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JAPAN won their fourth AFC Asian football championship yesterday (29 January) after a tense final against Australia in Qatar’s Khalifa International Stadium in Doha.

The competition began back on 7 January with the hosts Qatar losing 0-2 to Uzbekistan in the opening match of Group A. However Qatar made up for their opening loss by beating China 2-0 and Kuwait 3-0, which assured their passage into the Quarter-Finals as group runners-up. Uzbekistan won the group while China and Kuwait went home.

Japan almost lost their opening match in Group B against Jordan. It took a 92nd minute first ever international goal by centre back Maya Yoshida to earn a 1-1 draw to save their blushes. Japan picked themselves up just like Qatar in their next two games, beating Syria 2-1 with ten men and thrashing the surprisingly hopeless Saudi Arabia 5-0. Saudi Arabia (three times Asian champions) lost all three of their games in Qatar and only scored one goal. They came bottom of Group B with Syria also going out, with Japan winning the group and advancing alongside Jordan.

Group C consisted of two of the favourites to take the title, Australia and South Korea. The other two teams in the group, Bahrain and in particular lowly ranked India never really stood a chance and in the case of the latter, got well and truly hammered. India suffered 0-4, 2-5 and 1-4 defeats to Australia, Bahrain (Ismaeel Abdullatif scoring four goals) and South Korea respectively. Bahrain lost both of their games against the big two in the group, who drew 1-1 when it came to their match against each other. Australia won the group on goal difference from South Korea.

Group D was the ‘Group of Death’ in my eyes as it consisted of: the U.A.E., Iran, North Korea and reigning Asian champions Iraq. Iran won all three of their games (the only side to do this in the group stage) and advanced as group winners along with Iraq. North Korea and U.A.E. finished third and fourth respectively and didn’t score a single goal between them. 😦

The Quarter-Final line up looked like this: Uzbekistan vs. Jordan, Australia vs. Iraq, Japan vs. Qatar and Iran vs. South Korea.

Qatar looked to be heading into the last four when they were 2-1 up and a man up against Japan with just 20 minutes to go. Unfortunately for the host nation Japan levelled the match through Shinji Kagawa, and won it in the 90th minute thanks to Masahiko Inoha scoring his first goal for Japan in just his second match for his country. Uzbekistan knocked-out Jordan by beating them 2-1, and Australia ended Iraq’s quest to defend their title with a 1-0 extra-time victory coming courtesy of a 118th minute goal from former Leeds Utd and Liverpool winger Harry Kewell. South Korea beat Iran in the last Quarter-Final, also 1-0 after extra-time.

Thus the Semi-Final line up was complete with Japan vs. their footballing nemesis South Korea, while surprise package Uzbekistan would take on Australia.

Japan and South Korea were level at 1-1 after 90 minutes and South Korea once again went into extra-time. They fell behind in the 97th minute, but Hwang Jae-Won scored his first goal for South Korea in the very last minute of extra-time to take the match to a penalty shoot-out. Sadly there was to be no fairy tale ending for the Taegeuk Jeonsa (Warriors) as Japan held their nerve to win the shoot-out 3-0. In stark contrast Australia’s match against Uzbekistan was a stroll in the park for the Socceroos who won 6-0! 😮

Uzbekistan’s luck didn’t change in the third place Play-Off match either. South Korea took the bronze medal with a 3-2 win.

And so we came to The Final, Australia vs. Japan. Australia were looking to become the first team ever to win two different continental championships and to become Asian champions at just the second time of asking in the country that was (wrongly) awarded the 2022 World Cup instead of them. Australia is hosting the 2015 Asian Cup as well, so to go into their own tournament as reigning champions would be a huge boost. Japan on the other hand were out to win a record fourth Asian championship. They were currently level on three championships with Saudi Arabia and Iran. Japan also wanted to keep their 100% success rate in Asian Cup finals.

