Where Argentina vs Ivory Coast on Day Two was perhaps the best match of the tournament so far, Day Four saw one of the best comebacks in recent World Cup memory, not to mention the best team performance of the 11 matches played so far.
The Czechs turned in a stellar performance, but it must be balanced against the equally sorry play by the Americans. Little coordination, little penetration (apart from one or two nervy moments for Cech) and on today’s evidence, little chance of getting out of this group. USA will have to beat Italy to stand any chance of getting to round two, while the Czechs will be looking to top Group E and avoid Brazil in the second round.
Earlier, Australia came back from being 1 goal down till the 83rd minute to hit back with 3 goals (2 from Cahill) in the last 10 minutes and winning 3-1. The Japanese just wilted towards the end, their keeper and defenders culpable for all three goals (not to take anything away from Cahill and Aloisi though).
The final match of the evening – Italy 2, Ghana 0 – saw the Italians put together an excellent defensive performance matches with a controlled attack to dispatch Ghana easily. Pirlo’s goal was another long-range effort – something Germany 2006 is becoming famous for already. Group E is shaping up quite nicely with the Czechs and the Italians both hoping to avoid the Brazilians in the second round. No matter which of those two get through, the second round clash between the runner up of Group E and winners of Group F (Brazil…who else?) will be as good as a World Cup final.
Despite his nervous start and problems with high balls, Kingston ended up making 10 saves, including a few special ones to keep the score down to 2-0 against Italy.
Speaking of Brazil – they play Croatia today. I’ll be doing a full preview of the match as well as the other matches today. Stay tuned.