World Cup: Day 13

It’s so long France and nice try South Africa after yesterday’s results and Mexico going on with Uruguay to the next round.

South Korea and Argentina will begoing through from Group B, with a disappointing Greek side going home and Nigeria not far behind.

Up today Group C has England against Slovenia and feisty Algeria up against the wall with USA their opponents. All four teams have a chance at going through, but it’s England and the USA being favorites to advance.

In Group D action, the Socceroos take on Serbia and the faltering German football machine faces a Ghana side that has real hopes of progressing in the tournament.

Slovenia 0 – 1 England

With reports of rifts in the camp, rumours of Fabio Capello leaving and John Terry calling out his manager for omiting Joe Cole in their first two matches, the Three Lions had alot to prove against group leading Slovenia.

The Italian Maestro made three lineup changes and introduced Jermaine Defoe upfront in place of Emile Heskey, Mathew Upson in for Jamie Carragher at centerback and James Milner on the wing for a lacklustre Aaron Lennon.

From the very fist kick of the ball, England showed a passion and intensity that had been lacking in their first two matches. Slovenia looked hardpressed to find an answer for the pinpoint passing and hardly touched the ball in the first half.

The changes paid early dividends, with Jermaine Defoe finding the back of the net in the 22nd minute and he could have had his hat-trick before halftime, but narrowly missed a number of chances.

England continued just a strong after the half and once again Defoe missed a chance up close, in the second half Capello took off Wayne Rooney for Joe Cole and although the Manchester United striker did not hit the back of the net, he played a great game.

The only complaint for England fans will be Emile Heskey coming onto the pitch for Defoe in the 86th minute, leaving many wondering what Heskey would do without Rooney on the pitch.

Although they showed complete supremacy over their opponents, the team will be most happy over their dominant defensive display. John Terry had a number of impressive tackles and coupled that with some daring blocked shots.

Man of the Match: John Terry

USA 1 – 0 Algeria

The underdog story has paid off for the USA and a win against Algeria would allow them to go through to the next round in first place and avoid a possible matchup with Germany.

The Americans started well and carried much of the play, while Algeria looked dangerous on the counter-attack and had a few near misses. In what it appears is now USA tradition, they had a clearly legal goal called back and this seemed to boost the Algerian players.

However, at the exact moment that the final whistle blew in Port Elizabeth, it was Landon Donovan who took the ball and slotted it home to give them the goal they needed to advance. The final scoreline stood at 1-nil and it meant that they’d end up top of the table, with England finishing second in Group C.

Man Of The Match: Landon Donovan

Australia 2 – 1 Serbia

The Socceroos were the underdogs in Group D, but after a strong performance against Ghana, they were a much different side against Serbia.

The game was slow and chess-like in the first half, but in the second half Tim Cahill sparked his team and the entire Australian squad seemed to play with a passion that had been lacking for the first forty-five minutes. Returning from a red-card suspension, Cahill put the Aussies ahead with a trademark header in the 69th minute and when Brett Holman added another four minutes later it was jubilation for the underdogs.

Serbia pulled a goal back in the 84th minute, but the Australians got the win they deserved and will be more than happy with their display in the World Cup.

Man Of The Match: Tim Cahill

Ghana 0 – 1 Germany

After a lacklustre performance in their loss against Serbia, Germany had a lot to prove against the upstart Ghana side that had put in strong performances in their first two matches.

Germany played as their usual dominant self and were unlucky to not be ahead going into the second half, but a resilient Ghana knew they needed one point to progress and seemed intent on keeping the scoreline at nil-nil apiece.

However, knowing that a nil-nil draw and a Serbia win would send them home, Germany came out with authority and after a number of near misses by Mesut Ozil, he finally hit the back of the net in the 60th minute and sealed his teams progression to the Round of 16.

Man Of the Match: Mesut Ozil


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