World Cup Diary: Week Two

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A brief review of what happened, day by day, between the 6th and 12th of June in the World Cup.

    Thursday 6th June

    Group A

  • France 0 Uruguay 0
  • The French improved on their woeful opening match performance against Senegal and had plenty of chances against Uruguay despite the early sending-off of Thierry Henry. Henry's Arsenal team-mate Sylvain Wiltord missed a golden opportunity late on and Alvaro Recoba missed an easy opportunity presented to him by Fabien Barthez's maverick goalkeeping. Unfortunately, Uruguayan forward Dario Silva decided to indulge in a spot of what FIFA call simulation, and the rest of us call bare-faced cheating. France are still in grave danger of becoming the first defending champions not to emerge from the group stage since Brazil in 1966. Omens?.

  • Denmark 1 (Tomasson penalty 16) Senegal 1 (Diao 52 )
  • Big match for Liverpool new boy Salif Diao- he gave away a first half penalty, equalised after half time and was sent off late in the match. Group A looking very interesting - Denmark and Senegal 4 points, France and Uruguay 1, France and Uruguay both need two-goal victories to guarantee qualification.

    Group E

  • Cameroon 1 (Eto'o 65) Saudi Arabia 0
  • Following Wednesday's exciting Ireland - Germany match, the second round of matches continued, and things got even better for the Irish. The Saudis improved greatly on their earlier performance (8-0 defeat against the Germans) to restrict Cameroon to a single-goal victory, the goal scored by Sammy Eto'o. After two games, Germany and Cameroon have 4 points, the Republic of Ireland 2 and Saudi Arabia 0. The upshot of all this is that if Ireland beat the Saudis by at least two goals in their final group match, they qualify. Even a single goal victory will be enough as long as Germany and Cameroon don't draw.

    Friday 7th June

    Group B

  • Spain 3 (Morientes 53, 69, Hierro penalty 83) Paraguay 1 (Puyol own goal 10)
  • Spain, widely regarded as underachievers in international competition become the first team to qualify for the second round, as substitute Fernando Morientes scores twice. Eccentric goalkeeper Chilavert came close with a free kick for Paraguay.

    Group F

  • Sweden 2 (Larsson 35, penalty 62) Nigeria 1 (Agahowa 27)
  • Having come from 1-0 down to draw with England, Sweden come from behind again to put themselves in a strong position in the group, all they need is for Argentina to beat England...

  • If you're Argentinian (or Swedish) you may not have enjoyed this match. I, however, am a highly biased England fan and, although Michael Owen may have gone down quicker than strictly neccessary, I was to be spotted celebrating Beckham's penalty by leaping around the bar of a hotel in Sunderland singing obscene songs about Gabriel Batistuta and Juan Sebastian Veron. I'm sure I was not alone. This result puts England in a great position, with 4 points going into their final game against Nigeria, who have already been eliminated. Sweden also have four points, and play Argentina, one of the pre-tournament favourites in danger of elimination.

    England's performance was magnificent, with every player doing their job to perfection, especially Paul Scholes, Rio Ferdinand, David Seaman and the much-maligned trio of Danny Mills, Nicky Butt and Trevor Sinclair. Owen Hargreaves' injury adds to a worrying number of England players short of full fitness, Teddy Sheringham made a good impact as a second-half substitute, and Sinclair absent-mindedly boarded the Argentinian coach after his drug test.

    Saturday 8th June

    Group B

  • South Africa 1 (Nomvete 4) Slovenia 0
  • Slovenia follow Nigeria out of the World Cup following this unremarkable match. South Africa have four points, but still have to play six-point Spain, while Slovenia will be playing for pride against Paraguay (1 point) who still have a slim chance of qualification.

    Group C

  • Brazil 4 (Roberto Carlos 15, Rivaldo 32, Ronaldinho penalty 45, Ronaldo 55) China 0
  • The Brazil who played Turkey were unconvincing, and marred by Rivaldo's acrobatics. The Brazil who destroyed China were BRAZIL. Rivaldo redeemed himself, Ronaldo continued his rehabilitation, Ronaldinho scored a penalty and Roberto Carlos got the ball rolling with a sensational free-kick early on. Lets hope Brazil's contribution to the rest of the competition will be along these lines rather than the cynical play-acting employed by Rivaldo last week.

    Group G

  • Italy 1 (Vieri 56) Croatia 2 (Olic 73, Rapaic 76)
  • Yes, you read that right. Italy's defence, described by experts as 'impenetrable' conceded two goals in three minutes to throw away a lead, although English referee Graham Poll did aid and abet the Croatian cause by ruling out two perfectly good Italian goals, allegedly for offside and shirt-pulling.

    Sunday 9th June

    Group C

  • Costa Rica 1 (Parks 86) Turkey 1 (Belozoglu 56)
  • Costa Rica close to qualification as they grab a late draw with their major rivals for second place, as Brazil were assured of qualification, their six points putting them in pole position ahead of the Costa Ricans (4), Turkey (1) and China, out of the cup after two defeats.

    Group G

  • Mexico 2 (Borgetti 28, Torrado 57) Ecuador 1 (Delgado 5)
  • Mexico go top of group G with six points. Ecuador probably going home after two defeats, but all four teams still in with a chance of qualification. Italy and Croatia have three points each.

    Group H

  • Japan 1 (Inamoto 51) Russia 0
  • Junichi Inamoto can't get himself arrested in London, but Arsenal's forgotten man is set to be the host nation's star of the world cup. The midfielder is outclassing his team-mates, including high-profile Serie A star Hidetoshi Nakata.

