After the Group Stage come the 2nd Stage or Round of 16, how ever you like it.
Germany 2 – Sweden 0
The Germans produced yet another good display while Sweden never really recovered from their 2 all draw against England. The Germans were 2 nil up by the 35 minute, where a Swedish player got sent off. Henrik Larsson missing a 53rd minute penalty caps a miserable night for Sweden.
Argentina 2 – Mexico 1
An electric opening set the game at a 1 all draw, all within the 1st 1o minutes of the game & both from set pieces. It’s a gripping & thrilling game that resulted in the 1st extra time match of the world cup. Maxi Rodriguez settled the Argentinian victory with a beautiful goal.
England 1 – Ecuador 0
Only a David Beckham free kick goal separated these 2 teams whose individual performance before the goal beckoned the looming specter of extra time.
Portugal 1 – Holland 0
Another match where the referee stole the show. This time, it was a Russian referee with a total of 16 bookings & 4 red cards shown, beating the previous World Cup 2006 Finals record of 3 red cards. Maniche scored the match’s lone goal at 22 minutes before the red cards started making their presence felt. The sending off of Deco & Constinha with numerous other Portuguese players having a yellow card to their name may have gifted England with an advantage well before their yet another quarter final showdown with Portugal (both side met in Euro 2004 quarter finals with the Portuguese advancing).
Italy 1 – Australia 0
Another cracker of a match whereby the scales were somewhat balanced early in the 2nd half with Marco Materazzi's sending off. The Australians tried to take advantage of their extra man on the pitch. The brave Azzurri held on & with seconds left on the clock in stoppage time, Italy got a penalty for a foul in the box. Sub Francesco Totti held his nerves to slot home the penalty.
Swiss 0 – Ukraine 0 (Ukraine wins on penalties 3-0)
This has got to be the most boring World Cup 2006 Finals match. The Swiss were at their super defensive best & the Ukrainians somehow followed suit. A real drag of a game to follow & I truly agree with the TV commentator that they should have just forgotten about the extra time play & settled it via penalty shoot out straight away after normal time.
Brazil 3 – Ghana 0
The scoreline flatters the Brazilians. Ghana gave a commendable performance but was undone on the counter attack & by their woeful finishing. Ronaldo – criticized for being fat, slow & lazy, still managed to break Gerd Muller's tournament goalscoring record of 14 goals in World Cup Finals by scoring his 15th goal in all Word Cup Finals.
Spain 1 – France 3
It was expected that Spain would steamroll over an underperforming French team & they started well via a 28th minute David Villa penalty. Les Bleus leveled the game just before half time with a Frank Ribery goal. In the 2nd half, both teams upped the tempo but it was the French who got a 2nd goal when Patrick Vieira headed into the net a Zizou free kick. The great man himself, Zidane put icing to the cake with a 90th minute goal.
To be continued…
Till later, live long & prosper.