World Cup: Day 8

With the French failing to beat Mexico yesterday and the inspiring Greek comeback over Nigeria, the World Cup spirit is truly in motion.

Today we’ve got the German football machine taking on a stubborn Serbian side, while the USA tries to build off their momentum and beat a dark horse Slovenia side that currently leads Group C.

The final match of the day features England facing Algeria, in a match that will either be a complete blow out or a stalemate of epic proportions. Rumours have Emile Heskey keeping his job up front, while Fabio Capello will drop Robert Green in favour of the recovered David James.

Germany 0 – 1 Serbia

After their destruction of Australia in their first match, the Media and pundits alike went crazy for the Germans and predicted an easy march to the finals for the European football giants, however, a Serbian side featuring a tough backline was determined to cause an upset.

After a red card to Golden Boot striker Miroslav Klose brought the Germans crashing back to reality, Serbia took a lead when Milan Jovanovic fired home in the 38th minute.

Germany should have equalised after Nemanja Vidic handballed in the box, but a clearly nervous and unconfident Lukas Podolski stepped up and missed from the penalty spot, it was Germany`s second ever missed penalty shot in the World Cup and the first was back in 1974.

Serbia would hold on and cause one of the biggest upsets in the World Cup, and left Germany needing a victory against Ghana next week to guarantee their progression through.

Man Of The Match: Nemanja Vidic

Slovenia 2 – 2 USA

Still motivated from their opening draw with England, the USA came out swinging with a tonne of pressure and showing the aggression that has become a mainstay of American football.

Against the run of play, Slovenia that took an early lead in the 13th from a brilliant shot by Valter Birsab and when Zlatan Ljubijankic added a second just before half time it looked as though Slovenia was going through easily to the next round.

USA coach Bob Bradley made a double substitution at the half, bringing on Maurice Edu and Benny Feilhaber to give the side a stronger attacking intent. The move paid off instantly, with Landon Donavon scoring in the 48th minute, putting the Slovenians on the backfoot and motivating his side.

Michael Bradley then equalised for the USA in the 82nd minute after tremendous pressure and it looked certain that they would score another, completely outplaying their Slovenia counterparts. Drama would ensure when Edu scored off of a penalty kick but for no obvious reasons, the referee called back the goal, deflating the Americans with the game ending in a 2-2 draw.

Man Of The Match: Maurice Edu

England 0 – 0 Algeria

After an extremely disappointing result against the USA in their first match, the pressure was immense for the Three Lions to come out and prove critics wrong with a big win against a hard-tackling Algeria.

This match may have been the most disappointing match I have seen England play and that includes our crushing losses to Croatia that saw the boys not qualify for Euro 2008.

England looked uninspired and lacked any attacking presence going forward, Wayne Rooney looked sluggish and uninterested, while Frank Lampard decided not to show up for the second match in a row.

If not for David James (Still in shock I just wrote that), Algeria would have taken a two or three goal lead and fully controlled the game for much of the ninety minutes.

On his 64th birthday, it was scary to imagine how Fabio Capello could have gotten his tactics so wrong for the second match in the row and one has to ask what Joe Cole has done to not see a minute of action to date. Jermaine Defoe came on in the 74th minute and showed some life, while Peter Crouch had six minutes of action that gave him just enough time to settle in.

The fans rightfully booed as the match closed out a nil-nil draw, and the result left millions of fans back home wondering if we would crash out of the group stage. It`s terrifying to think that the England squad could be home in time to see more than one British player still competing in Wimbledon, however, if the team plays the same way it will be early baths for the lads.

Man Of The Match: David James


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