The last group game for England last week against Slovenia was like watching another team play. They were solid, they were tight, they were creative and they penetrated the opposition. It was a wonder how it was the same team and they deservedly got a 1-0 win to put them into the second round of the World Cup. Thanks to a 93rd minute American winner, however, they face the only enemy Germany in the last 16 this Sunday which will be very interesting. Both teams have ranked up their penalty training already...
|Jermaine Defoe score the winner against Slovenia|
Other moments of note are the capitulation of the French (desrved? I think maybe...) and also the first ever holders to go out in the first round. Portugal pretty much secured their passage to the next round with a 7-0 destruction of the North Koreans even if they did embarrassingly draw out a bore-draw with Brazil afterwards. Unfortunately the Germans made it through, although their next match will be exciting, as did the Spanish.
No other giants left the competition but some honourable mentions go to South Korea and Japan, consistent Asian teams, Ghana, the only African team left, and Slovakia, through to the last 16 in their first World Cup by knocking out Italy. It's getting a bit more exciting than it has been, only Sunday afternoon will tell!
On another note, now all the groups have finished I can confirm that I got a total of 11 out of 16 teams right in my predictions previously. Not too bad I don't think!