Sunday – June 13th, 2010
Algeria vs. Slovenia review
After the US and England tie, whoever won this one would have a much better shot at grabbing a spot (Though neither should). When I said this wouldn’t be a boring game, I didn’t mean it would be beautiful. This was an ugly first half. Many mistakes from both sides and inaccurate passes limited the chances each had at scoring. Algerian Halliche’s header on the 35th minute and Slovenian Birsa’s shot on the 43rd were the closest each got to changing the score, but at the end of the half it was scoreless, and rightfully so. Oh, and there’s a player on Slovenia’s bench named Penik….just thought you should know that. At the start of the second half, it was more of the same, though Slovenia did start taking more chances. Halfway through though, it was Algeria with the momentum, trying to get things going with crosses to Ghezzal. And it was in one of those crosses that Ghezzal lunged at the ball, with his hand, and got his second yellow and was sent off at the 73rd minute mark. Algeria, now with 10 men, tried to secure its defense while Slovenia tried to attack. Six minutes later, in an innocent looking shot, Slovenian Koren sent a shot diagonally and Algeria’s goalkeeper couldn’t stop it. At the 84th minute, Penik came into the game… Algeria then tried to go after the tie in a frantic, discombobulated way, but to no avail. End of game. Score: 0-1.
Serbia vs. Ghana review
This game was the complete opposite to the previous, thankfully. From Serbia’s shot five seconds in to Ghana’s dangerous free kick reply, it was a hectic start. They both have quality, realize that this match could define second place and came prepared. Serbia and Ghana had good scoring chances and both comitted hard fouls, overall, it was a very disputed and entertaining first half. The exciting pace continued in the second half, with both teams seeming to get closer to scoring. By the 15th minute though, it was Ghana who was able to put a continued pressure on Serbia, with Ayew’s kick at the 56th minute, Gyan hitting the post at the 60th, Tagoe at the 61st and Asamoah at the 62nd. In a game as exciting and challenged as this, yellow cards are sure to come and they did, especially for Serbia’s Lukovic, who got his second and was sent off at the 74th minute. You’d think that now, Ghana would go all-out attack, right? But no, for the next minutes, the game was still balanced, Serbia even had a great chance, among others, with Krasic’s fantastic shot at minute 79. It was on the 83rd minute that there would be a score though. Serbia’s defender, Kuzmanovic, deflected the ball with his hand and penalty was rightly called. Ghana’s Gyan kick went one way, the goalie the other, and Ghana took a 1-0 lead. Still Serbia was able to stay in the game, creating dangerous situations throughout but it was Gyan again who almost scored in extra time with a kick off the post. Unfortunately, this game had to end, and it did with Ghana as winners, clearly the best game to watch yet. I had chosen Ghana to take second place and yet chose Serbia to win; again, I don’t know why I do these things, stupid brain. Score: 0-1.
Germany vs. Australia review
Germany obviously were the favorites, though you couldn’t exactly count out the Australians, after all, 14 of the 23 players were part of that 2006 squad that reached Round of 16. And right at the start, in the 4th minute, the Australians had their chance with Garcia kicking off Germany’s defender Lahm off a corner kick. The Germans though quickly recomposed themselves and went on to dominate the half. At the 8th minute, Podolski sent a bomb than the Australian goalkeeper, Schwarzer, couldn’t keep out. The Germans later followed that with a brilliant cross by Lahm at the 26th minute, Klose anticipated Schwarzer with a header to score his goal. With a two goal lead, Germany worked with more patience while Australia lacked the quality and talent to threaten the Germans too much. Oh, just thought you should know, they Germans have a guy named Butt on their bench…so yea…The start of the second half started much in the same way. At the 56th minute though, Australia’s arguably best player on the field, Cahill, received a red card for a sliding tackle on Germany’s Schweinsteiger. Germany took full advantage of the extra man and added two goals: Muller’s 68th minute shot off the post and in and Cacau’s 70th minute touch in front of the goal. After that, the Germans administrated the game, while the Australian hoped it ended. Score: 4-0.
Monday – June 14th, 2010 Preview
Netherlands vs. Denmark (7:30 AM EST.)
The Netherlands are the clear favorite to win this group. They’ve always fallen short in the elimination stage, but definitely not in groups. Look for them to dominate this match and put pressure on Denmark’s defense. The Danish however will be a bit of a mystery, will they stink it up like Greece did, or play a smart, safe, defensive match? Prediction: Netherlands win.
Japan vs. Cameroon (10 AM EST.)
Like I said in the group previews, Japan’s team does not impress me. I don’t think they will be horrible, but I also think they lack the talent to make some noise in this group. Cameroon is the superior side here and should win though it wouldn’t be a major surprise if the Japanese could squeak in a tie. Prediction: Cameroon win.
Italy vs. Paraguay (2:30 PM EST.)
This should be a good game to watch, and a disputed one at that since both are the favorites to come out of the group. Both sides can play defense and score, however Italy is just a tad bit superior, look for them to win it by one goal. Prediction: Italy win.