Brent Atema stands in as host along with guests Euan Marshall and Ed Malyon to discuss the action in the Copa America Group Stages.

Best moments, players, goals etc are all up for discussion. And they also look forward to the Knock-out stages.

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As we look ahead to July’s Copa America, here’s the final part of our preview by the wonderful Ed Malyon, looking at Group C.

What could have been the most open and competitive group has been weakened by the fact that this won’t be a full Mexico side competing in the Copa America. As a CONCACAF member they are required to play their strongest squad possible in the Gold Cup being held in the USA in June. Therefore, the squad is largely made up of under-22s, and further affected by the drug suspensions handed out to several Mexican internationals in early June.

read more »


The game that no one wants to play in, but seems the game that everyone scores in, averaging just under 4 goals in the 3rd/4th place playoff with the pressure off the players usually shack the shackles off and entertain the fans, Everyone was hoping for the same outcome tonight, the Underdogs Uruguay trying to finish off a wonderful World Cup with the bronze medal, and the Germans looking to emulate 2006 and pick up the 3rd place, I was just hoping for goals goals goals.






Edison CAVANI (28′)     Thomas MULLER (18′)  
Diego FORLAN (51′)     Marcell JANSEN (56′)  
      Sami KHEDIRA (82′)  
1.Fernando MUSLERA     22.Hans Jorg BUTT  
2.Diego LUGANO     2.Marcell JANSEN OUT – 81
3.Diego GODIN     3.Arne FRIEDRICH- Y  
4.Jorge FUCILE     4.Dennis AOGO – Y  
7.Edinson CAVANI OUT – 88   6.Sami KHEDIRA  
9.Luis SUAREZ     7.Bastian SCHWEINSTEIGER  
10.Diego FORLAN     8.Mesut ÖZIL OUT – 91
15.Diego PEREZ – Y OUT – 77   13.Thomas MULLER  
16.Maximiliano PEREIRA     17.Per MERTESACKER  
17.Egidio AREVALO     19.CACAU – Y OUT – 73
22.Martin CACERES     20.Jerome BOATENG  
Subs     Subs  
5.Walter GARGANO IN – 77   1.Manuel NEUER  
6.Mauricio VICTORINO     12.Tim WIESE INJ
8.Sebastian EGUREN     5.Serdar TASCI IN – 91
11.Alvaro Pereira     9.Stefan KIEßLING IN – 73
12.Juan CASTILLO     10.Lucas PODOLSKI  
13.Sebastian ABREU IN – 88   11.Miroslav KLOSE  
14.Nicolas LODEIRO INJ   14.Holger BADSTUBER  
18.Ignacio GONZALEZ     15.Piotr TROCHOWSKI  
19.Andres SCOTTI     16.Philipp LAHM INJ
20.Alvaro FERNANDEZ     18.Toni KROOS IN – 81
21.Sebastian FERNANDEZ     21.Marko MARIN  
23.Martin SILVA     23.Mario GOMEZ  

A good match, I must say I had it on but fleeted in and out of total concentration, Germany took the early lead, Schweinsteiger’s shot saved by Muslera but fumbled and Muller was first to react and placed the ball into the net, 10 minutes later it was 1-1 my man of the tournament Diego Forlan fed in Edison Cavani and he finished calmly his first goal of the World Cup and very well deserved. All square at half-time and the game was not disappointing.

The second half started even better, Arevarlo Rios made an uncharacteristic run down the right picked out Forlan with his cut-back and Forlan lashed the volley with his right foot and Hans-Jorg Butt could only watch it sweep past him, superb goal from a superb player. The Germans equalised from an unlikely source, Jerome Boateng playing at right back swung in a very tempting cross and Marcell Jansen rose highest caught Muslera flapping and he got his head on the ball and it glided into the empty net.

As good as it is to see goals, I don’t think anyone wanted Extra-Time and the Germans duly obliged, Ozil’s corner wasn’t cleared and Khedira got a head on it and it floated over Muslera and into the net.

