Stoppage Time – International Football Blog

South America: Titles decided in Argentina, Chile and Uruguay (+video)

Posted in South America Football by peterbein on June 13, 2011

Three domestic championships were decided in South America this weekend. Vélez Sársfield claimed their eighth Argentinian championship having defeated Huracan 2-0 on Matchday 18 with goals from Santiago Silva and David Ramírez sealing the win whilst their only title challengers CA Lanús lost 1-0 at home to Argentinos Juniors, Nicolas Blandi scoring the only goal of the game. The results meant that Vélez Sársfield have a four point lead with just one game left to play. They complete their Torneo Clausura campaign at home to Racing Club next Sunday.

WATCH HURACAN v VELEZ GOALS HERE:

In Uruguay the respective champions of the Apertura and Clausura championships, namely Defensor Sporting and Nacional, went head-to-head in a play-off. Because of the rules of the competition Nacional, whose aggregate total of points for the two championships was greater than that of their opponents, only had to win yesterday’s match to take the title whilst a Sporting win would mean a further two-legged play-off. Fortunately for Nacional they managed to defeat their title rivals by just a solitary Tabaré Viudez goal in the 19th minute to claim their 43rd championship.

WATCH DEFENSOR SPORTING v NACIONAL HIGHLIGHTS HERE:

There was also an exciting climax to the season in Chile where defending champions Universidad Católica, having enjoyed a 2-0 first leg lead in their final clash with eternal rivals Universidad de Chile, were shocked to lose the second leg 4-1. Universidad de Chile turned things around and claimed their fourteenth domestic championship thanks mainly to a Gustavo Canales hat-trick with Católica’s Juan Eduardo Eluchans scoring an own goal. Despite Lucas Pratto pulling one back it wasn’t enough as Universidad de Chile settled matters by virtue of a 4-3 aggregate win to claim the Torneo Apurtura.

WATCH UNIVERSIDAD de CHILE v UNIVERSIDAD CATOLICA HIGHLIGHTS HERE:

Chile: Top two to meet in championship final (+video)

Posted in South America Football by peterbein on June 6, 2011

Defending Chilean champions Universidad Católica have reached the Torneo Apertura final and will face-off against arch-rivals Universidad de Chile in the two-legged contest.

Universidad Católica, who finished top of the regular season standings, met sixth-placed Unión La Calera who had disposed of Unión Españolain the quarter-finals. Unión took the first leg by two goals to one but yesterday’s second leg saw Universidad scrape through to the final after Enzo Andía’s 46th minute strike helped his team to a 2-2 aggregate draw and thus go through via a superior higher league position in the regular season.

WATCH SECOND LEG HIGHLIGHTS HERE:

Things were much easier for Universidad de Chile after they swept away the challenge of O’Higgins with an 8-1 aggregate win. The first leg, played last Wednesday, was decided in Universidad’s favour with Diego Rivarola’s 67th minute goal proving the difference between the two sides. Saturday’s second leg tie, however, was a completely different story as Universidad put seven goals past their hapless opponents. Strikes from Gustavo Canales (2), Eduardo Vargas, Charles Aránguiz, Albert Acevedo, Marcelo Díaz and Rivarola settled the tie with Enzo Gutiérrez’s 8th minute opening goal proving to be a consolation in the end.

WATCH SECOND LEG HIGHLIGHTS HERE:

Both legs of the Torneo Apertura final will be played at the National Stadium in Santiago on July 9th and 12th.

Chile: Universidad Católica pip Colo Colo to the championship

Posted in South America Football by peterbein on December 6, 2010
Universidad Católica

Universidad Católica are Chilean champions for the tenth time

Universidad Católica have taken advantage of some slip-ups by record champions Colo Colo in recent weeks to register their 10th domestic championship. Universidad only needed a draw at home to relegation threatened CD Everton whilst Colo Colo could only pray that fortune was on their side in their game against Universidad de Concepción.

