Armchair Pundit

World Cup cheat sheet: day 10

Alex Chick

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Some football matches dared to interrupt the England inquest on Saturday, with Netherlands going through and Cameroon going out.

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Saturday's action

Netherlands 1-0 Japan - Group D - Durban
The Dutch cruised through to the last 16 by notching a second win on the trot without ever really impressing. Wesley Sneijder scored the only goal late in the first half with a 20-yard shot that deceived goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima who could only deflect the ball into his own net. However, it was a largely turgid game with few chances for either side. Coach Bert van Marwijk will hope the returning Arjen Robben adds some spark, while Japan must regroup ahead of their last game against Denmark, needing a draw to go through.

Ghana 1-1 Australia - Group E - Rustenburg
Ghana missed a huge chance to put one foot in the knockout stages, as Australia held out for a draw despite playing for over an hour with 10 men. Brett Holman opened the scoring in the 10th minute after Ghana keeper Richard Kingson spilt a routine shot. The game changed when Harry Kewell used his arm to stop a goalbound shot - he was sent off and Asamoah Gyan converted the penalty. The Africans peppered Mark Schwarzer's goal but could not break through.

Cameroon 1-2 Denmark
- Group E - Pretoria
Cameroon were a mite unlucky to become the first team eliminated from the World Cup after an evening of raucous entertainment at the Loftus Versfeld stadium. An open game out of keeping with a cagey tournament was full of individual errors, but in the best possible way. Cameroon went in front when Christian Poulsen botched a clearance and Pierre Webo set up Samuel Eto'o. Nicklas Bendtner scored a superb equaliser, tapping in from close range after a scintillating move. Dennis Rommedahl  hit the winner just after the hour, cutting in from the right and netting a left-foot shot.

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Sunday preview

Slovakia v Pararguay
- Group F - Bloemfontein - 12.30
Both sides drew their first games 1-1, but the South Americans are much better placed having already played group favourites Italy. Slovakia conceded a last-gasp equaliser to New Zealand on Tuesday, and have no room for slip-ups. They need a more commanding performance from their star man Marek Hamsik. Paraguay may choose to restore Manchester City striker Roque Santa Cruz to the starting line-up.

Italy v New Zealand
- Group F - Nelspruit - 15.00
Italy's opening draw against Paraguay looks better and better with each successive slip-up by a fancied side. The world champions are without Gianluigi Buffon for the rest of the tournament after he suffered a herniated disc. Cagliari's Federico Marchetti stands in, and is not short of confidence, declaring himself "more muscular and explosive" than his stricken colleague. Mauro Camoranesi may replace Claudio Marchisio, while New Zealand should be unchanged.

Brazil v Ivory Coast - Group G - Soccer City - 19.30
It has been a poor tournament for African teams, and Sven-Goran Eriksson's Ivory Coast face a huge challenge against the five-time winners. Based on the way they played against Portugal, the Ivorians will focus on keeping their opponents out. Didier Drogba, who is recovering from a broken arm, should come back into the starting line-up after featuring from the bench on Tuesday. Brazil coach Dunga is not expected to change the side that secured a solid but unspectacular 2-1 win against North Korea.

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Water cooler chat: Wayne Rooney's apology and the England circus

An off-the-cuff remark made in trying circumstances led last night's TV news, over 24 hours after it was made. Rooney's sarcastic aside that it was "nice to see your home fans boo you" created a neat focus for mock outrage for those exasperated by England's desperate performance against Algeria, and he has today apologised for any offence caused.

Police are looking for the fan that wandered into the England dressing room and confronted David Beckham, but the Sunday Mirror have got there first, getting an exclusive with one Pavlos Joseph.

Elsewhere, Princes William and Harry might be second and third in line to the throne, but it appears they are little more than a comedy double act to lift the spirits of the national team. Wills said he and Hazza saw the players after the game, "acted like idiots" for a bit and restored smiles to the faces of our fallen heroes.

What to say: "Who said the monarchy has no practical use in a modern society?"

What not to say: "No wonder William and Harry are comfortable in the England dressing room - they're used to having an old foreign bloke yelling insults at them."

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World Cup jargon: Kuduzela

Just when a combination of tinnitus and alcohol was helping to drown out the vuvuzelas, here comes the kuduzela. It is an even louder horn, based on the shape of the horns of the kudu antelope. It is heavier than the vuvuzela so is banned from World Cup matches, but a new lightweight version could make an appearance during the tournament. In other news, a 115ft vuvuzela was roaming Cape Town yesterday but officials banned it as too loud. And Spain have asked fans to blow vuvzelas at their training sessions so they can get used to the ear-splitting racket.

More Armchair Pundit: L'affaire Anelka: A very French controversy

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