Now I said a second ago we didn’t want ET, that was until with the last kick of the ball Uruguay won a free kick on the edge of the area, Diego Forlan stood over it, a goal and we would have another 30 minutes, however Forlan would have his sixth goal and would stand on top of the Golden Boot standings, the World held their breathe, Diego stepped up and…..smashed the crossbar, so close, the game was over, an exciting night, if only the final is as good as this.


Not going to pick out players on this game as it’s more like a pre-season friendly but over the tournament I’ll pick out some players.

For me Uruguay’s best players have been Jorge Fucile, Maxi Pereira, Arevarlo Rios, Diego Perez, Adriano Pereira and Diego Forlan.

Fucile and M.Pereira have been fantastic at full back, Fucile’s tackling has been on point, never looked vulnerable, Maxi has gotten forward at all times, but defended well also, Rios and Perez have been the bouncers in front of the Uruguay backline, not letting many people pass, I can’t remember any goal against them that has come from a break through the middle of the Uruguay midfield, mostly crosses or Muslera fumbles.

And of course Diego Forlan has just been superb, he has tamed the Jabulani ball, scored spectacular goals, set up his team mates, and just seems an all-round top top guy, if you’re on twitter you should follow @DiegoForlan7  for a lovely insight into a great player. 

For Germany: Friedrich, Lahm, Schweinsteiger, Khedira, Ozil, and Muller.

Friedrich at 31 probably playing his last World Cup Boateng and Aogo will be gunning for his spot, but he’s had a great tournament, not listened to the weak link thoughts of many pundits and just gone about his job, very solid.

Captain Lahm has been mercurial at right back, always calm on the ball, moving the game forward, maybe not as expansive as in previous years but just a quality defender.

Schweni and Khedira have impressed everyone, pressure on both of them with Ballack being ruled out and my have they rose to the occasion, both knowing when to sit and when to attack, Sami’s runs from deep have been impressive and Bastian’s reading of the game has looked World Class at times, having the skill and speed to escape danger, he’s still young and can only get better.

I had seen Mesut Ozil a few times before the World Cup for Weder and the German Under 21’s but he was still a relative unknown and at times he’s had a great tournament, disappeared against Spain which shows his youth, however I have nothing but high hopes for Mesut.

Surprise of the Tournament for me has been Thomas Muller, wasn’t convinced by him at Bayern, 20 years old and has announced himself to the World stage, 5 goals in 6 games, very athletic, powerful player, good on the ball, loves to break forward, can’t wait to see more of him for Bayern Munich.

Two teams that have surpassed pre-Tournament predictions, Germany at one point everyone’s favourite, my favourites for 2014 now, I’ve got high hopes for Uruguay too, Under 20 World finalists so there are players coming through I hope they can qualify for 2014 as they could shock everyone again.


Well we’re down to 4 teams, 3 Europeans, 1 South American, 2 teams that have won it before, 2 that are European Champions but never won the main prize, 1 team with a star striker suspended another with a star striker not playing at his best and his place being questioned, 4 countries with fans that will be on the end of their seat in the next 48 hours, unfortunately only two of them can make the final, no disgrace for the loser, but the World Cup Final is surely still the pinnacle that all players would love to play in, isn’t it?