The match itself was a really tense, nail biting affair with chances galore – especially for Australia – but after 90 minutes nobody had broken the deadlock, so to extra-time (again for Japan) we went. Extra-time was just as gripping as the previous 90 minutes, but Japan finally made Australia pay dearly for all their missed chances with just 11 minutes to go. Making just his second senior appearance for Japan, Tadanari Lee found himself unmarked in the middle of the Australian penalty area and hit one of the sweetest and coolest left-footed volleys that I have ever seen. Aussie goalkeeper and now their most capped player, Mark Schwarzer (Fulham’s keeper) could only watch the ball fly into his net. This was Lee’s first goal for Japan and he had only been on the pitch for nine minutes when he scored! It is not every day that a footballers boyhood dream comes true is it?

Super-sub Lee celebrates the most important goal he will probably ever score.

Lee’s goal proved to be the winner meaning that Japan had won the 2011 Asian Cup, their third triumph in the last four tournaments and record fourth in the last six. What makes their achievement even more remarkable is the fact that Japan’s first Asian Cup appearance wasn’t until 1988 when they didn’t even score a goal. But next time around in 1992 they won the title at home and added the 2000 and 2004 titles to the trophy cabinet before their triumph yesterday.

Japan’s Keisuke Honda was awarded ‘Most Valuable Player’, while South Korea won the ‘Fair Play’ award and their midfielder Koo Ja-Cheol top scored after netting five goals in the tournament.

The Blue Samurai (Japan) have well and truly earned their title back and will represent Asian in the 2013 Confederations Cup in Brazil. But before that they have a chance of winning the Copa América (the South American championship) later this year in Argentina. They along with Mexico have been invited to be the 11th and 12th teams in the tournament alongside all of the South American nations. Surly Japan can’t hold both the Asian and South American titles at the same time? Watch this space.

Japan – Worthy champions indeed.

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Paraguay

0

vs.(AET)

0

Japan

MotM = Keisuke HONDA (JAP)

Last 16

Ref = Frank DE BLEECKERE (BEL)

Tshwane / Pretoria

NEITHER side had previously made it into the last eight of a World Cup before this game, and they were both very nervous.

The fear of losing outweighed the will to win, and the game lacked chances all the way through. The best of these sparse chances came at around 20 minutes in. Paraguay had a shot bundled off the line, then Japan hit the bar with the next attack and that was it.

So the match meandered towards the first Penalty Shootout in this World Cup.

Paraguay

5

P.S.O.

3

Japan

Édgar BARRETO

1

Yasuhito ENDŌ

Lucas BARRIOS

2

Makoto HASEBE

Cristian RIVEROS

3

X

Yūichi KOMANO

Nelson VALDEZ

4

Keisuke HONDA

Óscar CARDOZO

5

JAPAN’S Yūichi Komano hit the bar with the sixth penalty of the shootout after all the others had been scored, handing the advantage to Paraguay. The next two penalties were scored as well, and it was left to Óscar Cardozo to score the winner and send Paraguay into the last eight for the very first time.

Zakumi: “It’s a good thing we have penalties now. I don’t think I could have taken watching the replay.”

P92: “It was a dull game, but remember both sides had such a lot to lose.”  

 

 

Spain

1

vs.

0

Portugal

David VILLA 63’

MotM = XAVI (ESP)

Last 16

Ref = Héctor BALDASSI (ARG)

Cape Town

THIS was the first ever Iberian derby to take place in the World Cup finals.

The first half saw both sides trying to pull each other out of position and then catch them out in defence. Portugal looked the more comfortable and settled side in the first 45 minutes, with Spain’s keeper and capitan Iker Casillas giving a poor first half performance compared to his own extremely high standards, and getting lucky on a few occasions.

The second half started much the same, and the European Champions (Spain) seemed to have run out of ideas. But they came close to scoring on the hour mark and just three minutes later David Villa toe-poked the ball over Portugal’s keeper EDUARDO after he stopped his first shot.

Portugal’s RICARDO COSTA was sent off near the end of the match. I think he was yet another victim of a player conning the referee, and personally I’m getting sick of it.