Due to the devastating earthquake which affected the South American country earlier in the year Chile’s football championship was turned into a larger 34-game season, as opposed to smaller Apertura and Clausura tournaments as is the norm. For Universidad the result of their game against CD Everton was never in doubt once  Fernando Meneses had given them the lead after just four minutes with Marcos Gonzalez doubling the lead to take a 2-0 lead into half-time. The second half turned into a rout with further strikes from Adan Vergara and Felipe Gutierrez as well as a second for Meneses giving Universidad a 5-0 win to win the championship in style and, thus, send their hapless opponents down to the second division in the process. Colo Colo defeated Universidad de Concepción 4-2 in their final match but the record champions finished three points behind Universidad Católica who finished the league campaign with 74 points from 34 matches.

South America: Last day tension guaranteed in Brazil and Chile

Posted in South America Football by peterbein on November 29, 2010
Tartá

Tartá scored Fluminense's crucial second goal against Palmeiras

Two of South America’s top leagues are guaranteed a grandstand finish following this weekend’s results. In Brazil any one of three teams – Fluminense, Corinthians or Cruzeiro – can win the title with two points separating them with one match to play. In Chile the current league leaders Universidad Católica must avoid defeat in their final game if they are to take the title from their nearest challengers Colo Colo.

The Campeonato Brasileiro has made a regular habit of last-day title deciders in recent years and this year is no exception. Fluminense lead the way going into the final day with 68 points from 37 games following a tough 2-1 away win at Palmeiras. Dinei gave the home side the lead after just four minutes leaving “Flu” with a mountain to climb. The league leaders showed plenty of determination to come back and they deserved their victory with goals from Carlinhos (18 mins) and Tartá (58 mins) sealing a crucial three points. On their tails hang Corinthians and Cruzeiro who are one and two points behind the leaders respectively and who are waiting to pounce should Fluminense slip up. Corinthians won their penultimate game against Vasco da Gama 2-0 with goals from Bruno César and Danilo. Cruzeiro, like Fluminense, had to come from behind away from home in order to stay in the title race. The Belo Horizonte based team beat last season’s Brasileiro champions Flamengo 2-1 with goals from Roger and Thiago Ribeiro doing the business. On the final day of the season Fluminense hope to secure only their second ever Brasileiro title with a home win against Guarani. Should Fluminense fail to win then Corinthians and Cruzeiro will be hoping that victories over Goiás and Palmeiras respectively will be sufficient for title success.

Universidad Catolica

Will Universidad win the Chilean league?

In Chile the situation is almost more clear cut following this weekend’s results. Universidad Católica, who have been in second place for most of the season, will be in first place going into the final match of the season having come from behind twice and eventually winning 3-2 in a dramatic last-gasp finish against Cobreloa. Juan Eduardo Eluchans scored the winner for Universidad in the 89th minute as they pulled off a remarkable backs to the wall job. Their real reward came 24 hours later after nearest challengers Colo Colo failed to get anything from their game against C.D. O’Higgins. Esteban Paredes equalized for Colo Colo in the 52nd minute having been behind to an early Samuel Teuber goal but things got much worse for the defending champions after that. Firstly O’Higgins went ahead in the 56th minute through Lucas Ojeda and then two Colo Colo players, Rodrigo Melendez and Esteban Paredes, got themselves sent off. The results mean that Universidad Católica have a three point lead going into their final match of the season against relegation threatened CD Everton whilst Colo Colo must win their final game against Universidad de Concepción and hope that the league leaders lose.

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Chile: Quadruple assault on the title (+video)

Posted in South America Football by peterbein on September 27, 2010
Cristobal Jorquera

Cristóbal Jorquera scored Colo-Colo's last-gasp winner this weekend

Chile’s football championship has reached new heights of excitement after this weekend’s round of matches as the title race begins to reach the final straight. Five points separate the top four teams with fourth place Audax Italiano announcing themselves as serious title contenders following their weekend 3-2 victory away at fellow challengers Universidad Católica. Champions Colo-Colo were the main beneficiaries of the weekend as their 2-1 away win at Deportes La Serena was complimented by the news of defeats to league leaders Universidad de Chile as well as third place Católica. Stoppage Time – International Football Blog reviews the latest action in one of South America’s top leagues.

