Quarter Final time, and teams only 2 games from the final, some classic games lined up and the two games today did not let anyone down, Brazil and Holland played out a good match however the limelight was stolen by Uruguay and Ghana a tremendous match end to end action, great goals controversy, heroes, villians, it had everything.

NETHERLANDS

2

 

BRAZIL

1

Wesley SNEIJDER (53′ 68′)     ROBINHO (10′)  
         
1.Maarten STEKELENBERG     1.Julio CESAR  
2.Gregory VAN DER WIEL – Y     2.MAICON  
3.John HEITINGA – Y     3.LUCIO – C  
5.Giovanni VAN BRONCKHORST     4.JUAN  
6.Mark VAN BOMMEL     5.Felipe MELO – R  
7.Dirk KUYT     6.Michel BASTOS – Y OUT – 62
8.Nigel DE JONG – Y     7.ELANO  
9.Robin VAN PERSIE OUT – 85   8.Gilberto SILVA  
10.Wesley SNEIJDER     9.Luis FABIANO OUT – 77
11.Arjen ROBBEN     10.KAKA  
13.Andre OOIJER     11.ROBINHO  
         
Subs     Subs  
21.Klass Jan HUNTELAAR IN – 85   16.GILBERTO IN – 62
      21.NILMAR IN – 77

MY THOUGHTS
Brazil could not have hoped for a better start, Melo’s great pass found Robinho 1 on 1 and he finished neatly and Brazil looked in cruise control some lovely football, passing and moving off the ball, Holland looked lost of ideas and the best thing that happened for them was the half time whistle.

I don’t think anyone could see a way back for the Dutch or how the Brazilians could not find a way to extend their lead, Sneijder found a way though swinging a free kick in from the left, Melo jumped to head the ball away but he only got a slight contact and Cesar was unable to punch it away, an equaliser that shocked everyone, the Brazilians were the most effected the passing stopped flowing and movement wasn’t the same, from that point I could only see one winner, and I wasn’t wrong, Holland won a corner, it was whipped into the near post Kuyt flicked it on and Sneijder was left alone to head the ball past Cesar a shock lead, the Oranje delighted and Brazil had no way back Kaka’, Robinho, and Luis Fabiano couldn’t combine to any effect and the Netherlands booked their place in the semi-finals.

It really was a game of two halves, no Dutch players to mention from the first half and no Brazilians to mention from the second half, Robinho started very brightly, the touch and passing was superb, causing endless problems for van der Wiel on the right of Hollands defence.

Also the Brazilian defending overall in the first half was fantastic, everytime the Dutch got near the Brazilian box, 3 or 4 players swarmed round them, Lucio and Juan did a great job of slowing the attack down so the midfield could close in, a great display of defending.

In the second half I thought Sneijder was the best player on the pitch started getting on the ball controlling the game, Robben was quiet second half, apart from that no Dutch players stood out for me, just the fact the Brazilians stopped playing and allowed the pressure to build on them.

Overall I think it has to go down as a bad Brazilian performance, Melo has to take the blame, cause the first goal, lost his man for the second and sent off for a horrible stamp, Brazil were the favourites to win the whole thing but this performance really let them down, Holland move on and have a great chance to make the final and could win the tournament playing in a not typically Dutch style.

URUGUAY

1

 

GHANA

1

Diego FORLAN (55′)     Sulley MUNTARI (45+2′)  
         
Penalties        
Diego FORLAN Goal   Asamoah GYAN Goal
Mauricio VICTORINO Goal   Stephen APPIAH Goal
Andres SCOTTI Goal   John MENSAH Miss
Maxi PEREIRA Miss   Dominic ADIYIAH Miss
Sebastian ABREU Goal      
         