Diego FORLAN (41′)     Giovanni VAN BRONCKHORST (18′)  
Maxi PEREIRA (90+2′)     Wesley SNEIJDER (70′)  
      Arjen ROBBEN (73′)  
1.Fernando MUSLERA     1.Maarten STEKELENBERG  
3.Diego GODIN     3.John HEITINGA  
5.Walter GARGANO     4.Joris MATHIJSEN  
6.Mauricio VICTORINO     5.Giovanni VAN BRONCKHORST – C  
7.Edinson CAVANI     6.Mark VAN BOMMEL – Y  
10.Diego FORLAN – C OUT – 84   7.Dirk KUYT  
11.Alvaro Pereira OUT – 78   9.Robin VAN PERSIE  
15.Diego PEREZ     10.Wesley SNEIJDER – Y  
16.Maximiliano PEREIRA – Y     11.Arjen ROBBEN OUT – 89
17.Egidio AREVALO     12.Khalid BOULAHROUZ – Y  
22.Martin CACERES – Y     14.Demy DE ZEEUW OUT – 46
Subs     Subs  
2.Diego LUGANO     16.Michel VORM  
4.Jorge FUCILE  SUS   22.Sander BOSCHKER  
8.Sebastian EGUREN     2.Gregory VAN DER WIEL  SUS
9.Luis SUAREZ  SUS   8.Nigel DE JONG  SUS
12.Juan CASTILLO     13.Andre OOIJER  
13.Sebastian ABREU IN – 78   15.Edson BRAAFHEID  
14.Nicolas LODEIRO  INJ   17.Eljero ELIA IN – 89
18.Ignacio GONZALEZ     18.Stijn SCHAARS  
19.Andres SCOTTI     19.Ryan BABEL  
20.Alvaro FERNANDEZ     20.Ibrahim AFELLAY  
21.Sebastian FERNANDEZ IN – 84   21.Klass Jan HUNTELAAR  
23.Martin SILVA     23.Rafael VAN DER VAART IN – 46

What a really good game, it probably only had about 15-20 minutes that it went a bit stale, when it got going it really got going. Some more superb goals, some questionable decisions and a grand stand finish. The Oranje took the lead on 18 minutes, a nice passing move led Sneijder to lay the ball of to van Bronckhorst he had a look up and tried his luck, and what a try it was an absolute missile into the top corner Muslera got a finger to it but it wasn’t enough, a great goal to kick off the game. Uruguay had possibly been the better team before the goal looking the more comfortable on the ball, the goal settled the Dutch down and they went about trying to find a second. The game looked to be staying the same towards the break, that was until Diego Forlan decided to grace us with another World Cup beauty, putting the ball onto his unfancied left foot, he let rip and the swerve caught Stekelenberg off guard and he could only get a hand onto it and watch it ripple the net.

For 15 minutes the second half was a very cagey affair both teams seeming to know what was up for grabs and the tension stalled the game a little, then in a bit of a strange moment Sneijder found some space on the edge of the box, he tried to curl an effort it came off a defender just missed van Persie’s foot and beat Muslera to the near post, the goal seemed to stun everyone, Uruguay fans couldn’t see how the ball had beat their goalie and the Dutch were shocked to be in the lead again. Then came what would be the killer blow, Kuyt free on the left got the ball onto his right and crossed a teasing ball in, Robben had found a great position and a lovely header back towards the near post had Muslera beaten all ends up and it sent the Dutch fans delirious with delight, surely they were going to their first World Cup final since 1974.

Uruguay had 17 minutes to save their tournament but it came all little too little, they won a free kick on the 90th minute it was put wide to Maxi Pereira he cut inside onto his left foot and curled a lovely shot past Stekelenberg a great goal but not enough to save the boys from Montevideo, the next three minutes saw Uruguay set siege upon the Dutch goal and in the last seconds Gargano nearly found some space to craft a shot but he was smothered and couldn’t get the shot off, the ball was then cleared and to every Dutch fans relief the referee blew his whistle and sent their team in the Final, the favourites had staved off the underdogs fight a most enjoyable game, much better than semi-finals usually produce.


Players of the game for me were Robben and Sneijder for the Dutch, and Forlan, Cavani and Adriano Pereira for Uruguay, Robben had an excellent game, started on the right, drifted to the left at times, and he was a constant threat his pace means you have to respect the distance you keep from him, but his skill means you don’t want to give him time on the ball, I thought Caceres and Pereira did well to contain him at times but you are never going to keep him quiet for 90 minutes, scoring an unchareteristic header, he had a couple of other half chances, but when your Arjen Robben just being on the pitch causes teams problems.