Zakumi: “Well that’s it for the Last 16, and we get a couple of days off.”

P92: “I’ll have the Quarter-Final line-ups for you tomorrow.” 

 

 

Netherlands

2

vs.

1

Slovakia

Arjen ROBBEN 18’

Wesley SNEIJDER 84’

MotM = Arjen ROBBEN (NED)

Róbert VITTEK 90+4P’

Last 16

Ref = Alberto UNDIANO (ESP)

Durban

BOTH sides started this game quickly and had a couple of good scoring chances between them in the opening quarter of an hour.

But Arjen Robben (who came back from injury against Cameroon) scored a brilliant solo goal to put the Dutch 1-0 up.

However, Slovakia showed the kind of determination that led them to victory over now outgoing World Champions Italy. They pressurised the Dutch and kept them honest throughout the match.

With the scores still at 1-0 Netherlands, both keepers made excellent saves to deny a bigger lead and a level score line. Slovak keeper Ján Mucha blocked a close range shot with his nose to keep his side in the game.

Unfortunately he was at fault for the Netherlands’ second goal. He came to the edge of this area to punch the ball away after a quick Dutch free kick, but the Netherland’s Dirk Kuyt beat him to the ball and squared it to Wesley Sneijder who side footed the ball home for 2-0.

Slovakia won a penalty in the last minute, and the man who scored two goals against Italy, Róbert Vittek, converted the spot kick with the very last kick of the game.

Zakumi: “Slovakia have done really well in their first World Cup as an independent nation, and should make it into Euro 2012.”

P92: “But the Netherlands still look as if they haven’t got into top gear yet.”

Zakumi: “They are not the finished article at the moment.”

P92: “At the moment, you’re right.”

 

 

Brazil

3

vs.

0

Chile

JUAN 35’

LUÍS FABIANO 38’

ROBINHO 59’

MotM = ROBINHO (BRA)

Last 16

Ref = Howard WEBB (ENG)

Johannesburg – JEP

THE first half an hour saw Brazil and Chile cancel each others’ chances out in what was a really entertaining and intriguing match.

Brazil’s first goal came from a very British football league corner. The big defender JUAN out jumped everyone around him and directed a bullet header into the roof of the Chilean net.

Brazil’s second goal came just three minutes later and the game seemed over. LUÍS FABIANO did well to keep his head as he took the ball past the keeper and rolled the ball into the goal. The game was all but confirmed as a Brazil win when ROBINHO made it 3-0 just around the hour mark. But Chile went down fighting, trying to score right up until the final whistle.

The English officials: Howard Webb (ref), Mike Mullarkey and Darren Cann (linesmen) had a third brilliant game, and must surely be the hot tip to referee the final.

Zakumi: “Brazil into the last eight again.”

P92: “They could play Ghana in the semis if they both win their quarter-finals.”

Zakumi: “Oh I’d love to see that.”

P92: “So would everybody else accept the Dutch and Uruguay.”

Today’s games are:

  • Paraguay vs. Japan, ITV 15:00
  • Spain vs. Portugal, BBC 1 19:30

HERE we have the matches for the Last 16 round of the 2010 World Cup

Uruguay

vs.

South Korea

U.S.A.

vs.

Ghana

Germany

vs.

ENGLAND

Argentina

vs.

Mexico

Netherlands

vs.

Slovakia

Brazil

vs.

Chile

Paraguay

vs.

Japan

Spain

vs.

Portugal

Spain vs. Portugal and Brazil vs. Chile are the big derby matches.

Argentina vs. Mexico is a grudge match from four years ago. Argentina won 2-1 AET.

Germany vs. England…well need I explain?

Zakumi: “Here we go. Knock-out football.”

P92: “Oh yes. And remember, from now on if you lose…you go out.”

Today’s games are:

  • Uruguay vs. South Korea, ITV 15:00
  • U.S.A. vs. Ghana, ITV 19:30
 

 

Slovakia

3

vs.

