The results of the second round of matches in the group stage:
Group A : Brazil 0 Mexico 0; Croatia 4 Cameroon 0
Brazil were restricted to a goalless draw by a resilient Mexican side spurred on by the heroic saves of their goalie Guillerimo Oacha who played himself into the hearts of Mexican and neutral fans hearts. The star performer has also been noticed by several clubs looking to get a goalkeeper. Croatia meanwhile hammered Cameroon with 4 unanswered goals as Mario Mandzukic scored twice and Ivica Olic and Ivan Perisic once each. Cameroon were eliminated as a result.
Group B : Netherlands 3 Australia 2; Chile 2 Spain 0
In an exciting match Australia took the game to the much fancied Dutch side who were perhaps guilty of taking their opponents a little too lightly prior to the second half. In a space of slightly more than 1 minute the score was 1-1 after Arjen Robben set the stadium of fire with his individual goal which was replied by a screamer from Tim Cahill. The Aussies took the lead in the second half and looked to win it before Robin Van Persie equalized and later substitute Memphis Depay scored the winner. Holders Spain became the 5th holders to crash out in the opening round as they lost to Chile 2-0 and ended the golden age of Spanish football. The end of an era was not pretty and it looked like a huge overhaul is needed to get them back to winning ways.
Group C : Columbia 2 Cote ‘Ivore 1; Japan 0 Greece 0
Colombia scored twice in six minutes in a lively second half to beat Ivory Coast 2-1 at the World Cup on Thursday and move to the brink of the knockout stage. Japan and Greece played out a draw that left them both with a lot to do if they wanted to get through to the knock out stages.
Group D : Uruguay 2 England 1; Costa Rica 1 Italy 0
England were knocked out of the competition as still unfit yet good enough to score Luiz Suarez scored a brace to give Uruguay a 2-1 win over them. Wayne Rooney had finally scored in a world cup to equalize but it wasn’t enough to get the English to avoid defeat. Also shocking was veteran Steve Gerrard who was outplayed and even made mistakes in the match. His time with the national side looks to come to an end. However England were beaten by the better team in both their matches so far and should hold their heads high and go out with a good game versus Costa Rica. Speaking of whom, the wonder boys took the game to a lacklustre and disinterested looking Italian side and defeated them by a solitary goal. Italy should be ashamed of themselves for playing they way they did.
Group E : France 5 Switzerland 2; Ecuador 2 Honduras 1
France seem to a candidate to win the cup as they ran away with a 4 – 0 lead against a sorry looking Swiss side. Scoring 2 goals within 2 minutes, the French side had 5 different scorers, including Giroud & Benzema (who also missed a penalty) and almost overwhelmed their opponents. Blerim Dzemaili and Granit Xhaka gave the Swiss consolation goals in the final 10 minutes of the match. Ecuador come back from a goal down to beat Honduras, with two goals from Enner Valencia moving them to second place in Group E. They fell behind to a goal from Carlo Costly but Valencia, who has three goals in the tournament, ensured Ecuador only need a draw in their final game against France to progress.
Group F : Argentina 1 Iran 0; Nigeria 1 Bosnia & Herzegovina 0
For most of the match it looked like Iran would hold the Argentines goalless as they barricade their goal and protected their goalie by placing 9 players in their own half and keeping just their lone striker up front. Argentina were getting frustrated and getting booed by the Brazilians in the crowd. Until Leo Messi scored a beauty of a goal in the dying minutes of the match to shut the doors on Iran; rightly so! We don’t need such negative play. Nigeria ran out with a similar lone goal victory over Bosnia & Herzegovina.
Group G : Germany 2 Ghana 2; USA 2 Portugal 2
In what was perhaps the best second half I have seen in a long time, Ghana took the match to much fancied Germany and gave us an exciting finish. After Germany had gone ahead by a Gotze headed, the Ghanians went ahead with goals by André Ayew & Asamoah Gyan. They looked good enough to win it as well and had a clear opportunity to goal 3-1 ahead. But veteran Miroslave Klose came on as a substitute and scored a typical poachers goal for his 15th goal across four World Cups, tying the record for most career goals at the tournament, held by former Brazil star Ronaldo. That’s the way the game ended at 2-2. The USA & Portugal match also ended in a 2-2 draw; Nani put Portugal ahead early in the first half, before a Jermaine Jones wonder strike levelled the game. Clint Dempsey thought he had won the game for his team when he restored the USA’s lead late on, but a moment of Cristiano Ronaldo brilliance allowed Varela to head in a last-minute equaliser.
Group H : Belgium 1 Russia 0; Korean Republic 2 Algeria 4
Finally group H and the most boring game I have watched so far with even the expert panel & commentators groaning in agony. Russia played out a defensive dull game with Belgium and deservedly the more exciting team finally win in the final minutes of the game with a lone goal. Algeria, a strong surprising side for this World Cup, defeated the Koreans by 4 goals to 2. The Algerian men ran riot in the opening 45 minutes as the South Korea defence was found wanting time and again. I do hope they qualify for the second round along with Belgium.