Record champions Colo-Colo are hoping to win their 30th domestic championship this season and they took what could be a significant step towards their goal with a last-gasp victory away to Deportes La Serena. The home side had the lead following Mauricio Salazar’s goal on 33 minutes and that was how the score remained at half-time. Colo-Colo came back out in determined mood for the second half and had Esteban Paredes to thank for restoring parity just seven minutes after the break. A point would not have been bad for Colo-Colo but, in a dramatic finish to the game, Cristóbal Jorquera ensured that they got all three with a stoppage time free-kick winner to send Colo-Colo on level points with league leaders Universidad de Chile.

SEE ‘LIVE FOOTAGE’ OF JORQUERA’S WINNING GOAL HERE:

Universidad de Chile missed the chance to maintain the three point gap between themselves and Colo-Colo after going down to a 2-1 home reverse against Palestino. The visitors took a two goal lead in the first half through Juan Albornoz (9 minutes) and Gerardo Cortés (37′) before Diego Rivarola halved the deficit for the hosts nine minutes into the second half. The defeat means that Universidad have lost their last two games and thus gave Universidad Católica the opportunity to overtake both Universidad de Chile and Colo-Colo at the top of the standings but it proved to be a very difficult match at home to fourth place Audax Italiano.

Audax, who were unbeaten in their previous eleven league matches before the Católica game, were the form team amongst the top four and went on to prove this despite falling behind to an early third minute goal from Católica’s Roberto Gutierrez. Audax equalized midway through the first half thanks to Lucas Domínguez before going on to take a two goal lead immediately after the interval with Matías Campos’s goals in the 46th and 48th minutes stunning the hosts into silence. Although Católica hit back on 56 minutes with Gutíerrez’s second goal of the game it would ultimately prove not to be enough.

As a result of this weekend’s games Universidad de Chile still hold the league leadership but only by virtue of goals scored. They have 51 points from 25 games with Colo-Colo on the same number of points with a game in hand. Universidad Católica lie in third place just one point behind the top two while Audax’s win moves them to within four points of their defeated weekend opponents to keep their hopes of the title alive.

South America: Uruguay league kicks-off; Leagues Review (+video)

Posted in South America Football by peterbein on August 23, 2010

Stoppage Time – International Football Blog looks at the latest South American league news:

There wasn’t a full programme of matches this weekend in Uruguay but the ball got rolling nonetheless with three teams getting off the mark with a win while the two other matches played at the weekend finished in stalemates. Liverpool had the biggest win of the weekend over Rampla Juniors and had to come from behind at home in order to gain the victory. After Nestor Moiraghi had given Juniors the lead just six minutes into the second half the home side managed to score three times in the space of five minutes thanks to strikes from Hernán Figueredo (70 minutes), Diego Vera (73) and Juan Álvez (75). Central Español, who narrowly avoided relegation last season, also started with a win with Federico Rodriquez’s 65th minute goal being the difference against newly-promoted Bella Vista. There was better luck for another promoted team after El Tanque Sisley, last season’s Segunda División champions, also got the better of their opening day opponents Racing Club de Montevideo by a goal to nil with Maximiliano Callorda scoring the only goal of the game. The two other games saw C.A. Fénix draw 1-1 at home to Tacuarembó and a goalless affair between Cerro and Danubio. To complete the opening round two matches are played on Wednesday with River Plate v Defensor and giants Nacional facing off against Montevideo Wanderers who also provide the opposition for defending champions Peñarol in their opening match on Saturday.

Three games into the new Argentina Apertura season sees contrasting fortunes for the big two of the league. River Plate are one of two teams (along with Vélez Sársfield) with a 100% record after los Millionarios defeated Independiente at home by three goals to two. An eventful opening twenty minutes saw a double from River’s Rogelio Funes Mori sandwich a lone strike from the visitors’ Andrés Silvera. Paulo Ferrari extended the lead for River after just 25 minutes but the crowd would have to wait until the final minute of the game before Independiente were to pull one back to provide the game with a nervous finish. River held out to win 3-2 and are in a great position to fight head-on the battle against relegation (based on the three year points average). Their arch-rivals Boca Juniors have had no such luck in the Apertura thus far going down to the second defeat in three games, the latest setback coming against newly-promoted All Boys who scored both their goals in a 2-0 victory in the first half which sends Boca down to 19th place in the table and increases the pressure on new coach Claudio Borghi. Joint leaders Vélez Sársfield had to wait until the last twenty minutes to secure their 2-0 win over last season’s Clausura champions Argentinos Juniors. Goals from Leandro Somoza (70 mins) and Santiago Silva (76) secured the perfect record for Vélez who are hoping to win a national title for the first time since the Clausura 2009 tournament.