2

Italy

Róbert VITTEK 25’ 73’

Kamil KOPÚNEK 89’

MotM = Róbert VITTEK (SLK)

Antonio DI NATALE 81’

Fabio QUAGLIARELLA 90+2’

Group F

Ref = Howard WEBB (ENG)

Johannesburg – JEP

 

 

 

Paraguay

0

vs.

0

New Zealand

MotM = Roque SANTA CRUZ (PAR)

Group F

Ref = Yuichi NISHIMURA (JAP)

Polokwane

 

Group F

Pos.

Team

P

W

D

L GF

GA

+/-

PTS

1

Paraguay

3

1

2

0

3

1

+2

5

2

Slovakia

3

1

1

1

4

5

-1

4

3

New Zealand

3

0

3

0

2

2

0

3

4

Italy

3

0

2

1

4

5

-1

2

ITALY – the defending World Champions – are sent crashing out of the tournament, finishing bottom of a group I thought they would win with ease. But they played so poorly that they didn’t really deserve to have the title of reigning champions. The 2010 Italy team have become the fourth team in history to be eliminated in the group stage as World Champions. The others are: the 1950 Italy team, the 1966 Brazil team and the 2002 France team. It is also the first time that both of the previous finalists – in this case Italy and France – have been knocked out in the groups. The fact that both of these two finished bottom of their groups shows just how much has changed in four years. In France’s case their manner, in Italy’s case the age of their players.

New Zealand can go home with their heads’ held high. They stayed undefeated in the group, scored two goals and led Italy in their South African adventure. They’ve shown that at times they can play football just as well as they can play Rugby and Cricket.

I thought Paraguay would advance, but not as group winners, and that Slovakia would come third. But yet again I was wrong and we have yet another unexpected team in the last 16. Slovakia played brilliantly against Italy in their 3-2 over them, and if I were the winner of Group E I wouldn’t be expecting and easy match.

Zakumi: “Neither would I. France and Italy out as well as finishing bottom of their groups! LOL!”

P92: “Epic fail!”

 

 

Denmark

1

vs.

3

Japan

Jon Dahl TOMASSON 81’

MotM = Keisuke HONDA (JAP)

Keisuke HONDA 17’

Yasuhito ENDŌ 30’

Shinji OKAZAKI 87’

Group E

Ref = Jerome DAMON (RSA)

Rustenburg

 

 

 

 

Cameroon

1

vs.

2

Netherlands

Samuel ETO’O 65P’

MotM = Robin VAN PERSIE (NED)

Robin VAN PERSIE 36’

Klaas-Jan HUNTELAAR 83’

Group E

Ref = Pablo POZO (CHI)

Cape Town

 

Group E

Pos.

Team

P

W

D

L

GF

GA

+/-

PTS

1

Netherlands

3

3

0

0

5

1

+4

9

2

Japan

3

2

0

1

4

2

+2

6

3

Denmark

3

1

0

2

3

6

-3

3

4

Cameroon

3

0

0

3

2

5

-3

0

NO surprise to see the Dutch topping this group with ease (no disrespect to the other teams).

I was however surprised to see Japan making it into the last 16 for the first time on foreign soil. They played wonderfully against Denmark after they lucked a win against Cameroon.

Denmark looked like a good side at times. But they were totally outplayed by Japan and if they had have gotten into the last 16; I don’t think that they would have won.

Cameroon were just another team that didn’t turn up, which is a shame because that means yet another African team has fallen in round one.

Zakumi: “Japan have proved they are deadly at free kicks, so watch out Paraguay when you play them on Tuesday.”

P92: “If they play like they did against Denmark they could give the established order a real headache.”

Zakumi: “What’s ‘established order’ at this World Cup?

P92: “Touché.”

Today’s games are:

  • Portugal vs. Brazil (The game I’ve most been looking forward to), BBC 1 15:00
  • North Korea vs. Côte d’Ivoire, BBC 3 15:00
  • Chile vs. Spain, ITV 1 or 4 19:30
  • Switzerland vs. Honduras, ITV 1 or 4 19:30
 

 

Slovenia

0

vs.

