With the group stages drawing to a close, its time to sort the wheat from the Chaff. Groups C and D now determined with England making the grade after a vastly improved performance, but only a 1-0 win over Slovenia, USA
will be joining them in the last 16 as Group C winners after a last ditch goal from Donavan in the 92 minutes saw them break the hearts of Slovenia and steal top spot in the dying seconds.
Group D was wrapped up last night with Germany
taking top spot and a beaten on the night Ghana going through as runners up in the group. Unless you’ve had our head in the sand for the last 12 hours, you’ll have heard that England will now face Germany in last 16. A great match is in prospect with this fixture always drawing massive crowds and extra interest. The last time the sides met in a competitive environment, England took the honours 1-0, but before then the Germans had a knack of sending England home, usually after penalties. Let’s hope this match doesn’t go that far and a good match will see a worthy winner, but if it does, Jermain Defoe told the press this morning that the squad have been out practising from 12 yards just in case!
The German coach, Franz Beckenbauer is doing his best to wind up the England team by regularly reporting to the press that England have reverted to the old style of kick and rush. With Wayne Rooney under performing again (although improved from that against Algeria) he will be keen to demonstrate his class and comments form Beckenbauer will only fuel is passion! Like Rooney, I am sure every England fan is relishing the chance to get one over Germany after being dubbed stupid for not winning the group and avoiding Germany in the last 16. All will be revealed Sunday afternoon. Can’t wait!
As for today, Italy
are in need of a performance to stay in the competition and nothing short of a win will do for the Azzuri against Slovakia. In the other side of the group, Paraguay take on New Zealand. As for this evening, Denmark
take on Japan while the in form team Netherlands take on Cameroon looking to make it 3 wins from 3.
Sorry to keep harping on about it, but the French really are getting a hard time over their dismal performance with French President Nicolas Sarkozy meeting talisman Thierry Henry today to get the low down of what went on in the French camp. I would be thinking about a long holiday if I were Raymond Domenech.
Paraguay 0 – 1 New Zealand
Slovakia 1 -3 Italy
Denmark 0 – 1 Japan
Cameroon 1 – 4 Netherlands