    Monday 10th June

    Group D

  • South Korea 1 (Ahn Jung Hwan 78) United States 1 (Mathis 24)
  • The US take an early lead thanks to returning forward Clint Mathis, one of many World Cup footballers to sport a Mohican hairstyle. The Koreans fought back with a goal from Ahn, after Lee Eul-Young missed a penalty, and the Koreans could have won by more had it not been for the quality goalkeeping of Blackburn's Brad Friedel.

  • Poland 0 Portugal 4 (Pauleta 14, 65, 77, Costa 87)
  • Poland become the latest team to go out of the world cup, after their thoroughly inept defensive performance flattered the still below-par Portugese, with striker Pauleta scoring an easy hat-trick. The Portugese have three points, so they need to beat South Korea (4 points) to go through, provided the US (4 points) can get at least a draw with the pointless Poles, if the US lose, Portugal only need to draw.

    Group H

  • Belgium 1 (Wilmots 13) Tunisia 1 (Bouzaine 17)
  • Belgium took an early lead, but held the lead for just four minutes, Tunisia controlling the rest of the match. Tunisia (1 point) look unlikely to qualify, needing a victory over group leaders Japan (4 points). Three-point Russia meet two-point Belgium, which will probably decide who will join the Japanese.

    Tuesday 11th June

    Group A

  • Denmark 2 (Rommedahl 22, Tomasson 67) France 0)
  • France become the first defending champions not to reach the second round since Brazil in 1966. Speedy winger Dennis Rommedahl opened the scoring for the Danes, with star forward Jon Dahl Tomasson taking advantage of some surprisingly naive French defending. France go out of the tournament with barely a whimper - no goals, one point, lucky to get one after their performance with Uruguay. Denmark progress to the next stage as group leaders with 7 points.

  • Senegal 3 (Fadiga penalty 20, Bouba Diop 26, 38) Uruguay 2 (Morales 47, Forlan 69, Recoba penalty 89)
  • Senegal led 3-0 at half-time, an early penalty (which appeared to be the product of a dive) being followed by two strikes from midfielder Papa Bouba Diop, who scored Senegal's goal against France in the opening match. Uruguay fought back in the second half, obliterating the Senegalese lead thanks to a rare goal from Manchester United forward Diego Forlan and a late penalty from Inter Milan's Alvaro Recoba. The Uruguayan comeback proved not to be enough though, as they go out with two points, failing to win a match, and Senegal qualify as runners-up to Denmark with five points.

    Group E

  • Ireland 3 (Keane 7, Breen 61, Duff 88) Saudi Arabia 0
  • The Irish clinched their place in the knockout stages with a comfortable victory over the hapless Saudi Arabians. Robbie Keane gave the republic an early lead but following his goal the Saudis came back and the Irish had some nervous moments and were probably grateful to hear the half-time whistle. The introduction of Niall Quinn led to a second-half resurgence, culminating in defender Gary Breen's goal, knocked in from a Steve Staunton free kick. Damien Duff sealed the victory two minutes from time, guaranteeing that in three world cups, the Irish have never failed to progress to the second round.

  • Cameroon 0 Germany 2 (Bode 50, Klose 79)
  • The Germans ensured their qualification in a bad-tempered clash with Cameroon in a game which saw Germany's Carsten Ramelow and Cameroon substitute Patrick Suffo sent off, and no fewer than sixteen bookings. Germany were already a man down by the time Marco Bode opened the scoring, and the game was effectively killed off when golden boot contender Miroslav Klose doubled the lead ten minutes from time. Klose now has five goals in the tournament, all of them scored with his head.

    Wednesday 12th June

    Group F

  • England 0 Nigeria 0
  • Sven-Goran Eriksson's men qualified from the group despite failing to break down a stubborn Nigerian defence. Rio Ferdinand performed magnificently as he marshalled the English defenders, ensuring that England gained the draw they required for qualification. This match gave Nigeria their only point of the tournament.

  • Sweden 1 (A Svensson 59) Argentina 1 (Crespo 88)
  • Pre-tournament favourites Argentina went crashing out of the world cup at the hands of group winners Sweden. Southampton's Anders Svensson gave the Swedes the lead after just under an hour. Hernan Crespo scored with the rebound of Ariel Ortega's late penalty, but it was not enough to prevent Argentina from joining France on the list of high-profile casualties from this world cup.

    Group B

  • Spain 3 (Raul 4, 56, Mendieta 45) South Africa 2 (McCarthy 31, Radebe 53)
  • Spain are the first team to qualify from the group stage with maximum points, despite making eight changes to the side which beat Paraguay. They were made to fight for their victory by a South African side who needed a draw to qualify. While the South Africans were never ahead, they twice equalised through Benni McCarthy and Lucas Radebe levelling strikes by Raul and Gaizka Mendieta respectively. Raul restored Spain's lead in the 56th minute to send them through.

  • Slovenia 1 (Acimovic 45) Paraguay 3 (Cuevas 65, 84, Campos 73)
  • Paraguay qualified ahead of South Africa by virtue of scoring more goals after their spirited second-half fightback following Milenko Acimovic's opener just before half-time. Nelson Cuevas struck either side of team-mate Jorge Campos.

Group A
Group B
South Africa31115504
Group C
Costa Rica211031+24
Group D
South Korea211031+24
Group E
Rep Ireland312052+35
Saudi Arabia3003012-120
Group F
Group G
Group H

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