Thursday, June 15, 2006

Day 6 Round-up: Spain 4-0 Ukraine, Tunisia 2-2 Saudi Arabia, Germany 1-0 Poland

Neuville Breaks Polish Hearts:

Signal Iduna Park, Dortmund
Germany 1 - 0 Poland


Germany - Neuville (91 min);

Oh, how I feel for Poland. I was literally on the edge of the seat as the dramatic game wore on. A moment of brilliance and sheer predatory skills from Olivier Neuville brings the Polish down to earth and sadly, they're the first team to be eliminated in the 2006 World Cup. The Polish were hanging on while the Germans were seriously substandard and a game marred by tons of close shaves and embarassing misses. Both teams going into the game with different atittude. The Germans know that they'll go into the last 16 if they win it while the Polish knows that they could not afford to lose this game.

So the first half was as expected, a cagey and tense affair. Polish did threatened early on and they looked well prepared for this game to be honest. They defended quite deep and looked much more organised than they did against Ecuador.
Well, the Germans honestly don't look as good as they were on the opening game and their passing game was at their best. Maybe the inlcusion of captain Michael Ballack did something to the fluency of the Germans or maybe he's still lacking abit of match fitness. Anyway the Germans had a fantastic chance to draw first blood but Miroslav Klose, who's usually so accurate with his headers, sent the ball agonisingly wide. If that's worst, then how about Lukas Podolski's? Philipp Lahm marauding down the left, sent a wonderful ball into the box for Podolski, who found himself 1 on 1 with Artur Boruc, but once again he's wasteful and sidefooted the ball wide again.

As the German frustration grows and Polish fans urging the team on, the match took a dramatic twist when Polish midfielder, Radoslaw Sobolewski was sent off for a second yellow and Poland down to 10 men. So now they have to defend their only hope with 10 players and had to hand the initiation of the game to the Germans, who brought on Odonkor, Neuville and Borowski. In the last 10 minutes, the Polish were literally hanging on by a thread as Artur Boruc, their goalkeeper made saves after saves. It seemed that it was definitely not Germany's day when L
ahm sent in a perfect cross for Klose, who's unmarked. Surprisingly, he headed the ball against the bar and you thought Michael Ballack was on hand to finish it off, but NO! He crashed the ball against the crossbar as well!

The story finally unfolds as the Germans kept their persistent attack and it looks like they're really getting closer and closer. The Polish defence seemed to have collapsed in the last few moments in the game and you could see it coming, don't you? Odonkor, the substitute raced onto the loose ball and put in a inch perfect cross for Oliver Neuville to slide the ball beyond the reach of Artur Boruc. Pure joy for the Germans. Utter disappointment and pain for the Poles. Bad luck, Poland. I actually think you guys deserved something out of this game. But it's football, and it's cruel. But again, what a match! This World Cup is turning into quite a classic already!

Jaidi Rescues Tunisia:

Allianz Arena, Munich

Tunisia 2 - 2 Saudi Arabia

Tunisia -
Jaziri (23 min); Jaidi (90 min);
Saudi Arabia - Al Kahtani (57 min), Al Jaber (84 min);

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