WATCH RIVER PLATE v INDEPENDIENTE HIGHLIGHTS HERE:

The Brasileiro still continues to be tight between the front runners with two points separating league leaders Fluminense (15 games, 33 points) from Corinthians. Fluminense took the lead in an all-Rio de Janeiro match-up with rivals Vasco da Gama thanks to an early 6th minute strike from Gum but Vasco turned the match around with strikes from Éder Luís (37 minutes) and Fagner (48) before parity was restored through Júlio César on the hour mark to give Fluminense a share of the points. There was another local derby when Corinthians got the better of São Paulo FC by three goals to nil with Elias scoring twice in the first half before Jucilei sealed the deal on 70 minutes to narrow the gap at the top. This weekend sees cross-city rivalries take centre stage for both title chasers as Fluminense play Palmeiras at home whilst Corinthians travel to Rio in order to play Vasco da Gama.

WATCH FLUMINENSE v VASCO DA GAMA HIGHLIGHTS HERE:

In Chile’s Primera División league leaders and record champions Colo Colo (21 games, 47 points) had Matias Quiroga to thank for keeping the club at the top of the table by scoring the only goal in their 1-0 victory over Unión Española. Nearest challengers Universidad Católica remain just a single point behind Colo Colo following their 4-1 destruction of bottom club San Luis whilst third place Universidad de Chile managed to put a first minute goal behind them and come back to beat Huachipato by three goals to one to maintain a five gap between themselves and the leaders but Universidad de Chile have played one game less than the top two and can get back in the title race should they win their game in hand.

WATCH COLO COLO v UNION ESPANOLA HIGHLIGHTS HERE:

In Colombia Santa Fe (6 games, 16 points) and Tolima are the only two unbeaten teams after six matches in this year’s edition of the Copa Mustang. Mario González struck just before the hour mark to give league leaders Santa Fe a slender 1-0 win over Pereira FC while Tolima, two points behind the leaders, kept up the pace with a 3-1 victory over Chicó FC. In Venezuela two teams have 100% records after three games in the new Primera División season with Deportivo Táchira and Caracas FC leading the way although Real Esppor club have the chance to join these teams on this statistic as they have played only two games so far. Deportivo Táchira and Caracas FC gained their latest victories against Trujillanos FC (3-1) and Estudiantes de Merida (1-0) respectively.

Chile: Player attacks referee in 2nd division match (+video)

Posted in South America Football by peterbein on July 22, 2010

A player has been suspended for twenty-seven matches after he attacked a referee in a Chilean second division game at the weekend. A game between Club Deportes de Concepción and Club Social Deportes Rangers in the former’s stadium stood at 2-0 for the home team with 77 minutes gone after Concepción’s second goal came about from a penalty that had been taken three times before the fourth attempt was given by the referee. This incensed the Rangers players and José Pedroso in particular who, after the referee had given a foul against his team a couple of minutes after the goal, took the law into his own hands and grabbed hold of referee Marcelo Miranda around the neck. Not surprisingly the player was shown the red card and he has stated since the incident that he is not sorry for what he did, expressing further his wishes to get out of football altogether. Just as well seeing as FIFA, if they wished, could ban the player for life over the incident. Nonetheless his sending-off certainly did nothing to help Rangers cause as they eventually went down to a 3-0 reverse and have taken just one point from the last nine league games. See the video HERE:

FIFA World Cup Review – South America

Posted in International Football, South America Football by peterbein on July 15, 2010
Diego Forlán

Diego Forlán won the Golden Ball award after his performances in the World Cup

Stoppage Time – International Football Blog continues its continental journey to review the performances of those teams involved in the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. In this blog we review the teams from South America.

During the tournament the South American countries impressed everybody with their attacking play and their winning results. All of the five countries from this particular continent managed to progress to the round of sixteen with four of those getting through to the last eight. The luck started to run out in the quarter-finals with three out of four eliminated leaving surprise package Uruguay to fly the flag in their semi-final against the Netherlands.