Sneijder again was the architect of the Dutch attacks, always open for a pass, great sense of where the space is on the field, another goals that makes it 5 for the tournament, maybe another own goals, but you don’t get the luck unless you have a go and he is going to get shots off and create chances, he has been one of the players of the tournament and it was evidentaly clear why by tonights performance.

Forlan spearheaded the uruguay attack and probably by his standards he had a quiet night, but his goal was superb and he is just a quality footballer, he missed Suarez, Suarez being in the middle allows Diego to drift, and Cavani and Forlan are quite similar in that way which doesn’t always work upfront, at times Cavani made some superb runs without the ball I was screaming at the TV for Pereira and Forlan to try and find him but it’s easy to see these passes when your not there on the pitch, he impressed me with his movement.

Adriano Pereira ran a tireless shift tonight given the job to help Careces on the left back spot when needed but then asked to bomb forward and protect the front two, a thankless task but he did it without complaint for the 78 minutes he was on the pitch.

Uruguay played very well and should be proud, maybe 2 quality players away from being a superb team, if they had a midfielder was great ability I would back them to go all the way, with Forlan they have a World Class forward, look forward to seeing how they progress for the Copa America, The Dutch again won the game without playing superb football but it was good enough to win the game and that’s what matters, they seem to be hotting up at the right time, I think they would prefer the grudge match with the Germans, but both Opponents will test their defence.

You can’t ask for more than 5 goals in a Semi-Final and I really hope tomorrow’s game lives up to the expectation, but usually they don’t.


So I haven’t actually gave any predictions for tonight and tomorrow, so here we go.


I’m going for 2-1 Netherlands probably after extra time.


I think the Germans the will roll on and win this match going for 3-1, they will score first Spain will attack and get caught out again, then pile on the pressure score to make it 2-1 but again the Germans will nick a third.

That would make it NETHERLANDS v GERMANY final


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.






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

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.






Diego FORLAN (55′)     Sulley MUNTARI (45+2′)  
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  
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      


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.


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.


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.






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      


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.






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


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.


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.



      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      


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.

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


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.






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


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.

      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


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.


Personally the most disappointing day of the World Cup for me, was back at work today, so having to watch the games while working is not the best way to assess players and how they play, my plan was to record the games and watch them all back, however leaving the house today I forgot to set the recording, so the South Africa v Uruguay game, is the only one I’ve got to watch in all it’s HD glory, and it’s hard to watch games when you already know the score and in an office of football fans, so just gonna have to bear with it and watch as much as I can.






      Jean BEAUSEJOUR (34′)  
18.Noel VALLADARES     1.Claudio BRAVO  
2.Osman CHAVAZ     3.Waldo PONCE  
3.Maynor FIGUEROA     4.Mauricio ISLA  
7.Ramon NUNEZ OUT – 78   6.Carlos CARMONA – Y  
8.Wilson PALACIOS - Y     7.Alexis SANCHEZ  
9.Carlos PAVON OUT – 60   8.Arturo VIDAL OUT – 81
13.Roger ESPINOZA     10.Jorge VALDIVIA OUT – 87
17.Edgar ALVAREZ     14.Matias FERNANDEZ - Y  
20.Amado GUEVARA OUT – 66   15.Jean BEAUSEJOUR  
21.Emilio IZAQUIRRE     17.Gary MEDEL  
23.Sergio MENDOZA     20.Rodrigo MILLAR OUT – 52
Subs     Subs  
1.Ricardo CANALES     2.Ismael FUENTES  
4.Johnny PALACIOS     5.Pablo CONTRERAS IN – 81
5.Victor BERNARDEZ     9.Humberto SUAZO  
6.Hendry THOMAS IN – 66   11.Mark GONZALEZ IN – 87
10.Jerry PALACIOS     12.Miguel PINTO  
11.David SUAZO     13.Marco ESTRADA  
12.Georgie WELCOME IN – 60   16.Fabian ORELLANA  
14.Oscar Boniek GARCIA     18.Gonzalo JARA IN – 52
15.Walter MARTINEZ IN – 78   19.Gonzalo FIERRO  
16.Mauricio SABILLON     21.Rodrigo TELLO  
19.Danilo TURCIOS     22.Esteban PAREDES  
22.Donis ESCOBER     23.Luis MARIN  


