FIFA World Cup 2014 – Tuesday 17 June 2014
Germany (3) 4 – 0 (0) Portugal
Another result at these Finals that nobody would have predicted.
It was all over by half-time as Germany were 3-0 ahead and Portugal down to 10 men. The first-half was all about Thomas Muller as he converted an early penalty and grabbed Germany’s third goal on the stroke of half-time. He was also involved in the incident on 37 minutes that saw Pepe sent-off for Portugal. The Real Madrid defender tangled with Muller and his hand made contact with the Germans face. However, the reaction by the German forward was ludicrous and Pepe, feeling Muller had overacted, then head-butted the German. The incident displayed once again the canker that is commonplace in the modern game in terms of the feigning of injury to get players sent-off – basically cheating.
It meant that the second-half was a pretty meaningless watch as Germany slowed the pace and Portugal struggled in the heat. The Germans created a number of chances, but only took one as villain of the peace Muller completed his hat-trick.
Note to FIFA, do something that would make a significant impact on the game and come up with a way to stop diving, feigning injury etc. instead of the daft regulations on the kits teams can and can’t wear.
Iran (0) 0 – 0 (0) Nigeria
Well we had to have a draw sooner or later. In truth this was a pretty poor game, devoid of much quality. Credit to Iran.
Ghana (0) 1 – 2 (1) USA
Oh Clint, why didn’t you show such spark at the Cottage this season? A skilful finish from Captain America gave the USA a first minute lead that looked like it was the winner as the game entered the last ten minutes. With just eight minutes to go, Ghana were level with a well worked goal. A lovely back-heel from Asamoah Gyan put in Ayew who finished cleanly. However, USA were to be denied and with four minutes to go, John Brooks headed home a late winner. Ghana will rue the way they conceded the corner for the goal and the fact that of the 21 shots they had on goal, only 3 were on target.
Tomorrow, in a slightly odd arrangement, the second round of group games begins before the first round has been completed.
Brazil v Mexico
The two unbeaten sides in Group A go head-to-head. Brazil will undoubtedly take three points, with a little help from the 12th man…
Belgium v Algeria
Belgium qualified comfortably ahead of runners-up Croatia by 8 points, in a group that also contained Wales and Scotland. For Algeria it was a much tighter run thing as they emerged winners from their CAF play-off on away goals. The Algerians lost 3-2 to Burkina Faso, but a goal from ex-Rangers Madjid Bougherra put them through.
Nearly half the Belgium squad currently play in England and include, Thomas Vermaelen (Arsenal), Jan Vertonghen, Mousa Dembele, Nacer Chadli (all Spurs), Vincent Kompany (Manchester City), Marouane Fellaini, Adnan Januzaj (both Manchester United), Romelu Lukaku, Kevin Mirallas (both Everton), Eden Hazard (Chelsea) and Simon Mignolet (Liverpool). They have a talented squad and maybe could be a bit of a ‘dark-horse’ in these Finals.
For Algeria, Essaid Belkalem plays at Watford, whilst Nabil Bentaleb is at Spurs and Riyad Mahrez will be playing in the Premier League next season with Leicester City.
Surely Belgium will have too much for Algeria?
Russia v South Korea
The Russians topped their group but lost more games than runners-up Portugal. What got the Russians through though was that they drew fewer games than the Portuguese. South Korea came through after finishing as runners-up in the AFC qualifiers but only on goal-difference.
Russia are a rarity at these Finals in that their squad is entirely drawn from their own domestic competition. The same can’t be said for the Koreans. Amongst those playing in Britain are Yun Suk-young, who spent the end of last season at QPR, Kim Bo-kyung at Cardiff City, Kim Bo-kyung who was at Watford on-loan at the end of last season, Ki Sung-yueng who spent last season on-loan at Sunderland from Swansea and Lee Chung-yong at Bolton Wanderers.
Russia to take it in a tight game.