So we’re back in South Africa, with only two games remaining in the 2010 FIFA World Cup!
Okay then, back to one update every other day.
July 10th: Brazil vs. Germany
So, Brazil and Germany met in the consolation match. The match was full of free-flowing football, and Brazil had the better chances in the first half, with several opportunities to take the lead via one-on-ones, but with some difficult angles on goal meaning that the shots went harmlessly wide. Instead, it was the Germans who went one-nil up, in the 40th minute. A German corner was headed by Sandro Müller at the near post, but the ball didn’t go in the net. Instead, it came to striker Peter Kleine at the far post, who headed it again, this time into the goal.
Brazil attacked and attacked and attacked, but they couldn’t get the breakthrough. Several chances fell by the wayside as they hit the post, went wide or were snuffed out by the German defence. That’s not to say Germany didn’t have their own chances: with about five minutes to go, Diego Alves had to get down low to save Frank Becker’s shot. Brazil’s Anderson almost had the chance to save the match, but he took too long on his clear cut chance, allowing German centre-backs to recover. The shot he eventually made was easily caught by Germany’s Rico Neumann. Germany finished one-nil deserved winners.
Man of the Match: Max Andersen, ML, Germany (7.5)
July 11th: England vs. Spain
As unrealistic as it may seem, England have reached the World Cup Final, and they will play against Spain. They started strongly, almost taking the lead in the 5th minute, when Steven Gerrard’s long range shot cracked off the bar and then off the post, before ricocheting back into play. Spain then countered with their own pressure, but the England defence kept them at range, meaning any shots were ineffective. Ashley Young had a brilliant chance for England, when a Spanish corner was cleared and counter-attacked, but Spanish ‘keeper Iker Casillas stood firm and stopped the Aston Villa man scoring the one-on-one.
But Casillas couldn’t keep England out forever, and the Three Lions scored, with the move starting off once again with a Spanish corner. The corner was taken better this time, and Gerard Piqué got a head on it. But Chris Kirkland saved his header, and a quick counter-attacking move saw Steven Gerrard keeping ahead of a bundle of Spanish defenders rushing back to cover. The Liverpool midfielder took his shot, and it landed sweetly in the top-right corner, flying like a rocket and giving England the lead.
Spain had an opportunity to equalise, and the chance came in the same fashion, with Mikel Arteta keeping ahead of a bunch of England defenders. But he could only shoot low, and Chris Kirkland made the save. Spain turned up the heat in the second half, stringing together several attacks in a short space of time. England’s shoddy passing no doubt helped; many clearances went straight to Spanish heads. In the end, Joleon Lescott’s foul on David Villa in the box as Spain took a corner gave the Spaniards their opportunity to equalise. Equalise they did, with Villa himself scoring the spot kick. England attacked right from the kick off, but Spain snuffed out their chance. Spain had the better of the chances in the closing stages of the second half, but couldn’t make any clear cut ones. With 85 minutes on the clock, Steven Gerrard attempted another piledriver…but this time his shot went over the bar. In the dying seconds of regular time, Spain’s Marcos Senna joined David Villa and Joleon Lescott on a yellow card.
It was England’s turn for some dominance in extra time. Fortunately for Spain, the barrage was resisted. In a moment of respite, Marcos Senna’s free kick in the 99th minute curled wickedly, but just flew over the bar. After extra time stoppage time, a brilliant run from Peter Crouch saw him out wide with the ball. He crossed it in, but as Stewart Downing jumped, he brought down Spain’s Sergio Ramos, earning himself a yellow card. But the next yellow came disastrously for Spain. With England pushed back into their own half and with Spain on the attack, Steven Gerrard won the ball back, only to be clipped down by Marcos Senna from behind. German referee Michael Kempter showed Senna a second yellow card, and he did the same to Stewart Downing in the 118th minute, for a similar infringement. This time Mikel Arteta was the player brought down from behind. With the teams level on goals and on men, only penalties could decide who would win the World Cup.
Spain went first, with David Villa scoring. Michael Carrick then levelled the score for England, and Fabio Capello’s team were handed the advantage when Spain’s Gerard Piqué sent his spot kick straight at Chris Kirkland. Frank Lampard scored to give England the lead. Sergio Ramos scored for Spain, and England’s advantage evaporated when John Terry’s penalty was saved by Iker Casillas. Xavi scored for Spain, and Steven Gerrard for England. Mikel Arteta scored for Spain, and Rio Ferdinand for England. So, with the score level at 4-4, sudden death came into play. Andrés Iniesta took Spain’s next penalty, knowing that if he scored the pressure would all be on England. He sent his penalty slightly to the right, and Chris Kirkland dived down low…and saved! David Bentley now had the chance to win England the World Cup. He sent his penalty into the bottom-right corner. Iker Casillas dived the right way. But he couldn’t stop the ball, and England ran out winners!
Man of the Match: Mikel Arteta, ML, Spain (7.5)