG     1.Eiji KAWASHIMA  
2.Gregory VAN DER WIEL – Y     2.Yuki ABE  
3.John HEITINGA     3.Yuichi KOMANO  
4.Joris MATHIJSEN     4.Marcus Tulio TANAKA  
5.Giovanni VAN BRONCKHORST     5.Yuto NAGATOMO  
6.Mark VAN BOMMEL     7.Yasuhito ENDO  
7.Dirk KUYT     8.Daisuke MATSUI OUT – 64
8.Nigel DE JONG     16.Yoshito OKUBO OUT – 77
9.Robin VAN PERSIE OUT – 88   17.Makoto HASEBE © OUT – 77
10.Wesley SNEIJDER OUT – 83   18.Keisuke HONDA  
23.Rafael VAN DER VAART OUT – 72   22.Yuji NAKAZAWA  
         
Subs     Subs  
17.Eljero ELIA IN – 72   9.Shinji OKAZAKI IN – 77
20.Ibrahim AFELLAY IN – 83   10.Shunsuke NAKAMURA IN – 64
21.Klass Jan HUNTELAAR IN – 88   11.Keiji TAMADA IN – 77

MY THOUGHTS: 

Not the best of matches to watch from a neutral point of view, Japan played to stifle the Dutch attack, when defending they had 10 men behind the ball, and the Dutch looked nervous to attack in numbers so not to be caught on the break and that stopped the game really going anywhere in the first half.  

The best thing that happened in the second half was Sneijder’s goal, a superb strike a rocket from the edge of the box, it may have moved in the air, the keeper Kawashima got a hand to it, but he couldn’t stop it bulging in the back of the net, this opened the game up, Japan came out and tried to attack.  

Matsui was the most inventive looking of the Japanese side, good on the ball, looks to pick a good pass and him, Honda and Okubo again worked tirelessly but never really threatened the goal, Endo played great in the middle of the park charging down the ball, and controlling the play, another player that impressed was the young fullback Nagatomo had a good game charging down the left wing all game, never really got caught out defensively and had a good chance to score when he cut inside and had a shot in goal. The other dangerous player was the centre back Tulio Tanaka every set-piece Japan had he more often or not won the ball and just couldn’t get an attempt on target, the Dutch defence seemed to struggle against his height.  

From the first half performance you would say they would struggle to beat Denmark, but from the 2nd half showing, you would give them a chance, they could have snatched a point if Okazaki cold have kept his shot on the turn down and troubled Stekelenburg.  

Wasn’t impressed by the Dutch today, noone really to pick out, good goal from Sneijder, no real chances to speak of until the subs Elia and Affelay came on, it was the Hamburg man that found the PSV man and Affellay chased through on goal and was 1 on 1 with Kawashima and the Japanese keeper made a good save.  

GHANA

1

 

AUSTRALIA

1

Asamoah GYAN (25′ PEN)     Brett HOLMAN (11′)  
         
22.Richard KINGSON     1.Mark SCHWARZER  
2.Hans SARPEI     2.Lucas NEILL  
3.Asamoah GYAN     3.Craig MOORE - Y  
4.John PANTSIL     5.Jason CULINA  
6.Anthony ANNAN - Y     7.Brett EMERTON  
8.Jonathan MENSAH - Y     8.Luke WILKSHERE  OUT – 84
12.Prince TAGOE OUT – 56   10.Harry KEWELL - R  
13.Andre AYEW     14.Brett HOLMAN  OUT -  68
19.Lee ADDY - Y     16.Carl VALERI  
21.Kwadwo ASAMOAH OUT – 77   21.David CARNEY  
23.Kevin Prince BOATENG OUT – 87   23.Mark BRESCIANO  OUT – 66
         
Subs     Subs  
20.Quincy OWUSU-ABYIE IN – 56   11.Scott CHIPPERFIELD IN – 66
11.Sulley MUNTARI IN – 77   9.Joshua KENNEDY IN – 68
14.Matthew AMOAH IN – 87   17.Nikita RUKAVYTSYA IN – 84

MY THOUGHTS: 

3 points for Ghana and they are all but through, and 3 points for Australia and the group is wide open, I had thought it would be a tight game and I wasn’t wrong, the Aussie’s started so well, an early free kick, Bresciano dipped it over the wall, Kingson fumbled the ball and Brett Holman was the quickest to react and he put it past the Ghanian keeper.  

