South Africa, the 13th of June 2010 [PDN]: Another goalkeeping blunder, to match that or England’s Robert Green, saw Slovenia take a last gasp 1-0 victory over Algeria in Polokwane, South Africa. In what was a dull encounter, the 79th minute winner by Captain Robert Koren was enough to send Slovenia to the top of a group which also includes England and the USA.
Koren, the captain of Slovenia and midfielder for West Bromwich Albion in the English Championship division, was given too much space on the ball when he let off a tame shot on the edge of the penalty area, which was then left to bobble over the line by goalkeeper Faouzi Chaouchi.
The match was the first at any World Cup to be played on a surface which was not 100 per cent grass and the only effort on goal in the opening 30 minutes came when Samir Handanovic tipped Nadir Belhadj’s curling free-kick over the crossbar.
A late Asamoah Gyan penalty saw Ghana take a valuable 1-0 win in their Group D match against Serbia. Staged at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria, Ghana were perhaps the better side on the night as Coach Milovan Rajevac engineered a decisive win over his countrymen.
The only goal can in the 84th minute as Gyan coolly rifled home a penalty following Stuttgart midfielder Zdravko Kuzmanovic’s handling of the ball in his own penalty box. Only 10-minutes earlier Serbia had been reduced to 10-men after Aleksandar Lukovic was dismissed for a second bookable offence.
Ghana are now sitting in a prime position to take second spot in the group, which could be confirmed following the result of their second match against Australia on the 19th of June. Serbia will now face the rampant Germans at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on the 18th of June.
Germany kicked off their World Cup campaign in style, beating a determined Australian side 4-0 in a show of strength that has but them as frontrunners to take the title in many punters minds.
Lukas Podolski, Miroslav Klose, Thomas Mueller and substitute Cacau all got on the score sheet in a match that saw the halftime score sit at an overwhelming 2-0 in Germany’s favour. The sending off of influential Australian and Everton midfielder Tim Cahill in the 56th minute saw the flood gates open as Germany didn’t fail to press home their advantage.
The Australians, although spirited and determined, were technically outclassed by the German juggernaut that put on a display that is being labelled the best of the tournament to date.
Tonights matches see the Netherlands V Denmark, Japan v Cameroon in Group E matches whilst Italy play Paraguay in the first of the Group F matches.