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Posted on: Friday, 18 June 2010

Lastest World Cup Results and News …

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Javier Hernandez

Javier Hernandez

France face early exit after loss to Mexico
France suffered an embarasssing 2-0 World Cup defeat to Mexico at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane last night and now face an early exit from the tournament after drawing with Uruguay in their opening Group A match last Friday.

Substitute forward Javier Hernandez (pictured) put Mexico ahead after 64 minutes when he made his way into the box unchallenged and outfoxed France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris to put Mexico ahead on 64 minutes. Worse was to follow for the Europeans 15 minutes later, when veteran forward Cuauhtemoc Blanco made no mistake with a penalty after Pablo Barrera was brought down by Eric Abidal …

France, who were crowned World Cup champions in 1998, have just one point from two games and will face hosts South Africa in their final pool game on Tuesday. They will have to win that game to have any chance of remaining in the tournament.

Uruguay and Mexico top Group A with four points each and will both qualify if they draw next week, eliminating in the process France and South Africa, both on one point. Asked what his team could do now, France winger Florent Malouda responded by saying: “Save our pride”.

“It’s shameful to lose like that,” Malouda told French television channel TF1. “We can’t leave a tournament without winning a match.” Indeed, France’s performance was disappointing to say the least. They were outplayed for the opening 45 minutes during which they failed to create a single chance. Mexico, on the other hand, came close to finding the back of the net on several occasions, first when forward Carlos Vela sprinted into the box unchallenged early on, only to miss the target.

The France fans were made to sweat again after 19 minutes when Mexico fullback Carlos Salcido blasted the ball just wide from the edge of the box. He threatened again eight minutes later, firing straight at Lloris from close range. ‘Les Blues’ were just as ineffective and ordinary in the second half, although they did have a scoring opportunity on 54 minutes when Malouda’s shot from just outside the area flew narrowly over the bar. However, in the end France were just not good enough on the day and coach Raymond Domenech must be a worried man.

The Europeans, who have frustrated their fans with a string of uninspiring performances over the years, can expect a stern test from South Africa on Tuesday in Bloemfontein. Bafana Bafana will be desperate to record a win to keep their hopes of remaning in the tournament alive, and with France in a similar position, an intense tussle is expected at the Free State Stadium.

Vassilis Torosidis

Vassilis Torosidis

Torosidis secures historic win for Greece
Vassilis Torosidis (pictured) scored Greece’s winner in the 71st minute as they downed Nigeria 2-1 to seal their first ever World Cup victory at the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein yesterday. The win also kept their hopes of progressing from Group B alive.

Torosidis pounced after Dimitris Salpingidis’s first half strike had cancelled out a Kalu Uche free kick for Nigeria, who also had Sani Kaita sent off. “We started the game well, controlled the game, got the goal and then had a sending off. That caused us problems, especially in the first half,” said Nigeria coach Lars Lagerback after the match.

Argentina lead Group B with six points from two games while Greece and South Korea both have three points. Nigeria are still without a point after two games. However, they could still qualify for the last 16 if they can overcome South Korea in their final group match and Argentina defeat Greece.

“The positive thing is that if Argentina win their game we still have a chance to qualify,” said Lagerback. Greece coach Otto Rehhagel was also pleased that his team had kept their hopes of progressing alive. “We are going to take on Argentina, a world class team. They will clearly be better than us and we have got to see how to cope with them. We all know the Argentine team is of extraordinary quality,” Rehhagel explained.

Nigeria snatched the lead after 16 minutes when Uche’s 35m freekick glided past everyone including Greece ’keeper Alexandros Tzorvas and landed in the back of the net. The African outfit maintained control of proceedings until the 33rd minute when midfielder Kaita stupidly kicked out at Torosidis and was promptly red carded for his efforts.

“I couldn’t see what happened from my position, what I heard they said he kicked him with the underside of his shoe. I see the Greek player laying, holding his head, so I really don’t know. It looks very strange,” Lagerback said.

The game turned immediately in Greece’s favour after Kaita’s moment of madness. Rehhagel replaced defensive midfielder Socratis Papastathopoulos with striker Giorgos Samaras, who minutes later had a shot cleared off the line. Then came the equaliser.

Salpingidis scored his country’s first ever World Cup goal with a 44th minute strike that deflected off Nigeria midfielder Haruna Lukman before rocketing into the net. Salpingidis, who celebrated wildly with his teammates, also scored the winner in the World Cup playoff against Ukraine to earn his country a place at the 2010 global showpiece.

