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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My challenge to watch every match in full has failed, just found it impossible to watch matches when I know the score, who scored and what minute, the excitement just isn’t there. I managed the South Africa v France game, Nigeria v South Korea, 2nd half of Argentina v Greece and the extended highlights of Mexico v Uruguay, not a bad effort, so some reports from now on will be more sketchy than others.

For me the knockout stage starts here, for the next 4 days 4 teams will end the day eliminated for the World Cup, such a shame that today saw Bafana Bafana exit the tournament, but they leave with their heads held high.

MEXICO 0   URUGUAY

1

      Luis SUAREZ (43′)  
         
1.Oscar PEREZ     1.Fernando MUSLERA  
2.Francisco RODRIGUEZ     2.Diego LUGANO  
3.Carlos SALCIDO     4.Jorge FUCILE - Y  
4.Rafael MARQUEZ     6.Mauricio VICTORINO  
5.Ricardo OSORIO     7.Edinson CAVANI  
6.Gerardo TORRADO     9.Luis SUAREZ OUT – 85
9.Guillermo FRANCO     10.Diego FORLAN  
10.Cuauhtemoc BLANCO OUT – 63   11.Alvaro Pereira OUT – 77
15.Hector MORENO OUT – 57   15.Diego PEREZ  
17.Giovani DOS SANTOS     16.Maximiliano PEREIRA  
18.Andres GUARDADO OUT – 46   17.Egidio AREVALO  
         
Subs     Subs  
7.Pablo BARRERA IN – 46   19.Andres SCOTTI IN – 77
8.Israel CASTRO – Y IN – 57   20.Alvaro FERNANDEZ IN – 85
14.Javier HERNANDEZ - Y IN – 63      

MY THOUGHTS

Looked a decent game from the highlights, Uruguay just shading it in performance and goals scored, quite a few good chances, Suarez, Pereira, Victorino all could have opened the scoring but it took a magnificent ball from Cavani from the right and Luis Suarez met it was a perfect header, his first goal, and the goal that put Uruguay in the driving seat.

Mexico did react Andres Guardado had a ambitious try for 35 yards only to see it come off the underside of the crossbar, dos Santos looked very busy again, however 3rd game in a row where there has been no final ball from him, maybe that’s what he lacks, Francisco Rodriguez had a absolute great chance to equalise, but couldn’t steer the header past Muslera.From the highlights it looked like Fucile has a great game saw examples of 3 really good tackles.

It was good to see both teams going for it, battling for 1st place, and both teams deserve to go through.

FRANCE 1   SOUTH AFRICA 2
Florent MALOUDA (70′)     Bongani KHUMALO (20′)  
      Katlego MPHELA (37′)  
         
1.Hugo LLORIS     1.Moneeb JOSEPHS  
2.Bakari SAGNA     3.Tsepo MASILELA  
5.William GALLAS     4.Aaron MOKOENA  
7.Franck RIBERY     5.Anele NGCONGCA OUT – 55
8.Yoann GOURCUFF – R     6.MacBeth SIBAYA  
9.Djibril CISSE OUT – 55   8.Siphiwe TSHABALALA  
11.Andre Pierre GIGNAC OUT – 46   9.Katlego MPHELA  
17.Sebastien SQUILLACI     10.Steven PIENAAR  
18.Alou DIARRA OUT – 82   17.Bernard PARKER OUT – 68
19.Abou DIABY - Y     20.Bongani KHUMALO  
22.Gael CLICHY     23.Thanduyise KHUBONI OUT – 78
         
Subs     Subs  
10.Sidney GOVOU IN – 82   11.Teko MODISE IN – 78
12.Thierry HENRY IN – 55   2.Siboniso GAXA IN – 55
15.Florent MALOUDA IN – 46   18.Siyabonga NOMVETE IN – 68

MY THOUGHTS

This was the game that everyones eyes were on, a goal for either Uruguay or Mexico and a 5 nil victory for South Africa would see the wonderful fairytale story and see Bafana Bafana progress to the Last 16.

