Bosnia became the fifth team to be eliminated from the FIFA World Cup 2014 joining the likes of Spain Australia, England, and Cameroon who would have already booked their return tickets back home. Matchday 10 also saw heroics from Lionel Messi and a thrilling encounter between Germany and Ghana, who played an end to end game right from the word go, till the final whistle.
Klose equals Ronaldo`s record
His age maybe on the wrong side of the thirties or the customary flip/ somersault may not be that perfect as it used to be, but Miroslav Klose certainly proved to all of his doubters that he still has those predatory instincts which has made him a top marksman and is not at all a passenger in this supremely talented German squad.
Making a 100+ appearances and scoring 50+ goals for your country is many a professional footballer`s dream and Klose has achieved that through his longevity and passionate approach towards the game. The decision to turn down Jerzy Engel and the Polish national team some 13 years ago turned out to be a master stroke for Klose as it would have been tough to match the same record with the Polish national team. Saturday night saw Klose equal Ronaldo`s record of 15 World Cup goals.
The 36 year old marksman once again proved his worth in a German shirt by scoring a vital equalizer to keep his country`s hopes alive in this World Cup. In an inspired tactical change by Head Coach Joachim Loew, who introduced Schweinstiger and Klose for Khedira and Goetze as soon as Gyan scored Ghana`s second goal. The experienced duo, who have 236 caps and 93 goals between them turned the game on its head by having a positive influence on the game. Kroos` corner was turned in by an unmarked Klose at the back post which saved Germany`s blushes and a high probability of them making it to the knock out stage.
Messi breaks Iranian hearts
It took Argentina 90 plus minutes to infiltrate a stubborn Iranian defence and seal their
place in the round of 16. The match was a classic example of one team exhibiting stubborn defending versus another team which was constantly probing throughout the 90 minutes. The Iranian defence held fort for 91 minutes but Lionel Messi had other ideas. Picking up the ball outside the penalty area, Messi produced a curler which ended up at the back of the net. It was a stunning goal and signaled Argentina`s rivals that the little magician is in the mood to cause them substantial damage and bring home the World Cup for the first time since 1986.
Iran, to their credit produced a defensive masterclass and managed to create some chances themselves, the notable ones being a header from Dejagah, which produced a good save from Romero. Reza had another glorious chance to finish off Argentina on the counter attack, but his shot was too weak to trouble the Argentine goalie.
Bad Luck and poor refereeing costs Bosnia
It can be safe to say that referee Peter O`Leary cost Bosnia a place in the knock out round, in
their first ever World Cup Finals. After a very good performance against Argentina at Rio, where they lost 2-1, Bosnia would have been very confident of getting the better of Nigeria. But a combination of poor refereeing and bad luck made sure the Europeans have nothing to play for, except pride, in their final group encounter. First, Edin Dzeko`s goal was wrongly ruled offside by the linesman when replays showed otherwise. Then a 50-50 call went Nigeria`s way when Emmanuel Emineke looked to have fouled Emir Spahic, and slid the ball through to Odemwingie who scored the winner. Nigeria managed to create chances as well but the best chance was created by Dzeko who hit the woodwork in the dying minutes of the game. It`s all over for Bosnia and Nigeria look favorites to progress alongside Argentina to the knock out stages.
Fancied teams can’t take it for granted
Maybe it’s the pressure, or the sweltering conditions in Brazil, the fancied teams just haven’t been able to shake off the ‘under dogs’. The tournament has seen some shock results already and the trend looked set to continue on Saturday until the likes of Messi and Klose intervened.
The second round of Group games will finish on Sunday and one can’t help but think that there are going to be more upsets in this world cup, especially if the favorites are complacent.
Ghana against Germany : Best performance by an African team in Brazil 2014
The Black Stars were scintillating, to say the least, in their 2-2 draw against traditional power houses and three time champions Germany. Their performance was all about energy, hard work and powerful counter attacks. Even during injury time, where many teams are more than happy to defend and settle for a draw, the Ghanaians were countering at break neck pace to find a winner. Despite finding themselves in a 5 on 3 situation on the counter attack in the end, Ghana couldn’t take advantage. The missed opportunities might come to haunt them should USA win against Portugal tonight. But, Appiah`s men have certainly found new admirers with their fearless approach to this World Cup and a similar performance against Portugal in their final group game at Brasilia will help them to the knock out stages, if the results go their way.
(Featured image: courtesy Fifa.com)