The second half started at a much faster pace than did the first. Nigeria ’keeper Vincent Enyeama produced a superb save to deny Fanis Gekas, while at the other end, substitute Chinedu Obasi missed a sitter after a swift Nigeria counter-attack.

Abandoning their usual defensive approach, Greece came close to scoring through Samaras before Torosidis netted a second after Enyeama had been unable to hold on to a low shot from Alexandros Tziolis. Greece had failed to score in all four of their previous World Cup matches.

Gonzalo Higuain

Gonzalo Higuain

Higuain’s hat trick puts Argentina into last 16
Argentina became the first team to qualify for the second round of the World Cup when they thumped South Korea 4-1 in their Group B match at Soccer City in Johannesburg yesterday. Gonzalo Higuain (pictured) scored a hat-trick, the first of the tournament, while Park Chu-young suffered the indignation of putting the ball into the back of his own net as Diego Maradona’s seventh ranked team stormed into the last 16.

Chu-young’s own goal after 17 minutes started the rot for the Asian outfit and when Higuain doubled Argentina’s advantage 16 minutes later with a well-taken header, it was always going to be difficult for South Korea to come back.

They did manage to pull a goal back at the end of the first half when Lee Chung-yong dispossessed defender Martin Demichelis and rifled the ball past ’keeper Sergio Romero, but it was ultimately to no avail as Higuain made it 3-1 with a tap-in after 76 minutes and completed his hat-trick with another header four minutes later.

The result left Argentina at the top of Group B with six points from their opening two matches followed by South Korea with three from their first two games. “The result was unexpected but, regardless of the score, it’s possible we can still make the last 16,” said coach Huh Jung-moo. “Whether it’s 4-1 or 3-1… (isn’t) very meaningful,” he added.

Argentina played some of the best attacking football seen at the tournament so far and ‘World Player of the Year’ Lionel Messi, Carlos Tevez and Angel Di Maria were outstanding up front. Messi came close to scoring what would probably have been the goal of the competition in the first half when he ghosted past three defenders only to see his chip over ’keeper Jung Sung-ryong go just wide of the post.

Chung-yong’s goal from the last kick of the first half raised the South Korean’s spirits, but although they improved their standard of play considerably in the second half and should have equalised through Yeom Ki-hun just before the hour, Argentina remained focused to run out comfortable winners.

Upcoming matches (African teams in bold)

Today
Germany vs Serbia – Port Elizabeth – 1.30pm
Slovenia vs USA – Ellis Park – 4pm
England vs Algeria Cape Town – 8.30pm

Saturday
Netherlands vs Japan – Durban – 1.30pm
Ghana vs Australia – Rustenburg – 4pm
Cameroon vs Denmark – Pretoria Accommodation – 8.30pm

Sunday
Slovakia vs Paraguay – Bloemfontein – 1.30pm
Italy vs New Zealand – Nelspruit – 4pm
Brazil vs Ivory Coast – Soccer City – 8.30pm

Current Standings (under headings: played, won, drawn, lost, points)
Group A
Team         P          W         D          L          Pts
Uruguay                  2        1        1        0        4
Mexico                    2        1        1        0        4
France                    2        0        1        1        1
South Africa 2        0        1        1        1

Group B
Team          P          W         D          L          Pts
Argentina                2        2        0        0        6
South Korea             2        1        0        1        3
Greece                    2        1        0        1        3
Nigeria 2        0        0        2        0

Group C
Team         P          W         D          L          Pts
Slovenia                  1        1        0        0        3
England                   1        0        1        0        1
USA                       1        0        1        0        1
Algeria 1        0        0        1        0

Group D
Team P          W         D          L          Pts
Germany                 1        1        0        0        3
Ghana 1        1        0        0        3
Serbia                     1        0        0        1        0
Australia                 1        0        0        1        0

Group E
Team          P          W         D          L          Pts
Netherlands             1        1        0        0        3
Japan                     1        1        0        0        3
Cameroon 1        0        0        1        0
Denmark                  1        0        0        1        0

Group F
Team          P          W         D          L          Pts
Italy                       1        0        1        0        1
New Zealand            1        0        1        0        1
Paraguay                 1        0        1        0        1
Slovakia                  1        0        1        0        1

Group G
Team          P          W         D          L          Pts
Brazil                      1        1        0        0        3
Ivory Coast 1        0        1        0        1
Portugal                  1        0        1        0        1
North Korea             1        0        0        1        0

Group H
Team          P          W         D          L          Pts
Chile                       1        1        0        0        3
Switzerland              1        1        0        0        3
Honduras                 1        0        0        1        0
Spain                      1        0        0        1        0

Note: Group winners and runners-up qualify for second round.

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