Soccer Night In South Africa: First Past The Post

On the ninth day of the 2010 World Cup, we have our first team to officially qualify for the round of sixteen while a second team joined the ranks of the officially eliminated. One group is halfway to being decided as a result while the other in action today was left wide open after today’s three games.

Netherlands 1 vs. Japan 0 – After a day when the favourites disappointed, the Dutch decided to live up to the expectations. A relatively dull, scoreless first half, the action picked up in the final 45 minutes. In the 53 minute, the ball rattled around the Japanese box before spilling to Wesley Sneijder who powered home the game winner. Blue Samurai keeper Eiji Kawashima should have stopped it but instead managed to tip the ball by him and into the net. That was all the Oranje needed to secure the win and become the first side to guarantee themselves a spot in the knockout round.

Ghana 1 vs. Australia 1 – The Aussies may not be known as soccer superpowers but they still have all the fight on the pitch that they do everywhere else. After being shutout by Germany, the Socceroos took only 11 minutes to score their first goal. Mark Bresciano’s free kick from 30 yards was muffed by the Ghanaian keeper and Brett Holman chipped home the marker. The Black Stars were able to answer back quickly. In the 24th minute, Jonathan Mensah’s shot was stopped by the shoulder of defender Harry Kewell which was ruled to be a handball. As the last man back, he was given a swift dismissal with a straight red card. From the penalty spot, Asamoah Gyan put away the goal. The remainder of the game saw both teams with quality chances but the game ended in a draw.

Cameroon 1 vs. Denmark 2 – The Danish practically gifted the last game to the Dutch, they were out for revenge. Too bad that they didn’t start in an inspired way. Ten minutes in, Thomas Sorensen attempted to clear but just handed the ball right back to Cameroon. Captain Samuel Eto’o was quickly passed the ball and drove home his first of the tournament. But rather than fold, Olsen’s Eleven finally found the inspiration they needed. Dennis Rommedhal started a run down the right side which ended with Nicklas Bendtner tapping home the ball. From there, both sides were on the attack but the Danes came out ahead. Rommedhal got the goal in the 61st minute when he curled a shot around the Cameroonian keeper. After the loss, Cameroon becomes the second team officially eliminated from contention in the World Cup. Nigeria is the other team eliminated so far making it a tough tournament for the host continent.

Man of the Day: Dennis Rommedhal (Denmark) – 1 goal, 1 assist

Group D Standings
1. Ghana 1-1-0, 4 Pts.
2. Germany 1-0-1, 3 Pts.
3. Serbia 1-0-1, 3 Pts.
4. Australia 0-1-1, 1 Pts.

Group E Standings
1. Netherlands 2-0-0, 6 Pts.
2. Japan 1-0-1, 3 Pts.
3. Denmark 1-0-1, 3 Pts.
4. Cameroon 0-0-2, 0 Pts.

Sunday’s Schedule:
Group F: Slovakia (0-1-0) vs. Paraguay (0-1-0)
Group F: Italy (0-1-0) vs. New Zealand (0-1-0)
Group G: Brazil (1-0-0) vs. Ivory Coast (0-1-0)

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