Saturday, June 24, 2006

Group H

Going into the last games these were the requirements.

Spain: Already through needed only a draw to make certain of top spot.

Ukraine: needed a minimum of a draw to progress.

Tunisia: needed a win to progress.

Saudi Arabia: needed a big victory over Spain coupled with a draw in the other match.

These were probably the two most boring games of the finals so far, leaving me wondering why I was the kind of person who has to watch every game. It was probably worth it in the end because who knows when a game will be good and when it will not. We have to just get up, watch the game, and find out!

Ukraine 1-0 Tunisia.

This was a soporific match punctuated too readily by the referee's whistle. There wasn't much action or entertainment and the crowd responded with a fair number of boos in the second half. Jaziri was sent off for a second bookable offence in the closing stages of the first half which stunned Tunisia to have their main man unable to return to produce his magic. Trabelsi was the best of the Tunisians as they did show a bit of spark in the second period. They will feel hard done to as they had a good penalty appeal turned down and then conceded one when it appeared Shevchenko had simply tripped himself up. For the Ukrainians Voronin must be wondering when he is going to score as he was repelled on numerous occasions by his own wastedfulness and 40 year old Boumnijel's top efforts in goal. Ukraine now have a date with Switzerland but will be without suspended defenders Vyacheslav Svidersky and Andriy Rusol for the occasion.

Spain 1-0 Saudi Arabia

Spain put out a virtually second string side for the match but with the quality in depth they have they were far too good for a poor Saudi Arabian outfit. Fabregas was the key player in midfield and Joaquin looked exciting every time he got the ball - probably because he ran at the defence so much. Spain could have easily had many more goals in the first half as Zaid denied Joaquin, Reyes and Albelda with big diving saves and it was left to defender Juanito to score the winning goal. Raul was a plus point for Spain as he emerged from the game unscathed and looked pretty good. Saudi Arabia could have got an unlikely draw as they made a few forays forward in the second half but they never seemed to seriously trouble the Spanish goal. They will be going home without a win in world cup finals 10 games on the trot. For Spain a date with France in the second round.

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