World Cup Day 13: USA, England, Germany, Ghana IN. Slovenia, Algeria, Serbia, Australia OUT.
The third set of matches in the group stage are played simultaneously, so I am at best able to watch only 2 of the 4 matches... and since I have a job... even though we have a TV set up at the office, i can't watch all of the second game. I apologize in advance. I'm an England fan. I think I can provide a balanced assesment of the matches, but my commentary on England will be more extensive than on other teams.
England 1-0 Slovenia
i watched this match at the Three Lions Cafe once again. The place to be if you are an England fan.There was a big crowd despite the early hour... and we were nervous. The sentiment at my table was that Joe Cole should be inserted into the lineup. I agreed with petulant former England Captain John Terry that the team should go to a 4-5-1 with Rooney in the lone striker role. Fabio Capello stuck to his guns however and left Cole out of the starting lineup. He also stuck with the 4-4-2. Defoe replace Hesky up front and James Milner replaced Aaron Lennon on the right side of the midfield. Matt Upson replaced the suspended Jamie Carragher in the backline. Hopefully Capello will stay with this lineup England put on a dominant though far from perfect performance. They missed many chances--Rooney and Gerrard in particular let chances go begging that they never miss for their club sides-- but the ball was no longer bouncing off their feet and England were clearly the better team on the day. All the substitues made contributions. Milner failed to get his first 3 crosses in, but just after I had complained about this his 4th crossing attempt was met by Dafoe for what would turn out to be the winning goal. After that, Milner caused the Slovenian defense fits down the right side. Matt Upson has pace at the back which Carragher for all his experience cannot match. Because of the England's failure to score a second goal qualification was always in doubt... but England squeaked through. For Slovenia, the loss put them out of the tournament.
Player of the Match: Stephen Gerrard
USA 1-0 Algeria
This match was similar in many ways to the England-Slovenia match in that the US was superior and clearly deserved victory. Algeria fought hard, the US missed many chances and the Algerian keeper Bolhi was brilliant, but just when it seemed that Algeria would hold out for the draw which would have allowed Slovenia to qualify Landon Donovan struck in the 91st minute on a rebound following the last of Bohli's brilliant saves.
Player of the match: Landon Donovan
Germany 1-0 Ghana
This result allowed both teams to qualify, (AT LEAST THERE WIll BE ONE AFRICAN TEAM IN THE ROUND OF 16). Ghana had to await the result of the Serbia-Australia match to find out their fate. Both Ghana and Germany squandered chances in the first half Mezut Oezil notably missing on a clear breakaway for Germany. Oezil did convert in the 60th minute and Germany were able to hang on.
Player of the match Mezut Oezil
Australia 2-1 Serbia
The Socceroos pulled out a surprising win against Serbia to deny the Serbs qualification. Serbia were denied a late penalty appeal which, if it had resulted in a goal would have put Serbia through.
Player of the Match: Tim Cahill (at least that's what the viewers said)