Who said the German’s can’t play successful, attractive football? With their 4-0 demolition of Australia, Germany staked their claim to be one of the tournament’s more fancied teams, whilst giving us a match to enjoy. They were simply brilliant, with Schweinsteiger and Ozil linking up well in the midfield. The former sprayed pass after pass and Ozil, certainly one to watch for the future, didn’t stop running. Of the German goalscorers, only one of them was actually born in Germany. Podolski and Klose opened the scoring (both born in Poland), Cacau finished the rout (Brazilian), with token German Thomas Muller getting the third. It makes you wonder… are there any Brazilian wonderkids with an English Great Grandparent that we could snap up? That might solve some of our problems! In all fairness to Germany though, they were outstanding, they dispatched an Australian side set up to defend from the start, with ease. Captain Lahm led by example, a tireless midfield created chance after chance, and the front pairing of Klose and Podolski complemented each other well. Australia were perhaps a little unlucky to have midfielder Tim Cahill sent off in the second half, but it probably wouldn’t have made much difference; they were outclassed and Germany look like they could go a long way in the tournament.
Meanwhile in England’s group, Abdelkader Ghezzal proved that it wasn’t just Rob Green who could make goalkeeping howlers. The Algerian keeper was left red faced when Robert Koren’s late shot seemingly went straight through him to gift Slovenia their first ever World Cup win. The game was a fairly dull one, with neither team playing particularly exciting football. Algeria’s biggest danger probably came at set pieces, when former Portsmouth midfielder Nadir Belhadj could whip some decent crosses in. Unfortunately for them no-one could convert them. On this showing, England shouldn’t, and I would like to emphasise shouldn’t, have any problems achieving six points in their last two games in the group stages.
While the Slovenia – Algeria game was very dull, the match between Serbia and Ghana wasn’t much better. With Serbia probably coming into the game as favourites, it was surprising to see Ghana on the front foot for most of the match. The Ghana team was built for pace, with Asamoah Gyan spearheading the attack. The tempo of the match was quick, and both teams had opportunities. The massive Zigic up front for Serbia had chances but was unable to finish. The game seemed destined to finish goalless, but with 15 minutes remaining, Serbian midfielder Lukovic was shown his second yellow card, meaning that Ghana could push on with their control of the game and force a winner. Although it didn’t come in open play, Ghana’s quick attack was too much for the tiring Serbian defence. With just five minutes left Zdravko Kuzmanovic handled a dangerous cross and although he protested, a penalty was awarded. Asamoah Gyan stepped up, and made no mistake, sealing the win for Ghana and declaring that the win was for all of Africa.