BfB Goes To The World Cup 2010 (Without leaving the front room)

Mathematics are everything. If Team A win and Team C get a snooker then Team D will go through. One could ruin a head with such thoughts.

The Germans play Ghana and the winner goes through to the next round but so could the loser. Picking a winner from that match up if difficult with the Africans looking strong but failing to convert the chances they create and the Germans blowing hot and cold. Serbia play Australia and the Serbs need a win but are unused to trying to chase victory. Australia could go through but the results would have to be very curious.

The Germans start the game looking to cope with the running of the Africans who start chasing the win and in Kevin-Prince Boateng have a player schooled in European football and capable of adding another dimension to the play. Boateng sits in advanced midfield and plays the ball to able runner André Ayew and the excellent Asamoah Gyan who press early on.

The Germans have a solidity though and in Per Mertesacker they have an tower of at the back with the six foot seven defender adding height and speed. Ghana’s attacks break on his brow but ultimately they have Philipp Lahm to thank the scoreless draw at half time when Gyan headed at goal and the German captain pushed the ball away from goal with an area which – when done by Aussie Harry Kewell – was worthy of a red card as handball.

Australia seemed to have little chance of going through but will count the 2-1 win over Serbia as a good recovery from the atrocious start they made to the group. They beat the Serbs when Tim Cahill headed from eighteen yards out before Brett Holman lashes in four minutes later from range. Marko Pantelic pulled one back but the Serbs – who go out – have under performed giving away two penalties in the first two games one of which lost them valuable points.

Australia join them on the way out of the World Cup and do so because of the wretched performance against the Germans in the first game. They left space behind the full backs and the Germans exploited it fully and to the tune of four goals. The Australians went out equal on points with Ghana and having scored more goals but with a minus three goal difference. Few teams in this World Cup have gone to pieces in the way the Australians did and they have paid the price for that.

Ghana did not close down Mesut Özil when he got the ball on the edge of the box and Özil struck the ball with accuracy and power into the back of Richard Kingston’s goal and while Ghana pressed for an equaliser they did so full in the knowledge that unless Serbia were to take the win which it became increasingly clear that they would not.

So Ghana joined Germany in the second round finishing second in the group and booking a game with USA in the last sixteen. Ghana are the last Africans in the African World Cup and more than that they are an team with a mix of what one might call African flair and European organisation – broad terms but illustrative – and with the support of the home support they may have more to say in this competition.

Nevertheless the World Cup has its first classic. Argentina and Mexico – a good game – will play the winner of a great game which the draw has thrown up as the young German side finish top to face England in the last sixteen. The Germans have a side of talent but – as seen in the loss to Serbia – it is far from the finished product and there are question marks over their ability to control the midfield under pressure. They have lost, England have yet to be behind. The Germans are young, the English are multiple time winners at club level. Wembley in 1966, Rome in 1990, Wembley 2000, Munich 2001. Football rivalry in Europe does not come much stronger.

Sunday afternoon. Sounds like it could be fun.

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