Uruguay began the tournament with two wins in three matches in Group A, wins over South Africa and Mexico followed their opening day bore draw with France. They did have one of the ‘easier’ draws (a term I use loosely) in the round of sixteen when they faced off against South Korea who gave Las Charrúas a real scare before the Uruguayans eventually got through with a 2-1 victory thanks to a double strike from Luis Suárez. In the Africa review we highlighted the amazing catalogue of incidents that occurred in the quarter-final against Ghana in what was arguably the match of the tournament. After Uruguay won the quarter-final penalty shoot-out by four goals to two they faced the Netherlands in the semi-finals. Diego Forlán, who would go on to win the Golden Ball award for being voted the tournament’s best player, equalized for Uruguay late in the first half after Giovanni Van Bronckhorst had given the Dutch an early lead with, perhaps, the goal of the tournament. Sadly for Uruguay Wesley Sneijder and Arjen Robben scored two quick goals to give Holland a good enough cushion to protect late in the game. That was just as well seeing as Maxi Pereira scored a consolation for Uruguay deep into stoppage time to reduce the arrears but ultimately the Dutch came through 3-2 winners. Uruguay lost by the same scoreline to Germany in the 3rd/4th Place Play-Off match but the competition was already a success for the country who finished fourth for the third time in the nation’s history.

For the other South American nations things looked very promising at the beginning with Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay finishing, along with Uruguay, top of their respective groups whilst Chile finished in second place in Group H behind eventual World Cup winners Spain. After the conclusion of the group stage it was clear that one of the continent’s teams would soon be going home when Brazil played against Chile. Juan, Luis Fabiano and Robinho secured an easy 3-0 win against Chile in what was, for the most part, a comfortable game for the five time world champions. To Chile’s credit they still attempted to attack after they conceded the third goal on the hour mark but that was as good as it got for La Roja. Argentina won all three games in Group B against Nigeria, South Korea and Greece whilst Paraguay were made to work for their progression as they eventually came top in the group involving Italy, New Zealand and Slovakia which was the tightest group of the lot.

In the round of sixteen Argentina’s win over Mexico, Paraguay’s over Japan (albeit via a penalty shoot-out), Uruguay’s over South Korea and Brazil’s over Chile had many pundits wondering whether this was going to be South America’s year with half of the quarter-finalists hailing from that continent. Sadly, for those of a Latin American persuasion, the Netherlands’ come-from-behind victory over Brazil signalled the beginning of the end for any perceived dominance. Wesley Sneijder was the inspiration for the Dutch as they got over the early setback of Brazil’s tenth minute goal to come back and win by two goals to one. Uruguay stemmed the tide with their win over Ghana but Paraguay and Argentina were to sample the taste of defeat for the first and only time in the competition going down to Spain and Germany respectively in two amazing quarter-final match-ups. The Paraguayans winning and then conceding a penalty in their contentious game against Spain in a game which saw all penalties saved and a late David Villa winner dispelling of the challenge from Paraguay who, by some way of consolation, had their best ever tournament whilst Argentina were hammered by a fantastic Germany performance. Goals from Miroslav Klose (2), Thomas Müller and Arne Friedrich ensured that Diego Maradona wouldn’t be joining the ranks of Franz Beckenbauer and Mario Zagallo as one of a unique club of people to have won the FIFA World Cup as a player and a coach.

One can say that the only conclusion for the South Americans is that their chances of winning the next tournament, to be played in 2014, will be significantly greater due to its being held in Brazil. Of course the host nation will want to secure a record-extending sixth title in front of their home fans but history shows that they can be beaten on home turf with Uruguay securing the title over Brazil in the 1950 tournament. Nonetheless, in the first tournament to be played in South America since Argentina won on home soil in 1978, the Brazilians have pledged to learn the lessons of the South Africans and will hope to put on as colourful a tournament as we have just experienced in the last month.

