All 32 teams have played two matches as the World Cup groups have started to take shape. Some teams have qualified for the knockout stage while others will sweat on the last match. This is a short round-up of Groups E to H, of the results as they stand after two matches.
1. Italy 4pts, 2. Czech Republic 3pts, 3. Ghana 3pts, 4. USA 1pt
Italy drew 1-1 with the USA in a bad tempered game to lead Group E by a single point. Alberto Gilardino broke the deadlock after 22 minutes but an own goal from Cristian Zaccardo five minutes later drew the sides level. Daniel de Rossi was sent off for the Italians after 28 minutes while Pablo Mastroeni and Eddie Pope saw red for the Americans after 45 and 47 minutes.
The Czech Republic are in real danger of not qualifying from the “Group of Death” after Ghana defeated them 2-0. Gyan Asamoah sent the Black Stars on their way inside the first minute and Sulley Muntari sealed an unlikely 7/2 (Coral) victory with nine minutes left.
1. Brazil 6pts, 2. Australia 3pts, 3. Croatia 1pt, 4. Japan 1pt
Brazil are still not firing on all cylinders but made it two victories out of two against plucky Australia. Adriano got off the mark three minutes into the second half but it wasn’t until substitute Fred struck two minutes from time that a 1/4 (Coral) victory was secured.
Croatia need to beat Australia in their final match to have any hope of qualifying after a goalless draw against Japan. Former Portsmouth goalkeeper Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi was inspired in the first half and saved a penalty from Darijo Srna to keep the scoreline level.
1. Switzerland 4pts, 2. South Korea 4pts, 3. France 2pts, 4. Togo 0pts
Switzerland topped the group after a comfortable victory against rock bottom Togo. Alexander Frei gave the 4/6 (Coral) Swiss the perfect start after 16 minutes and Tranquillo Barnetta added a second with three minutes remaining.
Former world champions France need a victory against Togo if they are to qualify for the last 16 after throwing away a lead against South Korea. Thierry Henry gave France the lead after eight minutes but Les Bleus failed to capitalise on a dominant performance and allowed Park Ji-Sung to snatch an equaliser with 10 minutes left.
1. Spain 6pts, 2. Ukraine 3pts, 3. Tunisia 1pt, 4. Saudi Arabia 1pt
Spain continued their promising start to the tournament after coming from behind to beat Tunisia 3-1. Jawhar Mnari capitalised on a defensive mistake to give Tunisia the lead after seven minutes and it wasn’t until the final 20 minutes that 1/2 (Coral) justified their price. Substitute Raul levelled on 71 and Fernando Torres put Spain in front four minutes later. Torres became the Cup’s leading goalscorer with three goals when he converted an injury time penalty.
Ukraine’s qualification to the second round was back on track after they crushed Saudi Arabia 4-0, wiping out the negative goal difference sustained by a same score defeat by Spain in the first match. Andriy Rusol opened the scoring after three minutes, Sergei Rebrove struck a magnificent second on 35, Andriy Shevchenko scored on the stroke of half-time and Maksim Kalinichenko netted the fourth on 83.
David Walker runs a free bets website. You can watch live football during this year’s World Cup.
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