Deco and Cristiano Ronaldo
Deco on 62’ with a fine drive from 21 metres which flew into the top left-hand corner of the goal and a Cristiano Ronaldo penalty on 79’ were the tangible results of Portugal’s superiority against an Iran side which found difficulty in settling into the game, although there were a few chances.
The Portugal group is motivated and very much behind its Brazilian coach, the “Sergeant” Scholari, who now looks forward to a second round clash against Argentina or Holland.
Group D after two games
Portugal (3 goals scored 0 against) 6 points
Mexico (3 1) 4 points
Angola (0 1) 1
Iran (1 5) 0
México needs to draw against Portugal to go through. For Angola to pass, the Portugal-Mexico and Angola-Iran games need to finish with a difference of two goals, or Portugal will need to win by three goals if Angola scores one without conceding. Angola has to win one game, at least, if it is to deserve a second-round place.
Ghana 2 Czech Republic 0
So far, the big surprise of the Finals, although we reported after the Italy-Ghana game that the African team did not deserve to lose by the two goals. This time the result was the contrary against a Czech side beset with injuries. However, the stats speak for themselves – 20 shots against 14, 8 on target against 4.
Asamoah Gyan scored the first after 2’ and Sulley Muntari closed the scoreboard and the game 80 minutes later. Gyan hit his penalty against the post in the second half and the Czech Tomas Ujfalusi was sent off. Fantastic game of football, with the Africans playing like equals and not underdogs, getting their first ever points in a Finals.
Italy 1 – USA 1
Saying that this was a physical game is the understatement of the tournament. While the Italians started, with an elbow in the face of McBride, which earned de Rossi a red card after 27’ the US team upped the stakes unnecessarily with violent play from Mastroeni on 44’ and Pope after 47’, both sent off.
Gilardino had already scored for Italy on 22’ (a header, connecting to Andrea Pirlo’s free kick) and after 27’, Zaccardo sliced into his own net. 1-1.
The USA did not gain any friends tonight in Kaiserslautern. Football is not a war, it is not necessary to kill people to feel safe and it is not necessary to break the legs and end the careers of colleagues to win a game of football. An utter disgrace!
Group E Classification after two games
Italy (3-1) 4 points
Czech Rep. (3-2) 3 points
Ghana (2-2) 3 points
USA (1-4) 1 point