They couldn’t have asked for a better start, probably against the run of play they won a corner, Lloris flopped and Khumalo rose highest and headed the ball into the net, Gourcuff was then sent off for an elbow in Sibaya face, harsh decicsion but adding to SA’s cause, 8 minutes before Half Time they were 2-0 up, Modise found space on the left and crossed the ball for Mphela despite a attempted clearance from Clichy, Mphela managed to bundle the ball over the line.

Unfortunately this was the cloest they got to advance, the second half was a tighter affair and they couldn’t add to the tally, and it was France that scored, Ribery charged down the left and he crossed for Florent Malouda he scored France’s only goal of the World Cup.

There is noone I would like to pick out from this French team, it was another poor performance, and Laurent Blanc has lots of work to do.

South Africans should hold their head high today, a great performance showed passion and desire and maybe just lacked the ability to follow through on a great start, Tshabalala was busy and I really like the look of him and would love to see him in Europe Italy/Spain perhaps, Mphela played well, akin to his performance in the first game against Mexico and I was glad he got his goal. Sibaya and Khuboni started in the middle and showed a good account for themselves, good passing and strength, Pienaar didn’t have a great game, and has not had a great World Cup which is a big shame.

A really exciting group, going down to the last minutes, you have to say the best two teams have gone through, it is always a shame to see the hosts going out, I will miss the pre-match sing-a-long.

NIGERIA

2

 

KOREA REPUBLIC

2

Kalu UCHE (12′)     LEE Jung Soo (38′)  
Yakubu AYEGBENI (69′PEN)     PARK Chu Young (49′)  
         
1.Vincent ENYEAMA – Y     18.JUNG Sung Ryong  
2.Joseph YOBO OUT – 46   4.CHO Yong Hyung  
4.Nwankwo KANU OUT – 57   7.PARK Ji Sung  
5.Rabiu AFOLABI     8.KIM Jung Woo  
6.Danny SHITTU     10.PARK Chu Young  OUT – 93
8.Yakubu AYEGBENI OUT – 70   12.LEE Young Pyo  
12.Kala UCHE     14.LEE Jung Soo  
13.Yussuf AYILA – Y     16.KI Sung Yueng OUT – 86 
17.Chidi ODIAH     17.LEE Chung Yong  
19.Chinedu Ogbuke OBASI – Y     19.YEOM KI Hun  OUT – 63
20.Dickson ETUHU     22.CHA Du Ri  
         
Subs     Subs  
9.Obafemi MARTINS IN – 57   5.KIM Nam Il – Y IN – 64
18.Victor OBINNA IN – 70   13.KIM Jae Sung IN – 87
21.Uwe ECHIEJILE IN – 46   15.KIM Dong Jin IN – 93
         

MY THOUGHTS

Really enjoyed this game, 2 teams battling for a place in the last 16 and it showed, a back and forward game, Nigeria started the better of the two and were in charge, South Korea fell asleep for a second Odiah charged down the right, crossed the ball in, Cha Du-Ri was left sleeping at the back post and Kalu Uche was there to finish it off. I expected Nigeria to charge on with the wind in their sails this wasn’t to be, 7 minutes before half time Korea won a free kick near the byline, Celtic’s Ki played in a lovely ball everyone missed it but Lee Jung-Soo, he stooped to head it, but it bounced off his shin and into the net, Korea back in the qualification place.

Korea came out in the 2nd half looking in charge and their midfield was out playing the Nigerians, and it was Park Cho-Young that grabbed the second, a free kick 25 yards out, Enyeama took a step to his right, behind his ball and Park curled the ball into the bottom corner, great free-kick but you have to point blame at the keeper, that was has area to cover.

