Nani 5 Varela 90 – Jermaine Jones 64 Clint Dempsey 81
MOTM Fabian Johnson
Beto started in goal for Portugal. On the 5th minute mark Geoff Cameron allowed a cross to go past him and Nani took the ball and scored. Possession was more Portugal’s especially early on but this wasn’t reflected in shots at goal where US had just as many chances. Late in the half Nani hit the post and the rebound fell to substitute Eder whose shot was saved in a great reflex punch by Tim Howard. Ten minutes into the second Fabian Johnson ran to the goal line with the ball, his cross beat on rushing Beto and Michael Bradley failed to score on the open goal, his shot almost directly at Ricardo Costa was saved off the line by the defender. US’ plan seemed to be to exploit Portugal’s left side. US’ first goal came when Jermaine Jones was able to collect the ball and shoot from outside of the box into the far corner. Beto barely moved. Moments later Howard made another great save off a Raul Meireles shot. A series of passes that were almost offside in two instances led to the ball getting to Clint Dempsey who scored off his body from six yards out. Just as it seemed Portugal were exiting the World Cup Ronaldo delivered a cross which Varela diverted behind Howard to save Portugal.
Algeria 4-2 South Korea
Islam Slimani 26 Rafik Halliche 28 Abdelmoumene Djabou 38 Yasine Brahimi 62 – HM Son 50 JC Koo 72
MOTM Yasine Brahimi
Algeria looked more comfortable on the ball and South Korea managed only one real attack on the Algeria goal in the first half. On the other of the pitch side poor defending and goalkeeping allowed the Algerians to go up 3-0. First Islam Slimani took advantage of a central defensive mistake to go through on goal and score then Rafik Halliche jumped and headed in before Sung-Ryong Jung could punch away the corner. Ten minutes later Abdelmoumene Djabou took advantage of some ball watching in the Korea defence to shoot freely past the Korean goalie. Early in the second half Korea started what they hoped would be a big come back. Heung-Min Son managed to hold the ball, dummy the defender, turn and shoot in between Rais M’Bolhi’s legs. South Korea continued to dominate for a while. It was Algeria who got the next goal however. A one two between Yasine Brahimi and Sofiane Feghouli opened space for the former to score. Korea’s Ja-Cheol Koo diverted a short pass into goal to make it 4-2 but that was it.
Belgium 1-0 Russia
Divock Origi 88
MOTM Vincent Kompany
Still no room in Russia’s starting 11 for Aleksandr Kerzhakov and Alan Dzagoev. Jan Vertonghen missed out for the Belgians. Dries Mertens and Marouane Fellaini did get starts for Belgium. Early parts of the game featured more Belgium possession especially attacks down the right side by Mertens. Russia’s fewer attacks may have resulted a penalty in the 27th minute when Toby Alderweireld seemed to make contact with Maksim Kanunnikov but the ref didn’t whistle. Thomas Vermaelen had picked up an injury during the warm up and couldn’t continue beyond the 31st minute and was replaced by Vertonghen. The half’s best chance fell to Russia as Alexander Kokorin headed a cross just wide. The second half saw more Russian movement and a better share of chances. Mertens and Eden Hazard struggled somewhat and Romelu Lukaku was again withdrawn in favour of Divock Origi. Later Mertens was subbed out too. Very late in the game Hazard and Belgium seemed to come to life and after two half chances Hazard provided the assist for the winning goal. He drifted in near the goal line, passed to Origi who then shot high past Igor Akinfeev.
Bosnia and Herzegovina 0-1 Nigeria
Peter Odemwingie 29
MOTM Emmanuel Emenike
The game started poorly with a more offensive Nigeria having the slight better of play compared to their first vs Iran. In the 22nd minute Edin Dzeko was wrongly judged to be offside otherwise Bosnia would have been up by one somewhat against the run of play. Two minutes later Dzeko shot hard and Vincent Enyeama saved well. Bosnia started to get into the game. Just before the half hour mark Emmanuel Emenike ran and crossed to Peter Odemwingie for the opener. Bosnia protested that Emenike had fouled Emir Spahic just before delivering the pass. Nigeria’s attack seemed exclusively down the right with Emenike playing the role of right winger and provider well. The second half featured lots of running and half chances. After having made all the attacking subs possible Bosnia only really threatened Nigeria’s goals just once before full time when a Dzeko shot was half saved half deflected by Enyeama and hit the post. Bosnia joined some big and bigger names in being eliminated from the World Cup. The surprise table after two matches meant Nigeria could afford to lose their last game vs Argentina and still progress.
Germany 2-2 Ghana
Mario Gotze 51 Miroslav Klose 71 – Andre Ayew 54 Asamoah Gyan 63
MOTM Harrison Afful
Kevin prince Boateng started for Ghana and the Africans made a change in goal starting Fatawu Dauda in place of Adam Kwarasey. Ghana had slightly the better and more of the ball as the first half progressed but the final ball was missing. The second half started rather quietly until Mario Gotze ran in between the two central defenders and almost unknowingly scored off head then knee. Less than three minutes later Andre Ayew jumping over sub Shkodran Mustafi (on for Jerome Boateng at half time) equalized by heading on a cross into the far side. For Ghana’s second goal Sulley Muntari passed to Asamoah Gyan who was probably only onside because of Mustafi and he shot well past Manuel Neuer. Germany reacted by bringing on Miroslav Klose and Bastian Schweinsteiger. Within minutes Klose poked the ball in from a corner and in the process tied Brazil’s Ronaldo for most goals at the World Cup. The game ended tied and with Muntari set to miss Ghana’s third game after getting a yellow in his first two games.
Argentina 1-0 Iran
Lionel Messi 90
MOTM Lionel Messi honourable mention to Alireza Haghighi
Very much a David and Goliath match up on paper and the possession was, as expected, lopsided. Chances, especially on the ground, were few and Argentina only really threatened via corners with one notable being a Marcos Rojo header. Iran had similar chances from the corners too. First half possession was 73% for the South Americans. Argentina started the second with some more purpose but the best first best chances were arguably Iran’s. Ashkan Dejagah ran to the ball and was brought down by Javier Mascherano. There was a penalty shout. A bit later Reza Ghoochannejhad headed a cross straight at Sergio Romero. Lionel Messi had a shot miss narrowly and the game seemed to open up and surprisingly Iran created some nervous moments for the South Americans. Dejagah forced the best save so far by heading the ball which Romero managed to divert over the crossbar. Angel di Maria forced a save and a bit later another which Alireza Haghighi saved well. Argentina withdrew the largely ineffective Gonzalo Higuain and Sergio Aguero for Ezequiel Lavezzi and Rodrigo Palacio. Most Argentine balls were well dealt with but in added a time curled ball from outside of the box had the quality needed to beat the Iranian goalie.