The great start was followed up by a nightmare moment, the ball dropped to Asamoah Gyan in the Australian’s box he thumped a shot towards goal and standing on the goalline was Harry Kewell andhis arm stopped the ball, the referee had no choice but to send him off, disaster for the Socceroos, the dream start was over and they didn’t really recover till the 2nd half.  

Moore and Neill had a good game at the back, coping well with the pace and power of Gyan and Ayew, Carney looked bright in the first half trying to get to the byline I like his industry.  

Australia improved in the second half when Kennedy and Chipperfield came on with 20 minutes to go, creating more problems for the young Ghana defence but they couldn’t capatilise on the inexperience defensive duo.  

Australia have 1 point and need to beat Serbia and hope Germany beat Ghana by a bigger scoreline than their lose, it doesn’t look likely.  

Ghana played a decent match, has to be said Addy and Jonathan 18 caps between them although at times showed their youth but they handled most things that were thrown their way, Tagoe, Boateng and Asamoah had quite quiet games and apart from Boateng’s shot in the first half there was not much else to note from the trio, Gyan had a great game, using all his strengths and attributes, his power and pace cause numerous problems and maybe with more experience he would have cause more problems.  

Ghana should have capatilised on the fact Australia had 10 men for best part of an hour, they should have won this game and will be disappointed with the point, but qualification is in their hands.  

CAMEROON

1

 

DENMARK

2

Samuel ETO’O (10′)     Nicholas BENDTNER (33′)  
      Dennis ROMMEDAHL (61′)  
         
16.Hamidou SOULEYMANOU     1.Thomas SORENSEN – Y  
2.Benoit ASSOU-EKOTTO     2.Christian POULSEN  
3.Nicolas N’KOULOU     3.Simon KJAER - Y  
5.Sebastien BASSONG - Y OUT – 72   4.Daniel AGGER  
6.Alexander SONG     6.Lars JACOBSEN  
8.GEREMI     8.Jesper GRONKJAER OUT – 67
9.Samuel ETO’O     9.Jon Dahl TOMASSON OUT – 86
10.Achille EMANA     10.Martin JORGENSEN OUT – 46
15.Pierre WEBO OUT – 78   11.Nicolas BENDTNER  
18.Eyong ENOH OUT – 46   15.Simon POULSEN  
19.Stephane M’BIA - Y     19.Dennis ROMMEDAHL  
         
Subs     Subs  
11.Jean MAKOUN IN – 46   7.Daniel JENSEN IN – 46
17.Mohamadou IDRISSOU IN – 72   12.Thomas KAHLENBERG IN – 67
23.Vicent ABOUBAKAR IN – 78   14.Jakob POULSEN IN – 86

MY THOUGHTS:

The weight of a continent lay on the shoulders of the Cameroon players today, lose and they become they first team to be elimanated from the competition, and what a start they had, a lose pass from the Danes, Emana found Eto’o in the box and he made no mistake putting Cameroon 1-0 up, this was as good as it go though 80 mins later and it’s an early exit for Le Guen’s men. 

Some of the team played well, Eto’o was busy and dangerous, justifying his move to the centre of the attack, always dangerous and more like the Samuel Eto’o we know and love, his foil was Achille Emana he too played really well, floating round the pitch linking up with Eto’o and Webo, he had a chance to level the game when he went through on goal, but couldn’t finish it off, if only both had played in these positions against Japan. 

