Spain 1-0 Holland Andres Iniesta (116′) Fernando Torres was once again on the bench as Pedro got another start. Holland had their suspended players back and therefore had a full first choice side. The game started unevenly with small fouls, especially by the Dutch, dominating the proceedings. English referee Howard Webb was influencing the game somewhat with a succession of yellow cards. It was not so much a question of the cards themselves but if or not they would be awarded by all referees for the same fouls in a consistent manner. Despite the so-called chippy play neither team adapted
Spain 1-0 Germany Carles Puyol (73′)
Thomas Muller was missing from this second semi-final due to suspension and that put the so far successful German 4-2-3-1 in doubt. Piotr Trochowski got the start instead. Spain featured Pedro and David Villa with Fernando Torres on the bench. The early signs were not positive for Germany as they sat back and Spain deployed their possession and passing game. Jerome Boateng was not having a comfortable night as Sergio Ramos was taking advantage of the right wing. The game was slow with the Germans surprisingly not pressing for the ball. The first half
Germany 4-0 Argentina Thomas Muller (3′) Miroslav Klose (68′, 89′) Arne Friedrich (74′)
Germany exposed the defensive frailties of Argentina and at the same time managed to frustrate the South Americans to shots straight into the hands of Manuel Neuer. A defense still featuring Nicolas Burdisso and Martin Demichelis in the center and Nicolas Otamendi on one side was exposed as early as the third minute when it failed to deal with a German freekick. Germany’s 4-2-3-1 featuring Mesut Ozil, Lukas Podolski, and Thomas Muller behind a lone forward has been trouble for most and with the aid of Bastian
Paraguay 0(5)-(3)0 Japan
This was one of the quieter matches of the World Cup with chances and moments of magic or skill sparse. Paraguay had the edge in possession in the first half but Daisuke Matsui probably had the best chance when he collected the ball and hit the crossbar. Eiji Kawashima and Justo Villar were rarely troubled in the respective goals and nothing of great note transpired, the match went into extra time with a few relatively lively moments but it ended perhaps rather predictably. Japan’s third penalty was by defender Yuichi Komano, he hit hard and at the
North Korea 0 – 3 Ivory Coast Yaya Toure (14′) Romaric (20′) Salomon Kalou (82′)
Ivory Coast had to over come a mountain in terms of goal difference to possibly overtake Portugal in the standings and qualify for the second round. The mission seemed impossible and although the Africans dominated it was never really likely to be. Yaya Toure scored off a Arthur Boka cross, Romaric missed one and then soon after scored his goal off a rebound from a Drogba shot and Kalou made it 3-0 late. The Asians had showed promise against Brazil earlier in the competition but
Portugal 7-0 North Korea Raul Meireles (29′) Simao (53′) Hugo Almeida (56′) Tiago (60′, 89′) Liedson (81′) Cristiano Ronaldo (87′)
A Carvalho early header hit the post. Not too long after a Tiago pass opened it for Meireles to score. North Korea were on the brink of losing it in many early exchanges though it wasn’t a total loss. On a day when the Korean were less defensive and less organized – perhaps the rain wasn’t helping – the Portuguese were opportunistic and close to every thing was going in for them. As the match moved on it became more
Chile 1-0 Honduras Jean Beausejour (34′)
Honduras’ squad, for the first time at a World Cup, featured 3 brothers. Wilson Palacios in the starting line-up with Johnny and Jerry on the bench. Chile missing Humberto Suazo to injury and therefore less of an scoring threat, Honduras missing a good scoring chunk as well with Carlos Costly and David Suazo missing. And therefore the offense left in the hands of veterans Carlos Pavon and Jorge Valdivia for Honduras and Chile respectively. Early possession and half chances were almost exclusively for the attacking Chileans with Alexis Sanchez and Matias Fernandes doing some
A brief post about the World Cup which is now less than eight weeks away.
This reviewer supports Italy but feels that their team is either too old or not very spectacular. Under the guidance of Marcello Lippi, who was the winning coach four years ago, Italy can still do very well. With the likes of Giorgio Chiellini in the heart of the defense, Daniele De Rossi in the heart of the midfield and the likes of Antonio Di Natale moving forward the team has a chance.
It remains to be seen if the fitness of Fernando Torres and others