Friday, 28 May 2010
Rep of Ireland 3-0 Algeria
Not a good result for Algeria who look likely to struggle in the group stages on this showing. Ireland who were unlucky not to be in the finals themselves have now beaten two World Cup teams in their last two games and will start their European Championship qualifying campaign in good heart.
Saturday, 29 May 2010
Hungary 0-3 Germany
A comfortable win for Germany who on this form should take Group D without too much trouble – not much else to say here.
New Zealand 1-0 Serbia
A great win for New Zealand who shocked the world no 15 ranked Serbs thanks to a nicely worked goal by Shane Smeltz in the 22nd minute. This didn’t go down well with the Serbian element of the 14,000 crowd who proceeded to cause a bit of trouble throwing flares andother objects onto the pitch. Although you cant read too much into a warm up friendly match on this showing Serbia will struggle to justify their second favourites ranking and Ghana despite the fact they will be missing Essien look a good bet to take the second qualifying place in Group D.
Slovakia 1-1 Cameroon
Slovakia will be quietly confident of making a respectable World Cup Debut after holding the Indomitable Lions to a draw in Klagenfurt, Austria. In a group where all the attention will be on Italy and Paraguay they remain probably 3rd choice, but they should go home without being embarrassed. Cameroon will be very worried about their lack of firepower andthis could be telling as goal difference or even goals scored could decide who joins Holland in the last 16 from Group E
Spain 3-2 Saudi Arabia
Spain started this game witha near full strength squad including players of the caliber of Casillas, Puyol, Pique, Xavi, Alonso, Iniesta & Villa probably expecting a comfortable victory. However that’s not how things turned out and they looked very ordinary in scraping this narrow win. They have a couple more warm up matches left but will have to show a whole lot more than this if they are to lift the trophy for the first time in South Africa.
USA 2-1 Turkey
The USA had to come from behind to win this game but in doing so showed a lot of character and tactical awareness which will stand them in good stead in the finals. Group C should be very interesting with only Algeria looking like whipping boys.
Sunday, 30 May 2010
Belarus 1-0 South Korea
A very disappointing result for South Korea in light of their excellent wins over Equador and Japan in their previous games. However Belarus are not a pushover for any tam and this could just be a blip in form. They face Spain on June 3rd and this will give us a lot more idea about their chances.
Chile 1-0 Northern Ireland
A near second string Chile won a pretty insignificant match against Northern Ireland thanks to some good goalkeeping and a well taken goal by Colo Colo Midfielder Esteben Paredes. They have a match against Israel coming up and they will probably field a team closer to their starting eleven in that.
Japan 1-2 England
Inept is probably the kindest way to describe Englands performance against a plucky Japan side who will feel a trifle unlucky. Trailing 1-0 at half time England had to rely on two Japan own goals for the narrow win and the usually dependable Frank Lampard missed his second consecutive penalty which ironically is probably a good thing as he will never miss three in a row. The good news for England is that they have now managed to beat two fellow World Cup contenders while playing poorly. If they get it right and play to their full potential then they will go a long way in the finals. However if they reproduce this sort of form in the Finals they could go out in the group stages and wont get past the last 16.
Mexico 5-1 Gambia
An easy win for Mexico who look a good team in going forward but their shakydefense was still evident. If they can learn to defend set pieces they could surprise a few teams this year.
Nigeria 1-1 Colombia
Not an overly impressive performance by Nigeria who may not have been ideally suited by the playing conditions at the MK Stadium. An early exit looks on the cards for the Super Eagles in 2010.
Paraguay 2-2 Ivory Coast
A hugely entertaining encounter between two teams who have their sights firmly set on a place in the last 16 at least. Overall The Ivory Coast looked the better team and Paraguay had Aureliano Torres to thank for their draw when he struck from a free kick in the 90th minute.
Tunisia 1-1 France
A crowd of around55,000 watched Tunisia pile the pressure on France coach Raymond Domenech following another disappointing performance. Tunisia took the lead in a first half more notable for the pitch invasion by a cat than the standard of the football. It took France until the 62nd minute for France to equalise and when it came it was defender Wiliam Gallas who snatched the goal. Group A is starting to look very interesting and the French will be hoping that they don’t repeat their ignominious exit of 2002.