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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