Wanna Keep Track Of The World Cup?
Alright, I've been keeping track of all the matches and movement in the group with the uber cool wall chart. Maybe my blog isn't too detailed for you as it doesn't have the group tables anywhere. So here it is! CLICK HERE FOR THE WALLCHART
World Cup Day 4 Results:
Cahill Inspires Aussie Comeback:
Australia 3 - 1 Japan
Japan - Nakamura (26);
Ooh, the 4th day of the World Cup kicked off with the all Asian (okay, let's count the Aussie as Asian shall we?) encounter with Zico's Japan facing off with Guus Hiddink's Socceroos. The Socceroos started brightly in the game and stamped their authority, as they want to tell the whole world that Aussies too, can play some football! Mark Viduka of 'Boro was in centre of almost all the Australian attacks as he leads the line with Liverpool winger, Harry Kewell just behind him.
But they couldn't turn their possesion into goals. So the Japanese punished them with a highly controversial goal. Shunsuke Nakamura, using his lethal left foot, curled a ball into the Australian box. Mark Schwarzer came all the way and tried to punch the ball away, but flapped and the ball went into the net without any of the players touching it. Schwarzer feels he is impeded by the Japanese forwards and I think it should have been a foul. Since goalkeepers are the most protected species ever. Anyway the goal counted and it's 1-0 to Japan. Right after that, Harry Kewell nearly scored an immediate equaliser as he struck a stinger shot that shaved the bar.
Second half is almost one-way traffic, with Australian trying to find the equaliser. They found it difficult as the hot sun continued blazing and Harry Kewell struggling a little as he had just recovered from injury and several players getting tired. Australians made a few substitutions as then Kennedy, Cahill and Aloisi was brought on to try and salvage something out of the game. Mark Viduka had a great chance to score and break his scoring duck, but his freekick was briliantly parried by the Japanese keeper, Kawaguchi.
But the substitutions paid off. A long throw from Lucas Neil caused confusion in the Japanese box and Cahill was on hand to strike the ball through several player's leg. It was the first ever goal scored by the Australians in the World CUp finals and they finally saw the light. But immediately at the other end, he nearly went from hero to zero as he tackled a Japanese player stud up and it was a stonewall penalty, which was fortunately waved away from the referee. He could have been sent off as he already had a yellowcard previously. But again it was Cahill at the centre of things has he struck a beautiful shot outside the box as the ball went in off the post. Australians lead the first time in the game.
It was not long before the Japanese totally crumbled. John Aloisi took the ball and dribbled right into the heart of defence before placing the ball beyong the reach of a disparing Kawaguchi. It's game over for the Japanese, and what a comeback from the Socceroos. This Japanese defeat is something of a reminsce of what happened few weeks back when they took a 2-0 lead against Germany before surrendering it in the last 10 minutes. A great win for the Aussies and there is certainly a chance for them to enter the last 16.
And The US of A Got A Stern Lesson:
United States 0 - 3 Czech Republic
The Czechs went on searching for the 2nd goal and it didn't really take that long, as new Arsenal signing, Tomas Rosicky struck a beautiful right-footed shot that whistled into the net. Something for the Arse fan to cheer about I guess! And really, it was not his last contribution to the game. To me he was the man of the match, as he was a central figure in every Czech moves and he got his second goal as well. He raced onto Nedved's through-pass and all he needed to do is to put it into the net and it was 3-0 and good night USA.
Italians Eased Pass Ghana:
Italy 2 - 0 Ghana
Italy - Pirlo (40min), Iaquinta (83min);
Of course the Ghanians didn't just sit back and watch. They were fairly entreprising and had a few good chances. It's down to their experience and were fairly raw to such big matches. Michael Essien tested Gianluigi Buffon from 30 yards out while there where several calls for penalties. The first was a blatant penalty as De Rossi pushed Amoah in the box but was waved away. The second, was a dive though, and the diver should have been sent off. From the TV angle it looks like it was a penalty, but from the referee's point of view, spot on.
There was another incident that caught my attention. Samuel Kuffour's tackle on substitute Vincenzo Iaquinta. I think it's a grey spot in football's rule. Iaquinta was clearly offside, but he played on and looks like he's gonna score from the 1 on 1 with Kingson, but Kuffour blatantly tackled him from behind and then it was judged an offside. What I think is no matter what, he should have been sent off for that, offside or without. You don't resort to doing things like this and injure a player in the process. But what comes around goes around I guess. In the 83rd minute, Kuffour was on the ball and dwelled on it as Iaquinta raced onto his poor back-pass, rounded Kingson and rolled the ball into an empty net. A fairly good game overall, and I'm very impressed by the Africans showing so far!