1

England

MotM = Jermain DEFOE (ENG)

Jermain DEFOE 23’

Group C

Ref = Wolfgang STARK (GER)

Nelson Mandela Bay / Port Elizabeth

 

 

 

U.S.A.

1

vs.

0

Algeria

Landon DONOVAN 90+1’

MotM = Landon DONOVAN (USA)

Group C

Ref = Frank DE BLEECKERE (BEL)

Tshwane / Pretoria

 

Group C

Pos.

Team

P

W

D

L

GF

GA

+/-

PTS

1

U.S.A.

3

1

2

0

4

3

+1

5

2

England

3

1

2

0

2

1

+1

5

3

Slovenia

3

1

1

1

3

3

0

4

4

Algeria

3

0

1

2

0

2

-2

1

I PREDICTED that England would win this group with seven or nine points to our name. How wrong was I? The United States top the group – deservedly – on the number of goals they scored. The States were admittedly the best team over the course of the whole group.

England played so much better against Slovenia than they did against the U.S.A. and Algeria, but a last minute goal for America against Algeria means that we finished second, and will play the winner of Group D.

Its heart break for little Slovenia however. They would have gone through with England if not for that very late America goal. They stunned America in their game against them, but luck wasn’t on their side.

Algeria fizzle out of the World Cup without scoring a goal and had their captain sent off in their last game. But they did deserve to be in South Africa. They beat thrice in a row African Champions Egypt in a one match play-off to earn their place.

Zakumi: “Well at least one of us got into the last 16.”

P92: “England nearly gave me a heart attack…again.”

Zakumi: “If it was 2-0 England it would have been a lot more comfortable to watch.”

P92: “That readers is coming from a South African.”

Zakumi: “Since I’m doing this with you, England are my second team.”

P92: “Great to hear that.”

 

 

Ghana

0

vs.

1

Germany

MotM = Mesut ÖZIL (GER)

Mesut ÖZIL 60’

Group D

Ref = Carlos SIMON (BRA)

Johannesburg – JSC

 

 

 

Australia

2

vs.

1

Serbia

Tim CAHILL 69’

Brett HOLMAN 73’

MotM = Tim CAHILL (AUS)

Marko PANTELIĆ 84’

Group D

Ref = Jorge LARRIONDA (URU)

Nelspruit

 

Group D

Pos.

Team

P

W

D

L

GF

GA

+/-

PTS

1

Germany

3

2

0

1

5

1

+4

6

2

Ghana

3

1

1

1

2

2

0

4

3

Australia

3

1

1

1

3

6

-3

4

4

Serbia

3

1

0

2

2

3

-1

3

  

GERMANY advance as group winners and will now play England at Mangaung / Bloemfontein on June 27.

The Germans did well in this group, but their loss to Serbia who finished forth really stands out. This and their 4-0 mauling of Australia. It looks like England need to catch Germany on a bad day like they had against Serbia.

Ghana need to be able to score in open play if they want to beat the U.S.A. in their last 16 game. Both of their goals came from the penalty spot, and when they played against Australia when the Aussies had ten men they didn’t impress me.

Australia and Serbia never really (to me) looked like they would get out of this group. But if Australia didn’t have a man sent off against Ghana and Serbia scored more against Germany it may have been very different.

Zakumi: “So, England will play Germany again.”

P92: “They’re just another team we must beat. Just because it’s Germany everyone gets all jumpy.”

Zakumi: “Germany’s big rivals are in fact the Dutch, and as a result the Germans don’t care about the 1966 final.”

P92: “Nope. Their big win was against the Netherlands in the 1974 final.”

Tomorrow’s games are:

  • Paraguay vs. New Zealand, ITV 1 or 4 15:00
  • Slovakia vs. Italy, ITV 1 or 4 15:00
  • Cameroon vs. Netherlands, BBC 1 19:30
  • Denmark vs. Japan, BBC 3 19:30 

 

 

 

 

 

Netherlands

1

vs.