         
1.Fernando MUSLERA     22.Richard KINGSON  
2.Diego LUGANO OUT – 38   2.Hans SARPEI – Y  
4.Jorge FUCILE     3.Asamoah GYAN  
6.Mauricio VICTORINO     4.John PANTSIL – Y  
7.Edinson CAVANI  OUT – 76   5.John MENSAH – C – Y  
9.Luis SUAREZ     6.Anthony ANNAN  
10.Diego FORLAN     7.Samuel INKOOM  OUT – 74
15.Diego PEREZ     11.Sulley MUNTARI  OUT – 88
16.Maximiliano PEREIRA     15.Issac VORSAH  
17.Egidio AREVALO     21.Kwadwo ASAMOAH  
20.Alvaro FERNANDEZ  OUT – 46   23.Kevin Prince BOATENG  
         
Subs        
13.Sebastian ABREU IN – 76   10.Stephen APPIAH IN – 74
14.Nicolas LODEIRO IN – 46   18.Dominic ADIYIAH IN – 88
19.Andres SCOTTI IN – 38      

MY THOUGHTS

Game of the tournament  I think, it had everything you can ask for in a football match, a great goal (Muntari) great set-piece (Forlan) drama, a player making a sacrifice for his team (Suarez), pressure (Gyan), and them the ultimate drama in a penalty shootout, the bravery of Gyan to score his 2nd penalty, I could go on all day.

Uruguay started the better of the two teams then just before Half-Time Ghana settled down and began attacking, could have scored a couple but it was Sulley Muntari who opened the deadlock with a wonder strike.

Diego Forlan got his team back in the game with a quite tremendous free kick, it seemed to swere from left to right and Kingson’s movement let him down taking a step to the left before watching the ball fire past him and into the top corner.

The game went to Extra-Time and seemed to be heading to penalties in injury time Ghana won a corner and a scamble ensued in the box Appaih had his shot blocked, the ball came to Adiyah’s head surely he must score….but Luis Suarez was there, but this time blocking with his hands, the linesman spotted it, and the referee pointed to the spot, with the last kick of the ball, Asamoah Gyan would either send his team to the World Cup semi-finals or take the game to penalties. The width of the crossbar decided Ghana’s fate, Gyan went for power and not accuracy and the latter failed him, Uruguay and Ghana would decide the game on the lottery of a penalty shoot out.

In all penalty shootouts there are heroes and villains, unfortunately for Ghana they had the villains on their side Captain John Mensah and young Dominic Adiyah missing the spot kicks and it was Sebastien Abreu who stepped up and cooly chipped the ball past the diving Kingson, Suarez the Uruguayan hero, the continent of Africa in disbelief, so close but yet so far.

Kingson the goalkeeper had a good game, making some quality saves one even striking his face, didn’t have a chance with any of the penalties, Boateng and Annan were fantastic in the Ghana midfield, Boateng came to life when asked to play behind Gyan, Annan enhanced his reputation with a solid performance, very likely he’ll be moving from Rosenborg very soon. Not much else I can add to previous reviews of Asamoah Gyan’s performances at this World Cup, he showed he has considerable mental strength, after missing a penalty to win the game for his team he stepped up in the shootout and struck a beautiful penalty into the top corner.

Uruguay will miss Suarez in the semi-final he was always dangerous, looked dead on his feet in extra time (probably why he used his hands) Forlan had a great game, always looking to break forward, scored a great goal, pretty much lead his team forward, a captain’s performance.When Lugano came off injured his replacement Scotti did well hard to come in and play at centre back but he looked assured and never got caught out, also scored his penalty.

A great game to watch, outshone the Netherlands v Brazil game by a mile and Uruguay back in the semi-finals for the first time since 1970 still no African team made it past the Quarter-Finals, they’re getting closer.

SEMI FINALS – NETHERLANDS v URUGUAY

Suarez, van der Wiel and de Jong all missing through suspension, Diego Lugano will miss out through injury, some big decisions to make for both coaches, should be a good game, Netherlands will start as favourites but I don’t think Uruguay are that far away from causing an upset, the loss of Suarez is a huge blow after all the goals he’s scored in Holland, but maybe a more unfarmilar player to them like Cavani and Abreu will cause them more problems, a change to the Netherlands defence and central midfield could cause disruption to the Oranje machine but they have quality players to come in, looking forward to this one, so much at stake for both teams.

