Sunday, June 27, 2010

Group D final set of games

Germany 1-0 Ghana

Ghana went into this game knowing a draw would guarantee them qualification for the second round. Germany knew they needed a win to make sure of their place.

The game soon settled into a pattern of Germany attacking with Ghana defending and hitting them back on the counter-attack. Ghana's defence was very well organised and the German side found it difficult to break them down. And for all Germany's pressure Ghana probably had the better chances overall, including two shots that were cleared off the line by German defenders. Both Oezil and Asamoah should have done a lot better with their one-on-one opportunities.

I was getting the distinct feel of a 0-0 about the game until the moment of magic arrived, a little out of the blue. The Germans were passing the ball around roughly ten metres outside the Ghanaian penalty area when the ball arrived at Oezil's feet (courtesy of Mueller), he flicked it up with his left boot before crashing a stupendous long-range shot into the top left hand corner of the goal. It was a goal worthy of winning a football match and that is the way it proved to be as Germany finished top of the group and Ghana sneaked into second place.

Australia 2-1 Serbia

Serbia went into this game knowing a victory would put them into the second round and a draw would leave their hopes hanging by a thread. Australia knew only a win would do, and that even that might not be enough. Cahill was back from suspension but Kewell was suspended.

Serbia dominated the first half and failed to score from a number of promising attacks. Krasic had a couple of excellent chances and Schwarzer foiled Ivanovic with a stunning save from a powerful shot. On the balance of play Serbia perhaps deserved a half-time lead.

The second half proved to be far more even in terms of creating good chances. Australia warned Serbia with a Cahill header that went wide and a couple of strong Bresciano shots when on 69 minutes Cahill opened the scoring with a typically powerful and accurate header from the centre of the box - the likes of which we've seen him score for Everton on numerous occasions. Then only minutes later Brett Holman scored an absolute screamer. He picked up the ball just inside Serbia's half, surged forward and thundered into the bottom right hand corner from 25 yards. There had been no pressure on him from Serbia's defence and the keeper had no chance.

With Germany winning 1-0 against Ghana Australia knew they needed one more goal to send them through to the second round. However next to score were Serbia. With six minutes remaining Tosic curled in a dipping and swerving ball which Schwarzer spilled into the path of Pantelic who tapped in the rebound. This now meant that Australia needed two goals to advance but Serbia just needed an equaliser. There was still time for a good shot from Cullina, a shout for a penalty and a disallowed goal. Cahill handled in the area but it was clearly accidental and despite Serbian protestations both during and after the match it was a fair call. Pantelic also thought he had brought things level but his goal was disallowed for offside in a tight call from the assistant referee.

Ultimately both sides were disappointed as they failed to progress to the knock-out stages.

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