Rabu, 23 Juni 2010

Group D: Germany & Ghana progress, Aussies stun Serbia

Group D awaited an interesting evening with all sides with chances to qualify for the Round of 16.

(matches to kick off simultaneously)

Ghana 0-1 (0-0) Germany
Goals: 0-1 Mesut Özil (60').

Germany defeated Ghana 1-0 at the Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg to finish their Group D engagements top of the group, while Ghana also join them in the pre-quarterfinals.

As tight and tactical match was expected and it came that way as both sides knew that a lot was at stake tonight. Germany looked the more organised of the two sides, but Ghana standing deep and their first line of defence attacking the Germans, forced the Europeans to often play the ball around at the back rather then going for the move forward. Germany's best chance of the half came in the 25th minute when Mesut Özil was found free, but he couldn't place the ball past keeper Richard Kingson. Only a minute Ghana had their best chance of the half as following a corner Asamoah Gyan's corner was cleared of the line by captain Philipp Lahm.

After the break Germany continued to control the game, but long pass sessions didn't get the desired results as often the last pass was missing or they were intercepted by Ghana. Ghana now often relied on the long ball and one such ball reached Asamoah Gyan, but his shot was blocked by Manuel Neuer in the German goal in the 51st minute. Then came the 60th minute as Thomas Mueller played the ball to Özil who from 20 metres out shot the ball with his left foot into the goal past the outstretched hands of Kingson. After the lead Germany got more surety into their game, while Ghana had to risk more to ensure that they reach the pre-quarterfinals. Germany were now out to seal the game on counter attacks, but they somehow couldn't finish of their attacks, while Ghana just didn't bother the German goal too much as a defender or midfielder was always there to stop their attacks. In the end Germany won 1-0 still both sides made it to the Round of 16.

Australia 2-1 (0-0) Serbia
Goals: 1-0 Tim Cahill (69'), 2-0 Brett Holman (73'), 2-1 Marko Pantelic (84').

Australia overcame Serbia 2-1 at the Mbombela Stadium in Nespruit, but it wasn't enough to qualify for the knockout stages, while Serbia finished bottom of the group. It was a match of two halves with Serbia having more of the game in the first session, while Australia were the better side after the breather.

Serbia had their first chances through Milos Krasic and Zdravko Kuzmanovic with Australian goalkeeper Marc Schwarzer keeping his side in the game. After the break Australia were part of the game, but Serbia could have once more gone ahead through Nikola Zigic in the 53rd minute. Thereafter the Aussies had their chances and then in the 69th minute Tim Cahill headed in a Luke Wilkshire cross to give them the lead. Only four minutes later Brett Holman shocked Serbia with a long-range effort to give the Aussies a 2-0 lead. Serbia hit back when a Zoran Tosic shot couldn't be collected by Mark Schwarzer and Marko Pantelic was there in the 84th minute to reduce the margin. Serbia tried everything to get the equaliser which would have meant moving on, but Australia held on to their 2-1 lead.

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