Today’s summary of group matches at the FIFA World Cup for Friday, June 27 in Brazil.
Germany clinch first
Germany have beaten the USA 1-0 in their final group match at the Arena Pernambuco in Recife.
It was Germany star Thomas Muller who scored the all important goal, rifling the ball into the bottom corner following a save from American keeper Tim Howard. Muller is now equal top goal scorer for the tournament, alongside Lionel Messi and Neymar. German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer brought his domestic form to Brazil and remains a pillar in between the sticks for the squad.
Germany dominated the USA throughout the game, both sides only required a single point to progress, so it was understandable that the Americans played more defensively, however Germany’s class eventually prevailed. Nonetheless the USA managed to scrape through to the Round of 16 due to other games resulting in their favour.
Portugal win at last
Portugal have had a torrid World Cup but they managed to get a 2-1 victory over Ghana in Brasilia. Ghana’s defender John Boye conceded an unfortunate own-goal gifting Portugal the lead in the 31st minute, but it was Ghana’s captain Asamoah Gyan that restored parity heading home one of the better team goals of the tournament. The game was closely contested and it was not until the 80th minute when superstar Cristiano Ronaldo powered home the winner giving Portugal their first win. Ghana were without key players; Kevin-Prince Boateng and Sulley Muntari after the pair were involved in an off-field incident. The result contains the same fate for both nations as they will be heading home.
Belgium collect all the spoils
Belgium have finished top of Group H with maximum points after a 1-0 victory over Korea Republic in Sao Paulo. Already qualified for the Round of 16, the Red Devils rotated the squad for the Korea Republic game. There were plenty of chances for both sides a total of 34 shots in an entertaining affair. However it was not until the 78th minute for Belgium to score. Young striker Divock Origi’s shot was parried by Korean keeper Kim Seung-Gyu right in the path of Belgium defender Jan Vertonghen to tap home. The result sees the end of Korea Republic in Brazil and Belgium continuing their impressive run at international level.
Algeria have advanced to the Round of 16 after a 1-1 draw with Russia in Curitiba. Algeria came into the game on three points and needed to avoid defeat to qualify while a win for Russia would have resulted in progression. All looked to be going well for Russia following Alexander Kokorin scoring a quality header from an ever better delivery early on. Algeria have impressed in their fourth World Cup appearance, and the fighting spirit did not desert the Algerians, as Islam Slimani stepped up and headed the equaliser after another blunder from Russian keeper Igor Akinfeev. The Russian’s pressured the Algerian goal in the closing stages but to no success. The result means Algeria will appear in the knock-out stages for the first time in the nation’s history while it is yet another disappointing international tournament for Russia. – Jake O’Brien
Top photo of Algerian side celebrating from Addicted to Spurs’ Twitter page.