For the players that played well a could played pretty bad, Assou-Ekotto had an awful game getting pulled out of position on many an occasion and with the dangerous Rommedahl exploiting the space he left caused Cameroon the 2nd goal, Song and Enoh were too quiet, the latter was pulled off at half-time. 

Such a shame for the competition that Cameroon are going home but if they had showed this level of commiment and adventure in the first game they would probably still be in the competition. 

The Danes faced the do or die game tonight and took it by the horns after going a ball behind they played really well, Rommedahl was a constant threat down the right, still showing he has the pace to play at the highest level, collecting a lovely 60 yard pass from Kjaer he then found Bendtner in the box for the equaliser, he then took advantage of Assou-Ekotto’s attacking desire by breaking down the right, cutting inside Makoun and placing a lovely left-footed shot past Souleymanou, Kjaer, Agger, Jacobsen and Poulsen were good in defence, as much as Cameroon’s strikers cause problems the defence never looked stretched, I wouldn’t say it was one of Bendtner’s best games, good finish for the goal, but quiet apart from that. 

The Danes played well, much better than the first game, they now face a winner takes it all game with Japan and they showed enough about them to think they could beat the Japanese, will be an interesting game.

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There is only one team that can dominate my thoughts today and that is the German team, very impressive and have made everyone sit up and take notice, Algeria and Slovenia sent most people into a afternoon snooze, and Ghana gave Africa the lift it needed. A decent days football overall, 3 games 3 red cards, 7 goals, the tournament is starting to pick up.

ALGERIA 0 SLOVENIA 1

ALGERIA: 16 Chaouchi – 2 Bougherra, 4 Yahia, 5 Halliche, 3 Belhadj – 8 Lacen – 21 Kadir, 19 Yebda, 15 Ziani – 11 Djebbour, 13 Matmour
Subs – 9 Ghezzal on for Djebbour (58mns), 10 Saifi on for Matmour (81mins), 17 Guedioura on for Kadir (82mins)

SLOVENIA: 1 Handanovic – 2 Brecko, 4 Suler, 5 Cesar, 13 Jokic – 17 Kirm, 18 Radosavljevic, 8 Koren, 10 Birsa – 14 Dedic, 11 Novakovic
Subs – 9 Ljubijankic on for Dedic (53mins), 7 Pecnik on for Birsa (84mins), 20 Komac on for Radosavljevic (87mins)

Goals - Koren 79′ (1-0 SLO)

Sent Off – Ghezzal (ALG – two yellow cards

MY THOUGHTS:

Not the best game by a long way, it started brightly but fizzled out, I actually thought Algeria looked the more likely to score and then Chaouchi made a goalkeeping mistake and Robert Koren’s shot sneaked in the far post.

Chaouchi looked a competent keeper before that moment dealing with all Slovenia’s attempts well, all that will be remembered is his mistake, Nadir Belhadj was impressive on the left getting forward enough to look like a midfielder, not a good final ball though, the midfield was quiet, Ziani should have done more didn’t take control enough, leading to a lack of chances for the front two, Djebbour then came off but his replacement Ghezzal got the third fastest booking of world cup history and was then soon after sent off for deliberate handball.

Not many impressive performances from Slovenia either, I expected more from Novakovic, Dedic tried at times to link up with him but to no avail, Birsa didn’t get enough of the ball to show his pace, Koren wasn’t the controlling factor he can be, they were very lucky to sneak the 1-0 win, England and USA won’t be too worried with these performances.

