The final matches of the group stages as anticipated produced some of the best football in the tournament so far. at the time of my writing, Japan has scored two amazing goals of freekicks against Denmark in a first half full of end to end stuff.
But the happy news is that France and Italy the two boring big sides who made the finals last time have been knocked out. Spain and Portugal could follow suit, if they do not improve their playing level. England and Germany came through, not very convincingly but they meet in the round of 16 , in what will be a cracker of a game.
England are just finding their feet and their improvement was evident in the match against Slovenia. Though they scored just one, they did create a lot of chances with Rooney hitting the cross bar once. USA were determined and a last gasp effort from the Talismanic Donovan ensured their passage to the round of 16. Again they were the more adventurous. Algeria joined South Africa, Nigeria and Cameroon in the African exodus. Ghana was lucky to advance, Australia’s big loss to Germany in the first match cost them dearly. They beat Serbia and held Ghana with 10 men.
The Nigeria – South Korea game was thrilling stuff , with the game shifting from one side to the other. South Korea controlled the game well and were the more consistent. But Nigeria had their chances and had the miss of the tournament with Yakubu missing an open goal. They were inconsistent and self destructed in this match and the match against Greece with an unnecessary red hat. A pity because they are a talented side.
Slovakia played the match of their life against Italy. The game was a cracker with Italy forced to attack following Slovakia’s aggression. But their usual strength – the defense- betrayed them and they leaked 3 goals to seal their fate. What a moment for Slovakia!
The South American’s are having a ball with Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay topping their groups and Brazil & Chile most likely to follow suit. The Usual suspects Netherlands, Germany, Brazil, Argentina have qualified with a few real contenders like Paraguay & Chile, making it interesting. USA and South Korea could throw a few surprises too. Looking forward to the Brazil – Portugal match tomorrow.