FIFA: Round of 16 Review

Posted in International Football by peterbein on June 29, 2010
Germany v England

Thomas Müller and Lukas Podolski celebrate Germany's 4-1 win over England

So the Round of Sixteen is completed in the FIFA World Cup with eight teams having to face up to the stark reality of flying back home to face the critics whilst eight teams look forward to the quarter-final stage in what remains a fascinating tournament. South America has performed well with the possibility of all four semi-finalists hailing from that particular continent should they overcome their respective opponents in the last eight. However there are three European teams and the sole African representative remaining who would like to deprive the Latin Americans of complete domination. Stoppage Time – International Football Blog looks back at the Round of Sixteen and provides the quarter-final draw.

The knock-out stages began last Saturday with Uruguay playing against South Korea who appeared to be Asia’s best chance of a last eight representative. Sadly for the Koreans it only took eight minutes to fall behind as Luis Suárez gave Uruguay the lead and, thus, added to the goal he scored against Mexico in his team’s final group game. The Koreans though didn’t give up and were back on level terms on 68 minutes when Lee Chung-Yong headed the equalizer from a free-kick and set up a fascinating climax to the contest. With ten minutes remaining it was to be Luis Suárez again who would settle the game in Uruguay’s favour showing his class with a beautifully curled shot into the top right corner of the net. The second game on Saturday saw Ghana create history as they defeated the United States to put themselves into a World Cup quarter-final for the first time. Kevin-Prince Boateng gave the Black Stars the lead after just five minutes after his run from the halfway line saw him steer the ball hard and low into the net past Tim Howard. The Americans restored parity in the second half when Landon Donovan shot home from the penalty spot after Clint Dempsey had been brought down by Jonathan Mensah in the box. It was a classic game of two halves which finished 1-1 and, thus, needed thirty minutes of extra-time. Just three minutes had passed when Asamoah Gyan continued his wonderful tournament by scoring an excellent goal from distance and, with no further scoring in the game, ensured that Africa had its sole representative progress into the last eight of the competition.

Sunday saw two potential classic matches on paper turn out to be pretty one-sided affairs. There was much controversy in the Germany versus England match (it wouldn’t be Germany v England otherwise) when a Frank Lampard shot hit the underside of the bar and came down at least a metre over the line but the linesman didn’t see it and denied England an equalizing goal which would’ve tied the game at two-all. Before then Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski had given the Nationalmannschaft a two-goal lead before Matthew Upson halved the deficit by getting on the end of a Steven Gerrard cross. Sadly for England that was as good as it got as even the most die-hard fan of the Three Lions would admit that they were outclassed by a Germany team whose splendid counter-attacking play created two goals for young starlet Thomas Müller in the final quarter of the match to give Germany a convincing 4-1 win. Later that evening any ideas that Mexico had to get revenge on Argentina for knocking them out of the 2006 tournament were soon dispelled in equally controversial circumstances. Carlos Tévez was in an offside position upon giving Argentina the lead on 26 minutes but the linesman, once again, failed to spot the indiscretion and the Mexico players were furious. Gonzalo Higuaín doubled the lead on 33 minutes and the Albiceleste sealed the win in the second half when Tévez scored his second seven minutes after the break. Javier Hernández did score a consloation for El Tri but Diego Maradona’s men came through any potential fightback to claim a place in the next round.

Carlos Tevez

Carlos Tevez scored twice for Argentina in their 3-1 win over Mexico

Monday night saw two of the tournament favourites, Brazil and the Netherlands, continue their good progress. The Netherlands continue to win despite playing football which is far from what we expect from the pioneers of Voetbal Totaal. Arjen Robben gave the Oranje the lead thanks to a trademark left-foot shot from the edge of the penalty box and one was expecting the Dutch to go on and stroll the game from there. However they were made to fight for their victory which they finally sealed in the 84th minute when Dirk Kuijt squared the ball to Wesley Sneijder in the box to make it 2-0. Up until then the Slovakians had plenty of chances which were spurned and, as a result, they would rue their profligacy in front of goal especially as they halved the deficit with the final kick of the game, a penalty from Robert Vittek after Martin Jakubko was brought down in the box. There was no time after the kick to continue and the Dutch went through to the next round with what was ultimately a slender 2-1 victory. Brazil made much easier work of their all-South American encounter with Chile, a team who finished just a solitary point behind them in World Cup qualifying. Two goals in three minutes at the end of the first half from Juan and Luís Fabiano were complimented by a beautiful finish from Robinho on the hour mark to give the Seleção an easy 3-0 win over a disappointing Chile team who did, to their credit, try to play some direct football once they conceded the third, no doubt believing that they had nothing to lose from such an approach. Dunga’s men are looking ominously good but many will feel that their quarter-final with the Netherlands will be their first real test of the tournament. A fascinating encounter awaits.