0

Japan

Wesley SNEIJDER 53’

MotM = Wesley SNEIJDER (NED)

Group E

Ref = Héctor BALDASSI (ARG)

Durban

THE Dutch were frustrated by Japan in a rather boring first half. It was almost like watching England. But two different teams came back out for the second half. The Netherlands took the lead after just eight second half minutes thanks to a combination of a powerful Wesley Sneijder shot and a goalkeeping blunder from Eiji Kawashima. This woke Japan up even more so and both teams had numerous chances to score. But the men in orange hung on for their second win of the tournament.

Zakumi: “A tip for any teams playing the Netherlands later in the competition. Hit them hard in the first 15 minutes to wake them up and or shock them.”

P92: “Sound advice.”

 

 

Ghana

1

vs.

1

Australia

Asamoah GYAN 25P’

MotM = Asamoah GYAN (GHA)

Brett HOLMAN 11’

Group D

Ref = Roberto ROSETTI (ITA)

Rustenburg

AUSTRALIA started the match the stronger team and took the lead after Brett Holman was the first player to react to the Ghanaian keeper, Richard Kingson spilling the ball from a free kick. However they lost their momentum after Harry Kewell was sent straight off for handballing on the line, preventing a certain Ghana goal. For the second game running, Asamoah Gyan converted the resultant spot kick. Now you’d expect Ghana to press for the win because of their man advantage plus the fact that Germany lost to Serbia, but you’d be wrong. It was Australia who dominated the chances in the second half, playing with real guts and determination. John Pantsil of Ghana received a nasty looking blood injury after his head collided with two other players’ heads – one Australian and one Ghanaian. That was in the very last minute of added on time and the last action of the match. Both sides begrudgingly settling for a draw in the end.

Zakumi: “The African teams in this World Cup need to improve. Who knows when it will come back to Africa?”

P92: “You think African sides have pressure in 2010. I feel sorry for the South American sides in 2014 when Brazil of all countries hosts the World Cup.”

 

 

Cameroon

1

vs.

2

Denmark

Samuel ETO’O 10’

MotM = Daniel AGGER (DEN)

Nicklas BENDTNER 33’

Dennis ROMMEDAHL 61’

Group E

Ref = Jorge LARRIONDA (URU)

Tshwane / Pretoria

THIS was another great game of football to watch. The first two goals of the match were the result of one team cutting the other open. Cameroon passed the ball well and quickly after a Danish defensive mistake, whereas the Danes used a long ball to undo the African outfit. Dennis Rommedahl’s winning goal was an individual master class. The skill of the teams and most of the players ranged from world class to school boy, making it a fantastic Saturday night in front of the TV.

Zakumi: “This result means that Cameroon are the first team to go out.”

P92: “The Netherlands are also the first team to advance to the last 16.”

Tomorrow’s games are:

  • Slovakia vs. Paraguay, BBC 1 12:30
  • Italy vs. New Zealand, ITV 15:00
  • Brazil vs. Côte d’Ivoire, BBC 1 19:30
 

 

Germany

0

vs.

1

Serbia

MotM = Vladimir STOJKOVIĆ (SER)

Milan JOVANOVIĆ 38’

Group D

Ref = Alberto UNDIANO (ESP)

Nelson Mandela Bay / Port Elizabeth

SERBIA scored straight after Germany’s star striker Miroslav Klose was extremely harshly sent off by an over exuberant card brandishing ref. Ten man Germany hit the bar not long after. Lukas Podolski had his penalty saved by Serbian goalkeeper Stojković midway through the second half. The spot kick was given away after Nemanja Vidić stupidly handled the ball while pretending to be Superman. This is exactly how his team-mate Aleksandar Luković was sent off against Ghana. But Vidić was only booked. Serbia hit the post in search of a second goal, but held on for another shock win in this World Cup.

