(Results of the day: Algeria 0-1 Slovenia, Serbia 0-1 Ghana, Germany 4-0 Australia)
Although day three of the World Cup started off with a dismal contest between Algeria and Slovenia, it got better as the day progressed; finally culminating in a fabulous German performance that sent a “This is how it’s done” message to England, France and Argentina. When it comes to refereeing decisions, it was the most eventful day of the cup so far, as the three matches had one player each sent off. There was also a certain symmetry in the day’s play. All teams that went down to ten men, eventually lost the match.
Day three could well be called a ‘day of gifts’. While Algerian goalkeeper gifted Slovenia a crucial win to allow them to top Group C, Serbian Kuzmanovic’s inexplicable handball handed Ghana a narrow win. The third gift of the day was for Germany, in the form of the Australian defense. Though Germany was in irresistible form, Australia’s defense was in ‘sixes and sevens’ throughout the game. The Germans only semi-exploited this weakness, and still won comfortably.
Here’s a round up of the day’s action..
Player of the Day
Mesut Ozil’s (Germany) movement off the ball, and brilliantly arrowed passes caused mayhem in the Aussie defense. The attacking midfielder from German club Werder Bremen could have easily had two goals against his name, but wasted a couple of one-on-one opportunities. Nonetheless, his mobility accounted for Germany’s first and last goals, and initiated other attacking moves as well.
Goal of the Day
The sheer bravery, execution, brilliance and yet, simplicity of Miroslav Klose’s (Germany) headed goal against Australia to virtually wrap up the game before half-time was the best goal of the day. You must have often heard pundits and commentators mentioning an ‘old-fashioned centre forward’s goal’. Well, this was it, and it was pretty straight forward.
So Klose, yet so far, for Schwarzer!
While most strikers, who are not named Didier Drogba, would have backed out from a wonderful cross by German skipper Phillip Lahm, Klose did not worry about a charging goalkeeper and met it with great courage to rifle the header into the back of the net. The man, however, doesn’t seem to be able to score with his feet.
Team of the Day
Germany makes it a hat-trick of awards. A magnificent and a headline-grabbing performance against Asia’s number one qualifier made the world stand up and take notice of a team that was discarded from being World Cup contenders, in many parts of the world. Joachim Loew’s men also gave this World Cup a much needed dose of free-flowing attacking football. Erase all your doubts because Germany are set to go far in this year’s competition.
Miss of the Day
Miroslav Klose (Germany) missed plenty of sitters in the match. Just before scoring a marvelous headed goal, an unmarked Klose failed to convert a Podolski cross, when all he needed to do was to hit the target.
Stupidities of the Day
When Abdelkader Ghezzal (Algeria) was introduced just before the hour mark, he was supposed to be Algeria’s trump card. Instead, he lasted less than fifteen minutes on the field. After a completely unnecessary tug of a Slovenian shirt, he followed it up with a deliberate handball and headed for football’s proverbial ‘early bath’.
Zdravko Kuzmanović (Serbia) handled the ball in the penalty area to gift Ghana’s Asamoah Gyan a late penalty, which was duly converted. The moment of madness means Serbia cannot afford to lose any of it’s remaining matches, which are against Germany and Australia.
“Off you go, son”..”But why?”
Nonsense Refereeing of the Day
Marco Rodriguez(Ger-Aus) not only missed a clear handball that would have handed Australia a crucial lifeline, he compounded the Aussie misery by ridiculously sending off Tim Cahill, a few moments later.
(Joachim) ‘Loew blow’ of the Day
Soccerroos. Four hard ones.
‘Criminals of football’ for the Day
Algeria and Slovenia. To call it a contest, would be a joke. To call it football, would be a crime. To call it a display of talent, would be an insult to talent. The World Cup already misses Egypt and Russia.
‘Robert Green’ for the Day
The goalkeeping virus is spreading! Goalkeeper Chaouchi Faouzi (Algeria) let a tame effort by Slovenian captain Robert Koren through his hands, thereby gifting Slovenia their first ever World Cup win, and taking away any hope Algeria had of qualifying for the knockout stages. His name just makes the blooper even funnier. Go ahead, pronounce it.
What the Faouzi was he doing?!
Sour grapes of the Day
It’s a mystery as to how Lucas Neill (Australia) remained on the field till the full-time whistle. His frustrations led to more than a couple of silly off-the-ball incidents and consistent fouling. The Australian captain was far from the leader his country required him to be.
Historic Moments of the Day
Dejan Stankovic (Serbia) became the first player to play in a World Cup serving under three different flags. He earlier represented Yugoslavia in France’98 and Serbia and Montenegro in Germany’06.
Ghana became the first African country to win a World Cup match on African soil.
Finally, an African success!