Thursday, June 15, 2006

Germany, Ecuador , England sail through, Sweden almost there,Poland , paraguay Out.

Group A :

Germany and Ecuador are already through and would battle it put for the top spot when they both meet in their last match. Poland and Costa Rica will fight out for pride.

Ecuador have been the surprise package of the WC so far. And the way they are playing they could pull off another surprise or two and who knows might reach the last eight or four !!
Germany look strong and with the home supporters behind them, contiue to remain one of the tournament's favourites.

Photo : Germany Captain Michael Ballack unhappy after the refree booked him in the game against Poland.

Photo : Neuville scores in the 90th minute against Poland to ensure that Germany got through to the Round of 16 with a game to spare.

Photo : the German team celebrating their win against Poland.

Photo : Tonario celebrates his 8th minute goal against Costa rica. The striker has scored 2 goals in 2 games now for Ecuador.

Photo : Ecuador team celebrating their team's victory against Costa Rica. Ecuador are now at the top of Group A

Group B :

England are already through after a solid & patient performance against Trinidad & Tobago , Paraguay are down & out. Though Sweden look to be the favourites to go through now along with England, Trinidad still have a mathematical chance. Some premutations:
a. Sweden Beat England in the last match -> Sweden would top the group in this scenario with 7 points and will go through along with england irrespective of the result of the other match.
b. Sweden Draw with England : Sweden have 5 points. England top the group and go through with Sweden .
c. Sweden lose to England & Trinidad fail tow in against paraguay. Seden still go through.
d. Sweden lose & Trinidad Win : Will depend on the goal difference.

Photo : Sven goran Erricson was forced to bring on Rooney after a determined Trinidad team kept them at bay for the most of the match.
It was Rooney's first WC appearance. He is expected to play a major role in the knock-out stages if England are to go far in this competition.

Photo: Steven Gerrard after scoring a superb Left-Footed goal against Trinidad in the 90th minute.
England finally showed a few glimpses of why they are bieng hyped so much this time ,but only in the second half against Trinidad. It took them 83 minutes to score their first goal of the match through Crouch(his first WC goal) but earned a deserved victory in the end.

Photo : Ljunberg heads in past the Paraguayan Goalkeeper in the 90th minute to put Sweden almost through into the 2nd round.
It was a frustrating night for both the teams as we saw long spells of midfiled battles. Swedes finally got themselves together and kept pressing hard for the last 20 minutes and finally got the reward through Ljunberg.

Photo : Ljunberg celebrating his all-important last gasp goal.
Ljunberg has always been sharp in front of goal, has been chipping in vital goals at the Highbury for years now , did it for his country this time.

# The last Five matches of the world cup : Tunisia-Saudi , Germany-Poland, Ecuador-Costa rica, England-Trinidad, Sweden-Paraguay all featured last minute goals.Three of those macthes were infact decided by those goals. This world cup has been as thrilling and entertaining as anyone could ever expect, specially after a rather dull (a bit too harsh to say that but whatever) one in Korea-Japan 2002.

# The only thing that has let us down in this football spectacle so far is the refereeing. Specially some of the offside decisions have been horrible. There have been a few debatable sent-off's too. Lets hope it improves soon and doesnt mar an otherwise perfect event.


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