Zakumi: “I wasn’t expecting that result.”

P92: “No neither was I, but the ref ruined the game by sending Klose off for not a lot really.”

Zakumi: “Yeah, and this result blows Group D wide open.”

 

 

Slovenia

2

vs.

2

U.S.A.

Valter BIRSA 13’

Zlatan LJUBIJANKIČ 42’

MotM = Landon DONOVAN (USA)

Landon DONOVAN 48’

Michael BRADLEY 82’

Group C

Ref = Koman COULIBALY (MLI)

Johannesburg – JEP

WHAT a game! Slovenia knew that a win would take them into the last 16, so they dutifully raced into a 2-0 half-time lead leaving the Americans stunned. But led by Landon Donovan – who smashed home a close range shot from an almost impossible angle early in the second half – the U.S.A. played like a team possessed. They scored their second late on, and did get the ball in the net for a third time with just a few minutes left. But the goal was ruled out wrongly in my opinion, and the United States can count themselves rather unlucky.

Zakumi: “I think that’s game of the tournament so far.”

P92: “Oh by a mile. It was really on the edge of your seat stuff.”

 

 

England

0

vs.

0

Algeria

MotM = Ashley COLE (ENG)

Group C

Ref = Ravshan IRMATOV (UZB)

Cape Town

THE England football team have once again destroyed the hopes and dreams of the nation who made the sport what it is today. The players looked as if they just didn’t want to be out there playing for the country. I think they would have preferred to be playing for their clubs in the UEFA Champions League and getting paid over £120,000 per week. No wait, they most likely would prefer right now to be on holiday in South Africa instead of playing. The fans booed the players at the final whistle after England’s worst display in years. Then Wayne Rooney has the BALLS to say to a camera: “It’s nice to see your own fans booing you.” ROONEY THEY HAVE EVERY RIGHT TO BOO YOU! THEY FOLLOWED YOU ALL THE WAY TO #@!%ING CAPE TOWN TO SEE YOU WIN THE WORLD CUP, AND NOT TO SEE YOU PLAY LIKE A LEAGUE TWO SIDE AGAINST A TEAM WE SHOULD HAVE HAMMERED!!!!! One fan broke into the England dressing room after the match and gave them hell. I want to buy this man a drink for being the voice of 50 million disillusioned Englishmen and women.

Zakumi: “Are you okay now?”

P92: “Yes…I’m fine.”

Today’s games are:

  • Netherlands vs. Japan, ITV 12:30
  • Ghana vs. Australia, BBC 1 15:00
  • Cameroon vs. Denmark, ITV 19:30
 

 

Netherlands

2

vs.

0

Denmark

Simon POULSEN 46og’

Dirk KUYT 85’

MotM = Wesley SNEIJDER (NED)  

Group E

Ref = Stéphane LANNOY (FRA)

Johannesburg – JSC

 THE NETHERLANDS didn’t explode out of the starting blocks like their rivals Germany did last night, but a win is a win. Denmark could and probably should have taken the lead in a pretty even first half chance wise. But all of the Danes previous good work was undone by Simon Poulsen less than a minute into the second 45. He headed the ball against team-mate Daniel Agger’s back and into his own net. Dirk Kuyt reacted first to the ball when it rebounded off the post and scored a tap in late on.

Zakumi: “Netherland’s could’ve scored a third but Poulsen cleared the ball off the line.”

P92: “Still doesn’t make up for the own goal though.”

Zakumi: “True.”

 

 

Japan

1

vs.

0

Cameroon

Keisuke HONDA 39’

MotM = Keisuke HONDA (JAP)  

Group E

Ref = Olegário BENQUERENÇA (POR)

Mangaung / Bloemfontein

THE first half an hour of this game was a great advert for sleeping pills, but after Japan rather unexpectedly took the lead Cameroon tried hard to get back level. The African side had some good goal scoring opportunities, but not enough for the law of averages to enforce itself. Second place in this group is also wide open now.

