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Saturday, June 17, 2006

World Cup Diary - Day Nine

Well quite a bit has happened in the World Cup since I last posted, so just a brief summary rather than my thoughts on each game.

Brazil looked slightly average in their first game. Early on they seemed a little too cocky for their own good trying lots of fancy tricks that amounted to nothing. Admittedly Croatia should be their toughest test in the group and getting the three points was the main thing. Expect to see much more from them as the tournament progresses.

Korea got off to a winning start in group G against Togo and with France continuing where they finished the last world cup (not scoring) in a draw against the Swiss; the Koreans must fancy their chances of making the last 16.

In the final group to get started, the Spanish looked very impressive in their 4 -0 win over Ukraine. Tunisia draw 2-2 in the groups other game. Spain look certain to qualify but I wouldn’t like to say who will join them, but if you held a gun to my head I would go for Tunisia (that’s them jinxed now, ooops.).

Back to group A and Germany crept past Poland with a late goal while Ecuador are looking to be the surprise package of the tournament with an excellent 3-0 win over Costa Rica. Many felt that with games not taking place at altitude their qualifying record would flatter them, so well done Ecuador for proving your doubters wrong so far. Both Germany and Ecuador are through to the next round but meet in a few days to decide who will win the group.

England put in another lacklustre performance against Trinidad & Tobago but two late goals put them in the last sixteen. Rooney is back, and despite lack of match fitness still looked infinitely better than the out of form Owen. Yes if he hits form he is world class, but that seems to be a big if at the moment, so surely Sven must be looking to play Crouch with Rooney. Sweden also managed a win against Paraguay though they still need a point against England to guarantee qualification to the next round.

Yesterday, Mexico were held to a 0-0 draw by Angola, showing again just how much of a farce the FIFA rankings are. The Dutch started out all guns blazing against the Ivory Coast with two early goals but were pegged back to win just 2-1 in the end. And finally saving the best till last, Argentina put on a master class showing other teams just how much they need to raise there game if they want to win the cup. Their 6-0 drubbing of Serbia & Montenegro was awesome to watch, and on that form they are most definitely the team to beat. We may even have witnessed the greatest world cup goal ever scored.

Score Summaries
Day 5
South Korea 2 – 1 Togo
France 0 – 0 Switzerland
Brazil 1 – 0 Croatia

Day 6
Spain 4 – 0 Ukraine
Tunisia 0 – 0 Saudi Arabia
Germany 1 – 0 Poland

Day 7
Ecuador 3 – 0 Costa Rica
England 2 – 0 Trinidad & Tobago
Sweden 1 – 0 Paraguay

Day 8
Argentina 6 – 0 Serbia & Montenegro
Netherlands 2 – 1 Ivory Coast
Mexico 0 – 0 Angola

Later today, Portugal play Iran so hopefully Pauletta will get me some goals. Also group E sees Italy play USA and Ghana against the Czech Republic.

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