Friday, June 18, 2010

England play terribly for 0-0 draw with Algeria

A truly despressing match, while some might've expected a 3-0 thrashing by England, the game ended with a very sad 0-0 score-line.

Here's how Group C stands with the England - Algeria result:

Slovenia    (4)
USA         (2)
England    (2)
Algeria     (1)

England's Wayne Rooney stretches for the ball during a 2010 World Cup Group C soccer match against Algeria at Green Point stadium in Cape Town June 18, 2010. REUTERS/Eddie Keogh (SOUTH AFRICA - Tags: SPORT SOCCER WORLD CUP)
England - Algeria

It was mentioned above, this was a truly depressing, terrible, and uninspiring game by England especially. Algeria started well as they really enjoyed putting pressure on the England back-line, Ziani was inspiring with his flicks and dribbling, but overall the Algerians didn't commit enough players  to the attack, so they were missing options.

England on the other hand had trouble just stringing three or four passes together, Wayne Rooney was the worst player on the field with absolutely no first touch. When Rooney was able to control the ball, he would often lose it because he was just too slow compared to the quick anticipations of the Algerian defenders.

Algeria's Majid Bougherra (R) fights for the ball with England's Wayne Rooney during a 2010 World Cup Group C soccer match at Green Point stadium in Cape Town June 18, 2010. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez (SOUTH AFRICA - Tags: SPORT SOCCER WORLD CUP)
The entire game was laced with few opportunities, and Fabio Capello made some of the strangest substitutions I've seen in a long time. In the 63rd he takes off Lennon for Wright-Phillips who was truly terrible, and then he took of Heskey for Defoe. Heskey was doing a relatively good job compared to the other England players, he tracked back, passed accurately, and was often an option, but Capello obviously didn't like him. So instead of putting on a game-changer like Joe Cole early on, or Crouch (who was put on for the final 5 mintues!), Capello puts on a kid who can run fast but has no ball control (SWP), and takes off probably two of the most inspiring players that were on.

Terrible game, don't waste your time watching it, I'm sorry, but that's the truth... If Capello doesn't begin to inspire this England team, and give them an identity, then they'll be in big trouble come the game against Slovenia.

USA Fight back to draw 2-2 with Slovenia

The USA are truly a team of determination and grit like none other, yet another fantastic come-back to earn an important point which just might be enough for them to pass on to the next stage with some luck.

A fan waits for the start of the 2010 World Cup Group C soccer match between the US and Slovenia at Ellis Park stadium in Johannesburg June 18, 2010.    REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado (SOUTH AFRICA - Tags: SPORT SOCCER WORLD CUP)
Slovenia - USA

The first half was Slovenia's, they were able to grab two goals, the first in the 13th minute with Birsa who with a tentative strike from outside the area somehow gets it past Howard who was rooted to the spot. USA then pushed for the equalizer, with Torres trying from the free-kick, and Donovan just short of tapping the ball in from a great build-up. While there was bad defending on the first, the second was even worse with just plain bad marking from the USA defence as Slovenia put Ljubijankic on goal with a simple through ball, and the Slovenian coolly tucked away the second.

After halftime, Bob Bradley changes USA up a bit by taking off Torres and Findley for Edu and Feilhaber, and right away in the 48th minute, Landon Donovan grabs a goal. Slovenian defender misjudges the bounce as Donovan runs towards goal to smash it into the top of the goal. Then the USA really started pushing, and they eventually found the equalizer in the 82nd with Michael Bradley, coach Bob Bradley's son. Donovan plays a high ball for Altidore who flicks it on for an incoming Bradley who then volleys it over Handanovic for the equalizer.

Then the USA thought they got the winner with Maurice Edu tapping it in from a free kick, but the referee disallows the goal for an unseen reason to everyone else, so the match ends 2-2 with the USA players furious with the referee's decision.

Germany lose 1-0 to Serbia with Klose sent off

It's interesting to see the contrast between the Germany which lost 1-0 to Serbia, and the Germany which demolished Australia 4-0 . They're actually relatively similar except with the difference of Klose being sent off, and the other match of this group between Ghana and Australia will be played tomorrow.

Germany's Miroslav Klose (R) gets a red card from referee Alberto Undiano of Spain during a 2010 World Cup Group D soccer match against Serbia at Nelson Mandela Bay stadium in Port Elizabeth June 18, 2010. REUTERS/Yves Herman (SOUTH AFRICA - Tags: SPORT SOCCER WORLD CUP)
Germany - Serbia

It's remarkable the upsets that a World Cup brings, first we almost saw Brazil unable to score against DPR Korea, then we see Spain lose to Switzerland, and today we saw Serbia scrape out a win with plenty of luck.It started just like the Australia game, Germany held possession as Serbia tried to defend fiercely and quickly counter-attack with the likes of speedy Krasic.

Germany found it difficult to pierce Serbia, and they played much more sloppily than they did against Australia with plenty of passes going just wide to be intercepted by a Serbian player. But little by little Germany got into their stride, as Ozil spread passes and created a couple of chances, but nothing too great.

Eventually the big moment came, Miroslav Klose nipped Stankovic from behind got a second yellow card, and therefore a red card. A harsh decision which saw Germany's main striker sent off in the 37th minute, and just a minute later Serbia scored with Jovanovic. Krasic's good cross reached Zigic who headed it down for Jovanovic to volley in at close range for the ultimate upset goal. Then at the end of the first half in a penalty area scrap, Sami Khedira rockets the ball at the crossbar as the goalie was way off of his line, Muller's bicycle kick to follow up and it was blocked off of the line from a Serbian defender.
Serbia's Milan Jovanovic (L) scores against Germany during a 2010 World Cup Group D soccer match at Nelson Mandela Bay stadium in Port Elizabeth June 18, 2010.    REUTERS/Paul Hanna (SOUTH AFRICA - Tags: SPORT SOCCER WORLD CUP IMAGE OF THE DAY TOP PICTURE)
After the half, Germany released itself on Serbia, putting everything into getting the two goals necessary for the win. Vidic gave away a penalty with an unnecessary handball,  a replica of the handball by Kuzmanovic against Ghana which lost them that game. Podolski stepped up to take the penalty but had it saved by Stojkovic, who celebrated with his teammates.

And although Germany pushed and pushed, Serbia came closest with Zigic scraping the top of the bar with a header. It just wasn't Germany's game as Serbia celebrate their chance of advancing to the next round with a fantastic upset.


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