BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
RED: Valencia 50'
Group F Finale
Iran was desperately trying to advance, while Bosnia was merely playing for pride. A little over twenty minutes in, the Dragons struck first when Miralem Pjanic fed Edin Džeko from midfield and Džeko buried a shot in the lower right corner. Iran very nearly countered almost immediately, but Masoud Shojaei cracked off the crossbar harmlessly. It would be another half-hour before the net billowed; at the hour mark, Pjanic took a pass from Tino-Sven Sušic and scored. Pjanic appeared to be offside, but the flag didn't go up. Twenty minutes later Reza Ghoochannejhad got Iran on the board and gave them a faint glimmer of hope, but it was extinguished just a minute later when Avdija Vršajevic scored to seal the deal and send both teams packing.
Meanwhile in Porto Alegre, Nigeria answered Argentina punch-for-punch for the first fifty minutes. Or, more accurately, Ahmed Musa and Lionel Messi traded punches. Just three minutes in, Ángel di María fired a shot off the post which Messi collected and deposited in the net. But just one minute later, straight off the kickoff, Musa cut into the box, deked Pablo Zabaleta, and fired a shot into the far corner to equalize. Both squads had numerous chances throughout the rest of the half, but none found the net until stoppage time when Kenneth Omeruo tripped Messi about 25 yards out and gave up a free kick. Messi curled it in beautifully, and Argentina took the lead into the locker room. Just a couple of minutes into the half, though, Musa again brought the ball into the box and, with two defenders closing, blasted home his second goal of the game. It only took two more minutes for Argentina to regain the lead. Off a corner, Marcos Rojo stuck his knee out and, let's be honest here, got lucky. But luck counts, and the Albiceleste held off 40 minutes of furious Nigerian attack to claim the victory and the group. But Nigeria still advanced thanks to Iran's defeat.
|GROUP F FINAL STANDINGS|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||1||0||2||4||4||0||3|
Group E Finale
It was a desultory affair in Rio as neither team had many chances at all, even after Ecuador went down to 10 men when Antonio Valencia was sent off for dangerous play. That all but destroyed any chance Ecuador had to score the goals they needed to advance, and France was more than happy to settle for the draw.
Xherdan Shaqiri scored a natural hattrick to bury Honduras and send Switzerland through. Knowing they needed a better result than Ecuador or a much better result if they both won, the Swiss poured it on. Shaqiri drilled home the opener just six minutes in on a bending strike from 25 yards out. At the half-hour mark, Josip Drmic fed Shaqiri at the top of the penalty area, and again Shaqiri simply buried it. Finally, with twenty minutes to go, Drmic made a run down the left side. Pinned by Víctor Bernárdez, Drmic simply waited for Shaqiri to arrive, dished it, and boom. Hattrick. Even had Ecuador scored a miracle goal in stoppage time, it wouldn't have mattered.
|GROUP E FINAL STANDINGS|
|MATCH||TIME (CT)||NETWORK||GROUP||TEAMS / SITE||ANNOUNCERS||ODDS|
United States vs Germany
Arena Pernambuco, Recife
Portugal vs Ghana
Estádio Nacional Mané Garrincha, Brasília
South Korea vs Belgium
Arena de São Paulo, São Paulo
South Korea 9:2
Algeria vs Russia
Arena da Baixada, Curitiba
Game 45: United States-Germany
There will likely be no chance in the American lineup. Jozy Altidore is still out, and save one tragic early mistake the starting eleven played well through the first half. Germany's also looking unchanged, though there are injury questions surrounding Jerome Boateng and Sami Khedira. A draw sends both teams through, but both sides insist they're playing to win. If they draw, Germany wins the group; if not, the winner does and the loser will be hoping Portugal either wins or draws, although even a Ghana win doesn't necessarily spell doom.
Game 46: Portugal-Ghana
Portugal is still beset by injury woes, with Fabio Coentrao definitely out and Helder Postiga, Rui Patricio, and both Hugo and Andre Almeida questionable. Expect Beto to start in net, with Miguel Veloso or Ricardo Costa sliding into the backfield. Eder, after having come on in relief in the first two games, will likely start today. Ghana's only expected change is one forced by suspension, as Sulley Muntari picked up yellow cards in both previous games. Michael Essien will probably start as a result. A draw eliminates both teams, while if there's a winner they still need the USA to lose. Ghana needs to win by two or have the USA lose by two; Portugal has to make up five goals in goal differential.
Game 47: South Korea-Belgium
Toby Alderweireld and Axel Witsel will definitely sit for Belgium; they're not injured, just getting a rest. South Korea aren't expected to change anything. A win or a draw, or an Algerian loss or draw, wins the group for Belgium. A loss and an Algerian win sends Belgium down to second. South Korea can't win the group, but they can move on to the knockout rounds; they must win while Algeria loses in order to advance.
Game 48: Algeria-Russia
No changes expected for either squad, but that doesn't mean there won't be. A win sees Algeria through; add a Belgium loss and they'll finish top of the group. They would also advance with a draw as long as South Korea doesn't beat Belgium by four goals (or three goals while scoring three more goals than Algeria). In order to advance, Russia needs to win while South Korea loses, draws, or wins by no larger a margin than Russia does; they cannot win the group.
Today's the day. Team USA has advancement as their priority here, while the chance of winning their group for the second World Cup in a row is present. Join us here for the game, and then stick around for the end of group play at 2:30.