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The start of the knockout stages and if the other games are to be as good as the two we had today then it shall be a great tournament, at stake for the teams today the knowledge that 1 of the 4 teams would be in the semi-finals on the 6th of June.

URUGUAY

2

 

KOREA REPUBLIC

1

Luis SUAREZ (8′, 80′)     LEE Chung Yong (68′)  
         
1.Fernando MUSLERA     18.JUNG Sung Ryong  
2.Diego LUGANO     4.CHO Yong Hyung – Y  
3.Diego GODIN OUT – 46   7.PARK Ji Sung  
4.Jorge FUCILE     8.KIM Jung Woo – Y  
7.Edinson CAVANI     10.PARK Chu Young  
9.Luis SUAREZ OUT – 84   12.LEE Young Pyo  
10.Diego FORLAN     13.KIM Jae Sung OUT – 61
11.Alvaro Pereira OUT – 74   14.LEE Jung Soo  
15.Diego PEREZ     16.KI Sung Yueng OUT – 85
16.Maximiliano PEREIRA     17.LEE Chung Yong  
17.Egidio AREVALO     22.CHA Du Ri – Y  
         
Subs     Subs  
6.Mauricio VICTORINO IN – 46   19.YEOM KI Hun IN – 85
14.Nicolas LODEIRO IN – 74   20.LEE Dong Gook IN – 61
20.Alvaro FERNANDEZ IN – 84      

MY THOUGHTS

This game for me went from really exciting to poor at times but after Korea equalised it perked back up, only for Luis Suarez to curl an absolute beauty into the top corner and Jung could do nothing to stop it, Korea were stunned and couldn’t do anything in the last 10 minutes to salvage the match.

Uruguay keeper Muslera went missing for the Korea goal, flapping wildly at a cross and Lee was there to head it into the net, so far Muslera had looked pretty solid but he was to blame for Uruguay losing their first goal of the tournament, Forlan has a quiet game for his high standards apart from the cross that Jung missed that led to Suarez first goal, he didn’t really create anything else, however he did work very hard, running over 10km in the match that’s 2.5km more than the Uruguay team ran in average, shows the strikers work rate for his country. Cavani also had a good game, wandering all over the pitch trying to find space to open up the Koreans, failed to get any attempts on goal, but it was his running and passing that created chances for Uruguay.

Korean were decent but nowhere near the performances against Greece and Nigeria, Ki Sung-Yueng again was the architect in the midfield most moves go through him and he linked up well with Park Ji-Sung and Park Cho-Young, Lee Chung-Yong was busy down the right providing a few great crosses there was just no quality in the final third and it was only a goalkeeping error that got them back in the match.

In the end the better team won, Suarez answering some critics about his goal scoring record, scoring one of the goals of the tournament.

USA

1

 

GHANA

2

Landon DONOVAN (62′ PEN)     Kevin Prince BOATENG (5′)  
      Asamoah GYAN (93′)  
         
1.Tim HOWARD     22.Richard KINGSON  
3.Carlos BOCANEGRA – C – Y     2.Hans SARPEI  
4.Michael BRADLEY     3.Asamoah GYAN  
6.Steve CHERUNDOLO – Y     4.John PANTSIL  
8.Clint DEMPSEY     5.John MENSAH  
10.Landon DONOVAN     6.Anthony ANNAN  
12.Jonathan BORNSTEIN     7.Samuel INKOOM  
13.Ricardo CLARK – Y OUT – 31   8.JONATHAN Mensah – Y  
15.Jay DeMERIT     13.Andre AYEW – Y  
17.Jozy ALTIDORE OUT – 91   21.Kwadwo ASAMOAH  
20.Robbie FINDLEY OUT – 46   23.Kevin Prince BOATENG  
         
Subs     Subs  
9.Herculez GOMEZ IN – 91   10.Stephen APPIAH IN – 78
19.Maurice EDU IN – 31   11.Sulley MUNTARI IN – 113
22.Benny FEILHABER IN – 46   19.Lee ADDY IN – 73

MY THOUGHTS

Africa will be smiling tonight, after a great start and a great goal from Boateng, Ghana were the better team in the first half, the second was all about the US, Bradley made changes and they cam out fighting and pulled it back with Donovan’s penalty, they couldn’t however capatilise on the pressure they applied, the game went to Extra-Time and looked set for penalties until Ayew played a high ball over the top Gyan raced onto it, rode a challenge from Bocanegra and smashed a volley past Howard and sent the whole continent into raptures.

