Sportsball (World Cup 2010), Matchday Eight

Germany 0-1 Serbia

Crazy game. Germany were on top, big time in the first half hour, waiting for the  moment to hit the Serbs. For thier part, the Balkan nation was doing its best to keep the Germans out but you feel that the breakthrough was coming.

But then the Ref messed it all up over two very innocuous challenges. Klose didn’t deserve to go, anymore then a lot of the cards handed out needed to be given.

The fact that Germany controlled much of the game after the sending off is testament to how good a team they are. But Serbia’s goal, coming so soon after the red card, was a stunning blow. Serbia held on to the end, somewhat fortuitously, but they have an absolute gift of three points.

This group is finely balanced. Australia will be desperate to get back into the fight with a win, while Ghana can all but book their place in the last 16 tomorrow.

Slovenia 2-2 USA

A lot of the talk is about the US, but Slovenia deserve some mention here. They turned in a truly fantastic performance, calm and collected in the first half, a massive improvement on the first game against Algeria. They very much deserved their 2-0 lead at the break. Two great goals.

But the US came roaring back in the second thanks largely to some good subs from the bench. The Ref is coming in for a lot of flack here and rightfully so. Some crazy frees allowed, yellow cards being given out on a whim and a very questionable call that may have cost America a win. Not that I think they deserved it, on the basis of Slovenia performance.

Slovenia tired towards the end, and the Yanks took advantage. Bradley’s goal was a peach though the celebrations were a little much: you could see the US management teams annoyance. There was still 10 minutes left, time was a wasting.

The US clawed it back, but were unimpressive really. Altidore remains a huge disappointment on the big stage.

England 0-0 Algeria

I’ll echo the common sentiment going around and ask: What the hell has happened to England? Established and well regarded players like Rooney, Gerrard, Lampard, Lennon and Terry just are not cutting it at all.

Truly awful display. No fire, no desire to win. Poor first touches, poor passing. England were constantly losing possession and unable to work much out of it when they had the ball.

Algeria are right up there with Slovenia for improved performance. Excellent defence, and a dogged midfield that fought for every ball. A little bit more clinical in the final third and Algeria would have won this game.

I have no idea what Cappelo can do. Right now, England are staring into the jaws of early elimination. The wheels are edging off the bus. His tactics aren’t working and if Slovenia play like they did today, they can easily get a draw and maybe even a win.

US/Algeria is similarly poised. The US has a dodgy looking backline and a fragile work ethic while Algeria suffer from an attack that seems non-existent at times.

I’ll predict draws in both games. Slovenia to go through, followed by the US…just.

An interesting scenario: A 2-2 draw between England and Slovenia combined by a 0-0 result in the US/Algeria game means that the English and Americans will be level on every criteria. A coin will be tossed to determine the group runner-up.

Can you imagine the reaction if England went out that way? Surely it couldn’t happen? Right?

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