Was really impressed with the football Chile played today, they 3-1-3-3 formation Bielsa plays worked an absolute treat, when they were going forward at times the man on the ball had 6 players in front of him to pass to, the players always kept moving, the passing and movement was great, Honduras did their best and showed they are no light-weights trying to hit Chile on the break whenever they could, they just didn’t have the quality to take advantage.

Valladares made one of the best saves not even in this tournament but EVER! Chile looked certain to make it 2-0 but Valladares’s diving save kept his team in the game giving them a chance to earn a point, however his efforts were in vain, the Premier League duo of Palacios and Figueroa weren’t impressive Maynor playing at Centre Back and not on the left as usual, Honduras missed the talents of David Suazo the pacey stiker would have made a big difference.

Can’t say how much Chile impressed me today Sanchez, Valdivia, Fernandez and Vidal all played superbly, Valdivia deputising for qualification top scorer Humberto Suazo impressed never seen him before, but he looked more like a playmaker than a striker, coming off the front to create chances, the best player on the pitch was Alexis Sanchez, fast, tricky very very skillful he was a trouble for the Hondurian’s all game, was unlucky not to score, but if he plays like that in the next two games, I can’t see him not scoring.






      Gelson FERNANDES (52′)  
1.Iker CASILLAS     1.Diego BENAGLIO – Y  
3.Gerard PIQUE     2.Stephane LICHSTEINER  
5.Carles PUYOL     4.Philippe SENDEROS OUT – 36
6.Andres INIESTA OUT – 77   6.Benjamin HUGGEL  
7.David VILLA     7.Tranquillo BARNETTA OUT – 92
8.XAVI     8.Gokhan INLER  
11.Joan CAPDEVILA     10.Blaise N’KUFO  
14.Xavi ALONSO     13.Stephane GRICHTING – Y  
15.Sergio RAMOS     16.Gelson FERNANDES  
16.Sergio BUSQUETS OUT – 61   17.Reto ZIEGLER – Y  
21.David SILVA OUT – 62   19.Eren DERDIYOK OUT – 79
Subs     Subs  
2.Raul ALBOIL     12.Marco WOEFLI  
4.Carlos MARCHENA     21.Johnny LEONI  
9.Fernando TORRES IN – 61   3.Ludovic MAGNIN  
10.Cesc FABERGAS     5.Steve VON BERGEN IN – 36
12.Victor VALDES     14.Marco PADOLINO  
13.Juan MATA     15.Hakin YAKIN – Y IN – 79
17.Alvaro ARBELOA     18.Albert BUNJAKU  
18.PEDRO IN – 77   20.Pirmin SCHWEGLER  
19.Fernando LLORENTE     22.Marco EGGIMANN IN – 92
20.Javi MARTINEZ     23.Xherdan SHAQIRI  
22.Jesus NAVAS IN – 62   9.Alexander FREI  
23.Pepe REINA     11.Valon BEHRAMI  


Well I don’t think anyone predicted this score today, a definite coupon buster, Spain threw pretty much everything at the Swiss defence 63% possession and 22 shots on goal, usually would be enough to win any match, however the defence unlike the cheese didn’t have any holes in it. Lichtsteiner, Von Bergen, Gritching and Ziegler were superb the whole game stopping the Spanish Armada finding any clear cut chances, most shots that got through were luckily aimed straight at keeper Benaglio.

Barnetta, Inler and Fernandes worked tirelessly in the midfield in defence and going forward, and when the chance arose Fernandes was there to snatch the dream start from the Spanish, N’Kufo played the target man job well causing Puyol and Pique problems and helping the team break forward.