Left back Sarpei was solid chasing up and down the flank and also helping in the middle, was also impressed by the Mensah dup at the back John and Jonathan a mixture of young and experienced and they good had a good game, young Jonathan has come into his own in this tournament, the older Mensah needs to not give the ball away so much.

The performances of the midfield and striker were fantastic, Boateng, Asamoah, Ayew and Gyan played at their best, all covering each other and also supporting Gyan upfront whenever they could, not afraid to take a shot or charge forward, they would have troubled any time with this performance, I need to single out Asamoah Gyan, he played his best game for me, it’s a tough job to play up on your own, looking at the game stats you can see how hard he worked, running over 12.5km the old cliché “worked his socks off” applies to Gyan, 7 shots on goal and 55 passes also showing he linked up well with the midfield two of the qualities you need when playing up on his own. Adding then to his great performance a wonder goal, chasing the ball over the top then did so well to hold off Bocanegra after a blatant shoulder barge then managed to set himself for a fantastic volley, Howard had no chance and wild celebrations followed.

Ghana will now play Uruguay in the Quarter-Finals and only a fool would write off Ghana’s chances, they will have a go at Uruguay probably more than anytime has so far in this tournament, Uruguay will start as favourites as they have only conceded 1 goal and impressed doing so.

A very close game for me, I think Uruguay will just sneak it, Extra-Time may be needed.

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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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First of all Well Done to Egypt winning their 3rd African Nations title in a row, also their 7th overall, as I’ve said here before, everyone had written them off as potential winners, but they have proved everyone wrong, a great victory and the people of Egypt will be partying for a while, until the hangover hits and they realise they are still not in the World Cup in South Africa.

However that was not the point of this blog, yes the Egyptians will be partying into the night, the tournament however has come to what can only be described as a sour end, after the shocking scenes in Cabinda with the Togo team being attacked and people dying, they made the decision to leave the tournament, as they felt they weren’t mentally right to play, the emotions summed up by Adebayor conducting an interview in an Arsenal training top, a bit of a gaff, I’m sure at the time he couldn’t have cared less what top he had on, after having to carry one of his shot teammates to hospital.

The tournament went on without them, an everything had sort of moved on, we had some great football, great goals, and everyone was looking forward to a great final……until this happened.

A statement from the Confederation of African football (Caf) on Saturday confirmed the disciplinary action, saying: “The executive committee has banned Togo from the next two African Nations Cup and fined the Togo FA 50,000 US dollars.”

The Caf statement stressed the ban and fine were not intended to punish Togo’s players but their government for withdrawing the team from the tournament after the shootings.

“The players publicly expressed their willingness to return to the Nations Cup to compete. But the Togo government decided to call back their national team,” Caf explained in its statement.

“The decision by political authorities contravenes Caf and African Nations Cup regulations.”

So having your bus shot at, 2 people dying in front of you, teammates shot, apparently isn’t enough punishment, now you can’t play in an African Nations Cup till 2016.

What an absolute disgrace, the person that has made this decision needs to resign ammediately, there is no place for peope like that to be in charge of  a football federation, If the CAF had come out and said that Togo could automatically qualify for the Cup in 2012 noone would have batted an eyelid, it was a tragedy what happened to the team, there is no need to make it any worse for them, 6 years is a long time in football, this decision ends the chance for alot of the current Togo team to every play again in the tournament.

I hope following the outcry this decision has cause the CAF take a good look at themselves and retract all the sanctions they have placed on Togo, wipe the slate clean, and try again. Who would have thought the CAF could have made Sepp Blatter look like a genius. Commonsense should prevail here, I am not convinced it will though.

I wonder if the same thing happened to Brazil or England during the World Cup would the same punishment be followed, I very much doubt it.

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