We then saw the worst miss of maybe not just the World Cup but of all time, Obasi beat his man down the left crossed the ball, Yakubu was unmarked 4 yards from goal and he managed to put the ball wide that old cliché “easier to miss” doesn’t do it justice, 5 mins later Nigeria won a penalty, substitute Kim Nam-Il got beat  on the right and he blatantly kicked the legs away from Obasi, no doubt a penalty, I was shocked that Yakubu stepped up to take it, but credit to him, he calmly put the ball past Jung and brought the game level, one more goal and Nigeria would be through. It wasn’t to be though, Korea saw the game out and booked a place in the Last 16 for the first time in a tournament outside their own country.

Some good performances Yakubu was lively Uche and Obasi had a lot of success on the wings, Yussuf was a battler in the middle of the park and was surprised he made it to 41 minutes without being booked.

Cho and Lee in defence looked impressive again it was a shame the fullbacks didn’t back them up and that’s where the goals came from.

The midfield trio of Park, Ki and Kim again impressed, they very rarely lost the ball and can all pick a pass, which is then backed up with the pace of Lee Chung-Yong on the right wing and the tireless running of Park Cho-Young he has had a great World Cup so far, always gives the Centre Backs he plays against a game and cause problems.

I wanted South Korea to go through and I’m glad they held on, noone can say they don’t deserve it.

GREECE 0   ARGENTINA 2
      Martin DEMICHELLIS (77′)  
      Martin PALERMO (89′)  
         
12.Alexandros TZORVAS     22.Sergio ROMERO  
5.Vangelis MORAS     2.Martin DEMICHELIS  
6.Alexandros TZIOLIS     3.Clemente RODRIGUEZ  
7.Georgios SAMARAS     4.Nicolas BURDISSO  
8.Avraam PAPADOPOULOS     5.Marco BOLATTI – Y  
10.Georgios KARAGOUNIS – C OUT – 46   8.Juan VERON  
11.Loukas VYNTRA     10.Lionel MESSI  
15.Vasileios TOROSIDIS OUT – 55   15.Nicolas OTAMENDI  
16.Sotirios KYRGIAKOS     16.Sergio AGUERO OUT – 77
17.Theofanis GEKAS     19.Diego MILITO OUT – 80
21.Konstantinos KATSOURANIS – Y OUT – 54   20.Maxi RODRIGUEZ OUT – 63
         
Subs     Subs  
3.Christos PATSATZOGLU IN – 55   7.Angel DI MARIA IN – 63
4.Nikos SPIROPOULOS IN – 46   18.Martin PALERMO IN – 80
18.Sotiris NINIS IN – 64   23.Javier PASTORE IN – 77

MY THOUGHTS

From the Greeks tactics and performance on show you would have thought a draw would have been enough for them to go through, not the case, they had to win, I would guess the tactics were keep it level for 70 minutes and then have a go, not the greatest spectacle but for 77 mins it worked.

Messi was manmarked by Papadopoulos who did a great job in keeping the Wonderkid under wraps and frustrated him. Veron had a good game with Messi tied up he took charge on the ball trying to control the game, still has classs on the ball but couldn’t find a better pass, Clemente Rodriguez played very well on the left, always looking to get forward and attack but without compromising his position most attacks that led to a shot came through Clemente.

Argentina broke the deadlock with 13 minutes to go, the corner came in Demichelis got his head to it, it was blocked but he managed to get the second attempt and this time it was a goal, a much deserved Argentina goal. Then just before the end a bit of a World Cup moment 36 year old Martin Palermo had come on, and with nearly his first touch scored his first World Cup goal, Messi had made a great run, his shot blocked it fell to Palermo and he sidefooted the ball past Tzorvas, you could see the delight on his face and the rest of his teammates too, a nice touch.

So Argentina win the group and South Korea in second, undoubtably the best two teams in the group, that sets up the last 16 matches of ARGENTINA  v MEXICO and URUGUAY SOUTH KOREA should be two good game, Argentina v mexico could be a classic, two attacking teams hopefully going at it, and it also means either Uruguay or South Korea will be in the last eight, what an incentive that is, I would predict victories for Argentina and Uruguay but the way this World Cup is going don’t rule out the upsets.

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