Algeria V Slovenia
Lets be honest if you were picking a match for most thrilling game of the World Cup this one wouldn't be it! The game didn't really spring to life in the first half, Belhadj looking dangerous down the left but that was pretty much it, with many misplaced passes and poor touches, unsurprisingly this lead to more conversations about the ball (which seems to become more and more of a topic at major tournaments). The first real chance came in the 44th min for Slovenia with Birsa curling a 25 yard shot that dipped nicely under the bar but ended up being a pretty standard save for the Algerian keeper Chaouchi. Sadly that was about the highlight of a pretty poor first half.
The first real action in the second half was Yebda taking a pot shot but being a pretty standard save, whilst on the hour mark Ghezzal got booked for shirt pulling, i timed him being on the pitch about 45 seconds - this wouldn't really be important but it was a very dull game and then in the 74 min Ghezzal decided to do something very foolish, trying for a diving header only to miss and try to control the ball with his hand which lead to his 2nd yellow card, a truly stupid sending off. Playing against then 10 men on the pitch the Slovenians were spurred on however the way the winning goal came about was horrific - the recently released Robert Koren let fly with a 20 yard shot that should have been a straight forward save but somehow the Algerian keeper Chaouchi decided to mimic Rob Green, putting his hands no where near the ball and somehow missing it completely watching it fly in to the goal! The match fizzled out into nothing but a foul fest after this, 2 yellow cards being shown in the space of 3 mins (including one for a lovely foul by Komac sending Belhadj flying theough the air).
Two interesting side notes for the game, first one being on the 68th min an Algerian fan tried escaping the boredom of the game by scaling a floodlight pylon only to be foiled by an army of security personnel. At some point in the game as well it kicked off in the press room with 2 Algerian journalists having a right barny with each other until the great Zinedine Zidane stepped in to calm things down (that's right, he's Algerian....) other than that a pretty boring game bar the red card and comical goal!
Star Man - um....really? Probably Robert Koren
Serbia V Ghana
This was a game i thought the attacking talents of Krasic, Jovanovic & Zigic would help Serbia to a win and confidently picked them to win 1-0. It was a much brighter start for this game than the previous one, Vidic's usual allergy to Fernando Torres kicking in with in 3 mins against Tagoe when the United center back scythed him down but nothing coming from the resulting free kick on the edge of the area. Serbia seemed to adopt an early plan of hitting it up to Zigic and then waiting for a flick or knock on to fall kindly to one of there attacking players. Ghana seemed to have more of the ball early on, carving what i thought would be a rock solid Serbian defence open with ease at some points, with Asamoah Gyan looking quite dangerous. The Serbian response was mainly from set pieces using the aerial threat of Zigic as a main focal point for attack but not really getting any where. As is the story with most of these games after a bright start things fizzled out and after about half an hour we saw the first appearance of the Mexican wave, a sure sign the game was getting slow. Not long after Serbia had there first shot on target coming from Inter Milan's Dejan Stankovic's simple shot squirming out of the Ghana keepers hands but he managed to recover and smother the ball. Random fact, Stankovic is the first player to represent 3 different countries at the World Cup, Yugoslavia, Serbia & Montenegro and finally just Serbia
The second half didn't start off a bit slower but 10 mins in Ayew should have scored with a free header from about 8 yards after some brilliant work by Tagoe on the right. A few mins later Zigic had a similar chance however somehow he failed to make any sort of contact, Birmingham fans won't be impressed with his performance. Gyan on the other hand, a player linked to Arsenal, Man Utd & A.C Milan in the past had a very impressive game and came with in inch's of scoring the opening goal just after the hour mark, beating the keeper with a nice header however it went just wide. Ghana seemed unable to break the deadlock and just as a 0-0 seemed on the cards another moment of madness (been a few so far) with Lukoivc being sent off for a 2nd yellow card after needlessly haling down Gyan just inside the Serbia half. Serbia bought on Subotic to replace Liverpool bound Jovanovic, who had a quiet game just like Krasic, and seemingly ready to sit back for a 0-0 draw which would have been likely had it not been for the incredible stupidity of Kuzmanovic who handled a cross in his own box under no pressure at all. Gyan stepped up and of course buried the penalty in the 84th min leaving Serbia stranded. They did try and create something in the last few mins but it was to no avail and lost 1-0, leaving Ghana in prime position to progress from the group
Star Man - By far Asamoah Gyan, looked lively and threatening, fully deserved his goal
Germany V Australia
To be honest i don't know what to say about this game, for those who don't know the Germans won 4-0 although that scoreline might have flattered them somewhat. The Germans did play some very nice football, with Philip Lahm standing out. The man replacing Michael Ballack as captain was involved in most of there attacking moves and was good defensively although that is the weaker part of his game (if there is one), but he was a constant threat from the right wing with his runs forward. The man that made everything tick though was Mesut Özil who was outstanding in the middle of the pitch, controlling everything with a deceptive ease given his young age - i read a report after he helped Germany beat England in the European U-21 championship finals last summer comparing him to a young Juan Roman Riqueleme and I'd have to agree, although Ozil is a much harder worked that Riqueleme. Early on in the game Australia had some great possession in the first 5 mins or so with a great chance for Cahill blocked on the line by Lahm, however after Podolski rifled in a cracking shot on the 8th min the game seemed to start slipping from Australia although they still looked lively in patch's especially Tim Cahill who was really hassling the Germans. After 24 mins there was an incredible miss from Klose who was 1 v 1 but managed to scoop high and wide, however 1 min later he managed to make amends, although it was largly thanks to Mark Schwarzer who came racing off his line to totally miss a Lahm cross with Klose nodding home.
As if that wasn't bad enough some terrible refereing but and to any chance of Australia getting back in the game with Cahill shown a straight red card for a tackle which was a yellow at best with the player that was fouled, Bastian Schweinsteiger, even saying it wasn't a red but the card happy Mexican ref had made up his mind. After this Germany totally dominated the game scoring 2 more goals and winning at a canter, i'm sure Australia didn't expect much from this game but with Cahill out for a possible 3 games this could be the end of there World Cup as its hard to see where the goals will come from now.
Star Man - coould be any one of Lahm, Podolski or maybe Klose but its got to go to Mesut Özil in my opinion, he was the heart beat of the team and for any team to stop Germany he has to be man marked closely
So thats it for another days round up, i will catch up to the games very soon and hopefully have a blog relevent to the days games by the end of the day soon!
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