Spain at times bombarded the Swiss box, Iniesta played very well bamboozaling the defence at times just unable to find that killer pass, Xavi Alonso played pretty well controlling the midfield most of the game and also rattled the crossbar with a rocket of a shot, Villa looked very isolated upfront on his own, not getting the service, there comes a time when crossing the ball into the middle of two tall centre backs just isn’t the answer anymore but Spain kept trying, Torres when he came on looked at about 60% fitness, I beleive Spain wouldn’t have tried him out till at least the 3rd group game.

Going to be very hard for Spain to win the group now and a potential meeting with Brazil could be on the horizon, and he would all love that.






      Diego FORLAN (24′, 80′ PEN)  
      Alvaro PEREIRA (90′ + 5)  
16.Itumeleng KHUNE – R     1.Fernando MUSLERA  
2.Siboniso GAXA     2.Diego LUGANO  
3.Tsepo MASILELA     3.Diego GODIN  
4.Aaron MOKOENA     4.Jorge FUCILE OUT – 71
8.Siphiwe TSHABALALA     7.Edinson CAVANI OUT – 89
9.Katlego MPHELA     9.Luis SUAREZ  
10.Steven PIENAAR – Y OUT – 79   10.Diego FORLAN  
11.Teko MODISE     11.Alvaro Pereira  
12.Reneilwe LETSHOLONYANE OUT – 57   15.Diego PEREZ OUT – 90
13.Kagisho DIKGACOI – Y     16.Maximiliano PEREIRA  
20.Bongani KHUMALO     17.Egidio AREVALO  
Subs     Subs  
1.Moneeb JOSEPHS IN – 79   5.Walter GARGANO IN – 90
5.Anele NGCONGCA     6.Mauricio VICTORINO  
6.MacBeth SIBAYA     8.Sebastian EGUREN  
7.Lance DAVIDS     12.Juan CASTILLO  
14.Matthew BOOTH     13.Sebastian ABREU  
15.Lucas THWALA     14.Nicolas LODEIRO  
17.Bernard PARKER     18.Ignacio GONZALEZ  
18.Siyabonga NOMVETE     19.Andres SCOTTI  
19.Surprise MORIRI IN – 57   20.Alvaro FERNANDEZ IN – 71
21.Siyabonga SANGWENI     21.Sebastian FERNANDEZ IN – 89
22.Shu-Aib WALTERS     22.Martin CACERES  
23.Thanduyise KHUBONI     23.Martin SILVA  


Not the best game ever but a fantastic night for Uruguyans, Forlan has played 2 fantastic games and led his team to potentially a place in the last 16, Forlan’s slightly deflected shot opened the scoring and broke South African hearts, the Bafana Bafana never recovered from this, they just never got going at any stage, the fire from the opening game was just never there, the cold Pretoria air seemed to cool down the hosts.

Tshabalala tried his best in the first half tryin to be the spark in the team, but a few shots he had went wayward, after this he went as cold as the air night, Pienaar and Modise were very quiet, Letholonyane and Dikacgoi were solid for most of the game but Dikacgoi the Fulham man lost his desire after his booking and never looked the same.

With the likes of Bernard Parker and Siyabonga Nomvete you would think Pareira would have changed it up and gave the hosts a chance, but he never did and now a win against France and other results going their way will save South Africa from becoming the first home nation from going out in the Group Stage.

The back four of Uruguay looked more comfortable than the three that played against France, with Diego Perez superb as the anchor man this gave the platform for Forlan, Suarez and Cavani to forge forward, as much as Forlan impressed Suarez was ineffectual, also going down under challenges too easily, I have been expecting more from the Ajax man, Cavani played better, looking to link up with his attack partners troubled the South African back line, a little flick on that helped Suarez win the penalty, but it was all about Forlan, he was superb, leading his team, the oldest man on the pitch was a pillar of experience, his goal spurnned himon, he stayed calm in the 5 minutes he had to wait to take his penalty in which he dispatched expertly, top scorer in the tournament, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he got 4 or 5 in South African.