(Results: Serbia 1-0 Germany, USA 2-2 Slovenia, England 0-0 Algeria)
What a day of football. It started off with an eventful game, progressed with a cracking contest and ended with a stinker. In the end, the fate of two World Cup contenders was left hanging by a thin rope. Germany were brought crashing down to earth by a gutsy Serbian side, while the whole of England wondered how much Fabio Capello is getting paid by Italians. According to unknown and unseen sources, The English FA have started receiving resumes from all across the world.
Here is a wrap of a wonderful day’s action…
Player of the Day
David James – an England goalkeeper, who went without making a mistake through the match. Monumental effort! On a much serious note, the most eye-catching individual performance of the day was from Serbia’s Milos Krasic, who often bamboozled the Germans and created plenty of openings.
Smartest Finish of the Day
Just when you thought the World Cup lacked intelligent footballers, step up skipper Landon Donovan (USA). From virtually zero-degree angle, less than six yards out and with no other US shirt to support him, Donovan blasted a shot into the roof off the net, to put the USA back in the game. He assessed his options, knew exactly what was required, and executed it perfectly.
Power plus height equals perfection!
Heskey of the Day
You would think Heskey would have made this award his own, by now. However, Wayne Rooney’s (England) performance against Algeria was simply rubbish. This is not the man who was expected to lead England to the World Cup title. Rooney’s touch deserted him and he turned out to be the worst striker on the pitch.
Goal of the Day
Valter Birsa (Slovenia) scored the goal of the World Cup so far, when he curled-in a wonderful left-foot shot from outside of the penalty box, to leave American keeper Tim Howard rooted to the spot. Unlike Diego Forlan’s so-called wonder strike, this did not take a deflection on the way.
(Joachim) ‘Loew Blow’ of the Day
It is the man himself – Joachim Loew (Germany) – who receives this painful title. After the world had drooled over his Ozzie-thrashing German team a few days ago, Germany were well and truly grounded. They are now facing elimination at the hands of Ghana.
Son of the Day
Michael Bradley’s (USA) late equaliser for his father, coach of the US team Bob Bradley, earns him this title. Michael was the brightest spark in the US team, and his hard-working, anticipating runs finally paid off when he found himself at the end of a knockdown in the penalty box. His finish was exquisite, and it kept USA’s World Cup dreams alive.
Son of a B***ley!
Historic Moments of the Day
Serbia earned their first ever World Cup win as an independent nation. Milan Jovanovic (Serbia) also scored their first ever World Cup goal.
Jovanovic’s winner against Germany!
Germany were handed their first group stage defeat since 1986. First German World Cup penalty miss in 24 years. A truly historic day.
Bottler of the Day
Lucas Podolski (Germany) bottled it for Deutschland. His penalty miss came two mins after he had failed to capitalise on two glorious chances. He then, went on to miss another wonderful opportunity. Klose was badly missed.
So much for the hype!
Laughing Stock Of The Day
It is not a good time to be associated with England, right now. When the World Cup draw was done, the whole nation was happy with the ‘easiest possible draw’. The English arrogance was typified by one particular headline, which will especially be enjoyed by Liverpool supporters. See below.
Biggest Controversy of the Day
But for a bizarre decision from referee Koman Coulibaly (Mali), ‘Team USA’ would have completed a sensational second-half comeback. After watching several replays, one still hasn’t been able to figure out why Adu’s goal was ruled out in the dying minutes of the game. There was plenty of tussling going on, but nothing to suggest that an American player was fouling a Slovenian any more than a Slovenian was fouling an American.
‘Card-friendly clown’ of the Day
Whether his wife had subjected him to domestic torture the previous day, or whether he was a Boston Celtics supporter, is simply not known. However, Spanish referee Alberto Undiano Mallenco (Spain), stepped onto the field in no mood for leniency, brandishing out card after card in the Germany-Serbia match. He handed eight yellow cards, and one extremely harsh red card to Miroslav Klose.
Taa-daa! the card trick!
Funniest Quotes of the Day
Steven Gerrard (England) was asked “So what was missing today, Steven?”. He replied “Goals.”, and paused for a long time before realising he needs to say more in front of the cameras. England were just too simple both, on and off the field.
After beating Germany, Nemanja Vidic (Serbia) said “Everything is in our hands”, and quite literally, it is. It’s Serbia’s idiotic hand balls that are defining their tournament.
‘Malfunction of a football player’s tiny brain’ of the Day
What is it with Serbs and hand balls? After Kuzmanovic’s ridiculous gift to Ghana in their opening game, Nemanja Vidic decided he needs to be in the morning papers, as well. With absolutely no danger in sight from a Podolski cross, the Man United centre-back dramatically threw himself full-stretch to touch the ball with his hands in the penalty area, in hope of earning a foul. Unlike Kuzmanovic, who broke into tears, Vidic has Serbian goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic to thank, for letting him off the hook.
Vidic – the flying Serb!
Team of the Day
It could have been Serbia, but it has to be Algeria. The gulf of talent between England and Algeria was neutralised by a wonderfully hard-working, gutsy and efficient Algerian team. Algeria took the game to England in the beginning, and were better than their more illustrious rivals, when in possession of the ball.
Stat of the Day
Since 1966, only Jay-Jay Okocha (33 shots) has had more shots without scoring than Frank Lampard (31 shots) in the World Cup. Frank still has the Slovenia game to claim the record.
Celebration of the Day
We saw it in the first match, and we saw it again. Upon scoring a goal, the Slovenian players indulge in some sort of a ‘rain dance’ that can only be seen in an islolated, uneducated tribe in the forests of Africa. Unfortunately, there is no FIFA rule stating that the goal can be withdrawn on the basis of a poor celebration.
Slovenian ‘rain dance’
Biggest laughter of the Day
Mocked, bruised and battered by the British media, former coach Sven Goran Eriksson must have enjoyed England’s downfall. In hindsight, he might just have over-achieved with this English side – two quarter-final appearances in the last two World Cups.