The drama is coming thick and fast as the big names crash out of the World Cup. Italy were the latest scalp as Slovakia made them an offer they couldn’t refute. Japan came of age with some cracking football and Paraguay sneaked through almost unnoticed. The Dutch fans were out again in force and full orange warpaint in downtown Los Cristianos, Tenerife and the English are licking their lips ahead of the Germany clash.
Slovakia – 3, Italy – 2
Slovakia made sure that Italy didn’t recover from their poor opening games and despite a grandstand finish Marcello Lippi saw his reigning champions sign out. Hamsik made a mess of an early chance for Slovakia but Kucka was sharp after 25 minutes pouncing on a sloppy De Rossi pass and setting up Vittek for the opening goal.
Italy went further behind in the second half Hamsik put in a low cross for Vittek to score again. Then Italy woke up and started to chase the game, Di Natale pulled one back and there was a bit of a scrap in the back of the goal. Quagliarella thought he had levelled but his effort was ruled offside and Slovakia restored their two goal cushion as Kopunek took advantage of some poor Italian defending. Quagliarella found the net in injury time and amazingly it could have been 3-3 if Pepe had got a clean strike on his late late attempt.
Paraguay 0, New Zealand 0
It was too tall an order for the All Whites but they had a go and return to New Zealand with plenty of stories to tell. The whole game produced few scoring chances with most of those coming from Paraguay in the second half. Santa Cruz tested Paston with a hot 25 yard shot and Benitez and Rivero alsokept the keeper busy. Paraguay captain Caniza can’t hit a barn door these days and his two on target shots hardly tickled Pastons hands.
Denmark 1, Japan 3
There are going to be a lot of football agents knocking on Japans door, this was a fine performance of good tactics, hard work and loads of skill. Honda is an emerging star his 35 yard screamer of a free kick caught Sorenson off guard with his defensive wall all over the place. there was better to come from another free kick, Endo shaped up and bent a Beckham like shot past the lead footed keeper for a well deserved 2-0 lead. Denmark were pretty poor, Bendtner has a big reputation but he did little to justify it with a weak performance up front.
Therre was some joy for the Danes in the second half when Tomasson scored from the penalty spot but even that was unconvincing as Kawashima saved the initial shot and his follow up only just went inside the post. Honda showed some more of his skills jinking around two defenders to square the ball to Okazaki to make the end score 3-1, Japan are a team to watch.
Cameroon 1, Holland 2
The Dutch still haven’t fit top form, Cameroon, the first team knocked out, gave them a tough time in this game. Van der Vaart was guilty of some glaring misses early in the game including a blast wide after Sneijder had set him up and a free kick hit straight at the keeper. The opener though was quality, Van Persie made a great run laid the ball off to Vaart who returned it with a deft touch for Van Persi to score.
Cameroon drew level in the second half after a Geremi free kick hit the arm of Van der Vaart and Eto’o converted the penalty. Holland were under pressure but counter attacked and Robben struck a post with his shot but Huntelaar was on hand to net the rebound.