Day Two of the Last 16 and with three of the favourites playing, at least one of them was going out, but noone thought it would happen the way it did. Controversy in both games, Video technology would have completely changed the events of June 27th.

GERMANY

4

 

ENGLAND

1

Miroslav KLOSE (20′)     Matthew UPSON (37′)  
Lukas PODOLSKI (32′)        
Thomas MÜLLER (67′,70′)        
         
1.Manuel NEUER     1.David JAMES  
3.Arne FRIEDRICH – Y     2.Glen JOHNSON – Y OUT – 87
6.Sami KHEDIRA     3.Ashley COLE  
7.Bastian SCHWEINSTEIGER     4.Steven GERRARD  
8.Mesut ÖZIL OUT – 83   6.John TERRY  
10.Lucas PODOLSKI     8.Frank LAMPARD  
11.Miroslav KLOSE OUT – 72   10.Wayne ROONEY  
13.Thomas MULLER OUT – 72   14.Gareth BARRY  
16.Philipp LAHM – C     15.Matthew UPSON  
17.Per MERTESACKER     16.James MILNER OUT – 64
20.Jerome BOATENG     19.Jermain DEFOE OUT – 71
         
Subs     Subs  
9.Stefan KIEßLING IN – 83   11.Joe COLE IN – 64
15.Piotr TROCHOWSKI IN -  72   17.Shaun WRIGHT-PHILLIPS IN – 87
23.Mario GOMEZ IN – 72   21.Emile HESKEY IN – 71

MY THOUGHTS

When this match was decided I had said, If England play 4-4-2 against Germany’s 4-2-3-1 then they would find it very hard to keep the ball in midfield and there would be space at the back, and this was one prediction I have got spot on.

3 of Germany’s 4 goals were scored from the fast break, exploiting the space in the wings overloading the English defence and using their pace, at times they ripped Upson & Co. apart.

The 4-1 scoreline in a way will water down the main talking point, at 2-1 Frank Lampard chipped the ball over Neuer’s head it hit the underside of the crossbar and I think the only people not to see it cross the line were the linesman and the referee, it was a foot over the line, and should have been the equaliser which would have changed the whole complexion of the game, the half time whistle seemed to stop England’s momentum and for me they never seemed to have the same drive in the second half after Lampard’s free kick smashed off the crossbar.

It was 2 goals in 3 minutes from Thomas Müller set up by Mesut Özil, both were superb the young turk cause so many problems finding space between the midfield and defence, then opening up gaps for his teammates, along with his goals it was Müller that set up Podolski for the second, the front four of Germany could have had 5 or 6 goals, David James coming to England’s aid on a few ocassions.

Question marks still hang over the heads of Mertesacker, Boateng and Arne Friedrich, in the air Mertesacker could not be beaten however when turned he finds it very hard to recover, players like Messi and Tevez will cause him problems, Boateng did a bad job in closing down James Milner, letting him cross balls in at will, Boateng is not a fullback and it really shows, I’m not sure Badstuber is a better option.

Not many England players to pick out for positive reasons, Lampard was the most effective that he’s been all World Cup, could easily have scored 2 goals, Milner delivered quite a few dangerous crosses, Defoe coming closest to converting them, David James the other England player to just about come out with pass marks, saves from Klose and Özil, should have been out faster for the first goal though.

Cole, Gerrard, Rooney, Barry and Upson had poor games, Upson was pulled out of position so many times by the German movement, Rooney as has been well documented played poor the whole tournament, bad touch, bad shooting even his movement was sub par.

Taking away all the controversy Germany were the better team and deserved to win, inflicting the worst defeat in a World Cup in England’s history.

