The Germans, Americans and English were all favoured for victory today by the pundits. But if this year’s World Cup has taught us anything so far, it’s that nothing comes easy in football and this tournament is far from predictable. The three favourites finished the day winless but only one walked away today without any points added to their tally.
Germany 0 vs. Serbia 1 – They were the most impressive team in the first sets of games in the 2010 World Cup. Then Germany shot themselves in the foot repeatedly. The Germans picked up four yellow cards in the first 37 minutes and lost star Miroslav Klose to a red en route to defeat. After Klose’s second red in the 37th minute, Milan Jovanovic drove home a beautifully headed pass to earn Serbia the win. While Jovanovic may have been the star for Serbia, it was referee Alberto Undiano who was the star of the game. The Spanish official blew his whistle 29 times for fouls and took the yellow card out of his pocket on nine occasion. And now Germany has to battle Ghana in their final round robin game without their most experienced player.
Slovenia 2 vs. USA 2 – After a valiant effort against the English, the Americans were expected to walk over the Slovenians. The only problem was that no one told the new boys. Slovenia dominated the opening half with a pair of goals, including a picture perfect Valter Birsa strike from 25 yards out, to open up an apparently insurmountable lead. In the second half, Landon Donovan woke up. He powered home a strike from close range in the 48th minute. Donovan also started the attack that led to Michael Bradley’s 82nd minute goal. Donovan also unleashed a free kick late in the game that Maurice Edu headed home but was quickly disallowed by referee Koman Coulibaly. No one knows why it was disallowed, not even FIFA’s official website. The American conspiracy theories probably aren’t too far from the mark.
England 0 vs. Algeria 0 – Fabio Capello decided the smartest thing to do heading into the game against Algeria was to remove the distraction that his goalkeeper had become. Out was Robert Green and in was David “Calamity” James. The only calamity in the game was the Three Lion offense. The English was frustrated by a strong Algerian defense as the game ended in a nil-nil draw. The English had the lion’s share of the chances but could not find the finish as well-timed challenges by Les Fennecs defenders kept England at bay. With this result, all four teams are alive with a shot of making the knockout stage heading into the final day of Group C action.
Man of the Day: Landon Donovan (USA) – 1 goal
Group C Standings
1. Slovenia 1-1-0, 4 Pts.
2. United States 0-2-0, 2 Pts.
3. England 0-2-0, 2 Pts.
4. Algeria 0-1-1, 1 Pts.
Group D Standings
1. Ghana 1-0-0, 3 Pts.
2. Germany 1-0-1, 3 Pts.
3. Serbia 1-0-1, 3 Pts.
4. Australia 0-0-1, 0 Pts.
Group E: Netherlands (1-0-0) vs. Japan (1-0-0)
Group D: Ghana (1-0-0) vs. Australia (0-0-1)
Group E: Cameroon (0-0-1) vs. Denmark (0-0-1)