SERBIA 0 GHANA 1

SERBIA: 1 Stojkovic – 6 Ivanovic, 5 Vidic, 13 Lukovic, 3 Kolarov – 17 Krasic, 11 Milijas, 10 Stankovic, 14 Jovanovic – 15 Zigic, 9 Pantelic
Subs – 22 Kuzmanovic on for Milijas (62mins), 8 Lazovic on for Zigic (69mins), 20 Subotic on for Jovanovic (76min)

GHANA: 22 Kingson – 4 Pantsil, 5 Mensah, 15 Vorsah, 2 Sarpei – 12 Tagoe, 23 Boateng, 6 Annan, 13 Ayew - 21 Asamoah, 3 Gyan
Subs - 10 Appiah on for Asamoah (73mins), 19 Addy on or Boateng (91mins), 20 Owusu-Abeyie on for Gyan (93mins)

Goals - Gyan 83′pen (1-0 GHA)

Sent off – Lukovic, two yellow cards

MY THOUGHTS:

A better game in the afternoon, I was backing Serbia as dark horses but it was Ghana that galloped out of the blocks showing great pace and skill, some nice movements down either wing, Serbia never got going, the partnership between Zigic and Pantelic just didn’t work for me, no pace up front to stretch the Ghana back line, Krasic and Jovanovic were kept quiet by Pantsil and Sarpei.

The Serbia back line played pretty well throughout Ivanovic was solid but not expensive, Lukovic was favoured over Subotic and did well until he was sent off, Krasic the big hope for Serbia didn’t turn up and live up to expectations, and the midfield duo of Milijas and Stankovic just didn’t perform and I expect big changes for the next game.

Ghana performed very well, Mensah and Vorsah were so solid at the back, the 6 foot 5 Vorsah challenging the 6 foot 8 Zigic to every ball, Prince Tagoe was very busy down the right started great and nearly burst through after  5 minutes his pace kept Kolarov from attacking most of the game, Annan labeled as the “new Essien”  had a good game, although he is a different player from Essien more a player that controls the play not a heavy ball winner, he was the controlling influence in the midfield Gyan was also impressive he gave Vidic and Lukovic a hard time, pace, power and and great work rate and will trouble other defences.

GERMANY 4 AUSTRALIA 0

GERMANY:1 Neuer – 16 Lahm, 3 Friedrich, 17 Mertesacker, 14 Badstuber – 6 Khedira, 7 Schweinsteiger, 8 Ozil, 13 Muller, 10 Podolski
Subs – 19 Cacau on for Klose (68mins),23 Gomez on for Ozil (74mins), 21 Marin on for Podolski (81mins)

AUSTRALIA: 1 Schwarzer – 8 Wilkshere, 2 Neill, 3 Moore, 11 Chipperfield – 13 Grella, 16 Valeri, 7 Emerton, 19 Garcia, 5 Culina – 4 Cahill
Subs – 14 Holman on for Grella (46mins), 17 Rukavytsya on for Garcia (64mins), 15 Jedinak on for Emerton (74mins)

Goals -Podolski 8′ (1-0 GER), Klose 26′ (2-0 GER), Mueller 68′ (3-0 GER), Cacau 70′ (4-0 GER)

Sent off – Tim Cahill (AUS) straight Red

MY THOUGHTS:

A statement performance from Germany some people had this as a possible upset but after seeing the Socceroos lineup I knew it wouldn’t happen, you can’t go to the World Cup with 2 strikers, and then not to start any of them, you are waiting for a beating, and Germany delivered.

Philip Lahm played great as captain charging forward on the right, playing a great ball for Klose’s goal and solid in defence, the duo of Khedira and Schweinsteiger were superb in the middle, Bastian deeper than usual adapted very well, Mueller had a effective game on the right, cutting in at the right times and scoring with a great finish, Podolski was great on the left showing he has the pace and the left foot to play out there, a superb finish for the 1st goal 83mph no goalkeeper was stopping it, he had no problem putting the Jabulani ball in the back of the net, Klose could have easily had a hat-trick and with the football they played you could see him scoring the goals needed to break Ronaldo’s goal scoring record.

The man of the match undoubtebly was little Mesut Ozil (pronounced Urshil apparently) he was fantastic, the dribbling the passing, ripping the Australians apart, the movement from the German front four was superb and Ozil was the architect, he could easily be one of the stars of this World Cup, the only blemish was the yellow card he picked up from diving, if he continues on form it would be hard to see Germany not reaching the Quarter-Finals.

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