World Cup 2014 Notes III
MOTM John Brooks
No Kevin Boateng and Michael Essien in the starting lineup for Ghana as the Ghana coach Kwesi Appiah apparently “insisting” that Essien and Sulley Muntari can not be in same line up, in an apparent shot a certain Milan coach …. or not. For the first goal Clint Dempsey danced around Ghana defenders and shot into the far side. At 32 seconds this was not the fast goal in World Cup history, that honour falls to Hakan Suker’s 2002 goal at less than half that time. US’ Joze Altidore seemed to pull up with a hamstring injury in 22nd minute and was replaced, could prove to be a big loss for the Americans. Ghana slowly gained control of the game but were extremely wasteful until a great Asamoah Gyan backheel opened a path for Andre Ayew to shoot past Tim Howard. But it was for naught as substitute John Brooks, on for the injured Matt Besler headed home from a corner.
Iran 0-0 Nigeria
MOTM Mehrdad Pooladi
Huge chunk of possession for Nigeria but clear cut chances were not exactly numerous, for either team. Second half was more balanced but Iran were still looking to counter with Reza Ghoochannejad the point of attack and yielded most of the possession to the Africans. Iran’s performance can be called tactically disciplined but little else. This was the first scoreless match of the 2014 World Cup, it took 12 matches for it to happen.
Germany 4-0 Portugal
Thomas Muller 12P 45 78 Mats Hummel 32
MOTM Thomas Muller
Early warning that pace will be a problem for both defences with Portugal in particular exploiting Nani and Ronaldo’s speed to good effect. Rui Patricio’s poor clearances almost gifted Sami Khedira and Germany a goal. Soon after Mario Gotze was dragged back in the box and Thomas Muller converted the penalty. Later Germany missed great chance on the counter but scored on the ensuing corner. Mats Hummels jumping ver Pepe to head in for Germany’s second. Late in the half Muller fell and grabbed his face, the referee seemed to let it go but Pepe reacted angrily to Muller and was sent off. Just before the half Muller controlled the ball well enough to elude Bruno Alves and shoot in for the third. For their part Portugal probably deserved a penalty in the 75th minutes when substitute Eder was brought down. Not longer after Muller scored his 8th all time World Cup goal to make it 4-0 and leave Portugal in early trouble.
Argentina 2-1 Bosnia and Herzegovina
Sead Kolasinac 3OG Lionel Messi 65 – Vedad Ibisevic 84
MOTM Lionel Messi
First free kick of the game was dropped in by Messi and almost unknowingly went off Sead Kolasinac’s ankle and into his own goal. Bosnia kept possession and managed to keep the ball away from Messi and even more so Aguero. Bosnia troubled Argentine goalkeeper Sergio Romero more than most would have guessed or expected. Two Argentine changes at half time to move and keep the ball forward, a kind of 4-3-3, Gonzalo Higuain cam on for Maxi Rodriguez and Fernando Gago for Hugo Campagnaro. It took 65 minutes but on his first real full run and control of the ball Messi scored off the post. Later substitute Vedad Ibisevic’s shot found its way under Romero to give Bosnia hope but it remained 2-1 with Bosnia giving Argentina something to think about.
France 3-0 Honduras
Karim Benzema 45P 72 Noel Valladares 48OG
MOTM Karim Benzema
The national anthems didn’t play and the players had to shake hands and start the game! Two crossbars were France’s early warnings but they were held off well for most of the first. Wilson Palacios and Paul Pogba tangled and both got yellowed, at another time and a bit more and both could have had reds. Palacios second yellow for a push on Pogba in the area late in the half probably only accelerated the inevitable. A shot by Karim Benzema created the first confusion of the World Cup, the shot rebounded off the post back to the Honduras goalie and in. The new goal line technology seemed confused everyone in the stadium and watching because it ruled no goal for the ball off the post but correctly a goal for when it came off the Honduras goalkeeper. Later Pogba withdrawn possibly with one eye on possible second yellow and suspension for him.
Switzerland 2-1 Ecuador
Admir Mehmedi 48 Haris Seferovic 90 – Enner Valencia 22
MOTM Ottmar Hitzfeld for two goalscoring substitutions!
Lots of passing by Swiss struggling but they struggled too close to the Ecuador goal. The Swiss were punished when a free kick was headed in by a pretty open Enner Valencia. Valencia has now scored in five consecutive games for his country. Admir Mehmedi brought on for Valentin Stocker at half equalized for the Swiss and within three minute Ecuador conceded a similar goal to their own, but from a corner. Possession remained for the Swiss but again but not many clear chances for them. After wasting a good chance another Swiss sub, Haris Seferovic, scored from close range seconds before full time.