Zakumi: “The less said the better about this game really.”

P92: “Hmm. Netherlands had an easy route to the finals, and looking at this game they have an easy group.”

Zakumi: “But too many easy games can make you slip up against stronger teams. Just look at Germany in the 2002 finals.”

 

 

Italy

1

vs.

1

Paraguay

Daniele DE ROSSI 63’

MotM = Antolín ALCARAZ (PAR)

Antolín ALCARAZ 39’

Group F

Ref = Benito ARCHUNDIA (MEX)

Cape Town

 DEFENDING World Champions Italy got their title defence off to a shaky start against Paraguay in today’s last game. Not much happened in the first 30-odd minutes until Paraguay unexpectedly took the lead through Antolín Alcaraz. Italy woke up in the second half and levelled the match with just less than half an hour left. But neither side could find the winning goal and they shared the spoils of what was a very rainy game in Cape Town.

Zakumi: “Italy won’t make it five wins playing like this.”

P92: “They started slowly in 2006 and ended up winning.”

Zakumi: “Yes but that was in Europe and four years ago.”

Tomorrows games are:

  • New Zealand vs. Slovakia, BBC 1 12:30
  • Côte d’Ivoire vs. Portugal, ITV 15:00
  • Five times Champions Brazil vs. North Korea, ITV 19:30
 

 

Algeria

0

vs.

1

Slovenia

MotM = Robert KOREN (SLV)  

Robert KOREN 79’

Group C

Ref = Carlos BATRES (GUA)  

Polokwane

THIS was Slovenia’s first win at a major international tournament. It was a dull game to watch with not much that sticks in the memory. There were a few exceptions mind you. Algerian substitute Abdelkader Ghezzal got himself sent off when he stupidly handballed in the penalty area. The Algerian goalkeeper Faouzi Chaouchi was the reason for Slovenia’s goal. He totally missed the ball and joins Robert Green in his country’s dog house.

Zakumi: “For me the best part of the game was seeing that Algerian fan sitting on top of the floodlights.”

P92: “How do you think he got down?”

Zakumi: “I’m not sure, but like Ghezzal I wouldn’t think he’ll be involved in Algeria’s next game.”  

 

 

Serbia

0

vs.

1

Ghana

MotM = Asamoah GYAN (GHA)

Asamoah GYAN 85P’

Group D

Ref = Héctor BALDASSI (ARG)

Tshwane / Pretoria

BOTH sides had chances to win this game. Serbia’s Aleksandar Luković was sent off 15 minutes from the end handing Ghana the initiative to take the game. Their efforts were rewarded when they were given the first penalty of the World Cup. Asamoah Gyan converted the spot kick and his side held on for three points.

Zakumi: “It’s about time an African side won, and with Germany in this group that win could be vital.”

P92: “Second place in Group D has probably been decided by this game, but let’s see how the other game goes before we can draw any conclusions.” 

 

 

Germany

4

vs.

0

Australia

Lukas PODOLSKI 8’

Miroslav KLOSE 26’

Thomas MÜLLER 68’

CACAU 70’

MotM = Lukas PODOLSKI (GER)

Group D

Ref = Marco RODRÍGUEZ (MEX)

Durban

GERMANY gave by far the best performance of any team in the top half of the draw with this trashing of Australia. The Aussies did have chances throughout the match, but the triple World Champions just blew them away. Australia’s Tim Cahill was in my opinion harshly sent straight off when his side were 0-2 down, and after that any hope of a comeback was dead. Lukas Podolski’s opening goal was clocked by the BBC at 82 mph.

Zakumi: “I wouldn’t want to play Germany at all with them in this sort of form.”

P92: “Well if they win this group – which they must surely do – and England finish second in theirs we’ll be up against them in the last 16.”

Zakumi: “England had better win their group then.”

Today’s games are:

  • Netherlands vs. Denmark, ITV 12:30
  • Japan vs. Cameroon, BBC 1 15:00
  • Italy vs. Paraguay, BBC 1 19:30