The final two matches in the Round of Sixteen were played today and, once again, there was joy for the South Americans but only after Paraguay had been taken all the way to a penalty shoot-out by a Japan team who were unfortunate to have to lose in such a manner. The only missed penalty in the shoot-out was by Japan’s Yūichi Komano whose spot-kick hit the crossbar and went over. Because Paraguay had the first kick in the shoot-out their final goal from Óscar Cardozo meant that a fifth kick for Japan was unnecessary and La Albirroja progressed to the quarter-finals by the skin of their teeth. To finish the round we had an Iberian derby between Spain and Portugal which looked like a mouth-watering match on paper but which, sadly, failed to live up to expectations. Cristiano Ronaldo, just like Wayne Rooney and Franck Ribéry, failed to shine during this tournament and he was amongst the most disappointed of the Portuguese side after the final whistle blew after their 1-0 defeat probably because he knew that he hadn’t done his talent any justice. The goal which won an otherwise poor game came in the 63rd minute from David Villa, whose initial shot at keeper Eduardo was parried back to his feet and then forced home going in off the bar at the second attempt. This meant that Villa joins Gonzalo Higuaín and Robert Vittek on four goals each and one wouldn’t bet against him adding to that total in Spain’s quarter-final match against Paraguay on Saturday.

FIFA WORLD CUP – QUARTER-FINAL DRAW

02.07.2010 Netherlands v Brazil (Port Elizabeth)

02.07.2010 Uruguay v Ghana (Johannesburg)

03.07.2010 Argentina v Germany (Cape Town)

03.07.2010 Paraguay v Spain (Johannesburg)

FIFA: Groups G and H Review

Posted in International Football by peterbein on June 25, 2010
Dunga

Brazil coach Dunga has plenty to smile about after his team topped Group H unbeaten

Figures given are as follows: Games Played/Points Scored:

GROUP G: BRAZIL 3/7; PORTUGAL 3/5; IVORY COAST 3/4; NORTH KOREA 3/0

The Seleção have, as expected, topped the group after Dunga’s men saw off a spirited show from unknown quantity North Korea in the opening group match before going on to beat Ivory Coast and gain a point in an uninspiring ninety minutes of football against Portugal. The Portuguese were held by the Ivorians to a goalless draw in their first match but were able to rout the North Koreans by seven goals before getting the point they needed against the five-time world champions in their final match. The North Koreans provided one of the tournament’s most emotional moments when Jong Tae Se cried his eyes out during the national anthem ahead of the game against Brazil and gave real football fans hope that there are still real footballers out there who feel the emotion about wearing their favourite football shirt. Sadly this emotion couldn’t be transferred into points as the brave North Koreans ended up without any points after three games. As for the Ivorians they will hope for a kinder draw should they qualify for the next competition as they have been dealt the Group of Death in the last two tournaments which has hindered their ability to progress to the knock-out stages.

GROUP HSPAIN 3/6; CHILE 3/6; SWITZERLAND 3/4 ; HONDURAS 3/1

After a poor start to the tournament Vicente del Bosque’s Spain team progressed to the next stage as group winners thanks mainly to the efforts of David Villa who has scored all but one of La Roja‘s goals so far. Spain were shocked on the first matchday losing 1-0 to Switzerland which makes it all the more surprising that Ottmar Hitzfeld’s men never made it to the knock-out stage after such a promising opening to their campaign. Spain went on to win both their next two matches against Honduras (2-0) and Chile (2-1) with Villa scoring three of the goals; only Andres Iniesta got on the score sheet when he settled the latter game in Spain’s favour by scoring the second goal. Chile played some good football in the tournament but will face the toughest test in the Round of 16 when they play against South American rivals Brazil in Johannesburg on Monday whilst the Derby of Iberia will feature in Cape Town on Tuesday when European champions Spain face neighbours Portugal in a much anticipated game.

David Villa

David Villa has been the main man for Spain in their FIFA World Cup campaign