ARGENTINA

3

 

MEXICO

1

Carlos TEVEZ (26′, 52′)     Javier HERNANDEZ (71′)  
Gonzalo HIGUAIN (33′)        
         
22.Sergio ROMERO     1.Oscar PEREZ  
2.Martin DEMICHELIS     2.Francisco RODRIGUEZ  
4.Nicolas BURDISSO     3.Carlos SALCIDO  
6.Gabriel HEINZE     4.Rafael MARQUEZ – C – Y  
7.Angel DI MARIA OUT – 79   5.Ricardo OSORIO  
9.Gonzalo HIGUAIN     6.Gerardo TORRADO  
10.Lionel MESSI     14.Javier HERNANDEZ  
11.Carlos TEVEZ OUT – 69   16.Efrain JUAREZ  
14.Javier MASCHERANO     17.Giovani DOS SANTOS  
15.Nicolas OTAMENDI     18.Andres GUARDADO OUT – 61
20.Maxi RODRIGUEZ OUT – 87   21.Adolfo BAUTISTA OUT – 46
         
Subs     Subs  
1.Diego POZO     7.Pablo BARRERA IN – 46
21.Mariano ANDUJAR     8.Israel CASTRO  
3.Clemente RODRIGUEZ     9.Guillermo FRANCO IN – 61
5.Marco BOLATTI     10.Cuauhtemoc BLANCO  
8.Juan VERON IN – 69   11.Carlos VELA  
12.Ariel GARCE     12.Paul AGUILAR  
13.Walter SAMUEL     13.Guillermo OCHOA  
16.Sergio AGUERO     15.Hector MORENO  
17.Jonas GUTIERREZ IN – 79   19.Jonny MAGALLON  
18.Martin PALERMO     20.Jorge TORRES  
19.Diego MILITO     22.Alberto MEDINA  
23.Javier PASTORE IN – 87   23.Luis MICHEL  

MY THOUGHTS

The second game of the day and FIFA would have been hoping for a quiet game with no controversy, not today Sepp.

After Mexico starting as the better team, Guardado came close and Salcido smashed the crossbar, I thought we could have been in for an upset. That was until the 26th minute, Messi played in Tevez his initial shot saved by Perez fell back to Messi he chiped it to Tevez and he headed it in, once we saw the replays it was clear Tevez was at least 2 yards offside, it got worse for Mexico as the teams were lining up for kickoff, the big screen showed the replay and all the Mexican players saw it, and quite rightly confronted the referee and linesman, they had also seen it, and looked embarrassed, of course there was nothing anyone could do now as the goal had been given, another massive call for video technology.

Things went from bad to worse for the Mexicans, Ricardo Osorio tried a little heel drag near his own box, mis controlled and Higuain was in on goal he rounded Perez and made no mistake with the finish, Mexico had gone from the better team to 2-0 down.

There was no way back from this, a Tevez wondergoal made it 3 and apart from Hernandez superb goal for Mexico Argentina never looked troubled again.

Otamendi looked loads more stable at right back than Jonas Gutierrez, Otamendi can also play at centre back so he knows how to cover the middle also, a solid performance. Higuain and Messi were very quiet, they never got many chances to trouble the Mexican defence, I only remember one run from Messi near the end of the match, but players can’t be brilliant all the time, and he has showed so far in this tournament that you need to respect his talent.

I can’t say it was a classic Argentina performance however it was a great victory and they roll on to the next round to face the Germans.

Mexico were very impressive and the much better footballing side in the whole match, sometimes decisions go against you that you can’t come back from and that was the case last night, Hernandez looks a good player Sir Alex has unearthed a gem there, along with dos Santos and the substitute Barrea they caused endless problems to Maradona’s men, I would have started Barrea he looked great against the French and Bautista was poor and was right to be taken off, Barrea looks to have bags of pace and the skill to match.

Shame for the Mexicans to go home, they have entertained us in South African and I hope they grow as a team for the future who knows what can happen in 4 years.

QUARTER FINAL – GERMANY v ARGENTINA

What a match this could be, Argentina weak down the flanks were Germany are so strong, you then have the midfield battles, Özil, Khedira and Schweinsteiger versus Messi, Mascherano and Rodriguez however I would not be surprised if Veron came back in, in a similar role to Schweinsteiger

I’m hoping for a thriller maybe a 5 goal thriller at that, it will not be boring.

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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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