The group stages ended on Friday night, which saw both Chili and Spain claim the last 2 spots for the next round despite the Chileans losing to the Spanish side by 2-1, but with Switzerland held to a 0-0 draw by Honduras in the same group, the Chileans got through.
Surprises also awaited many teams during these group stage matches, some for the good, and some for the worst.
In Group A, Uruguay and Mexico qualified for the second round, while France only made a fool of themselves as the whole world watched on, with the Anelka saga, boycotting the training and not managing a win out of their 3 games played, and ending last of the group with only 1 point, while host South Africa also suffered in their games, but won convincingly for the honor against the French side to give rise to more tension for the French squad 🙄
Group B saw Argentina qualify easily, followed by South Korea, while Greece and Nigeria were left behind. Messi is yet to score a goal in the World Cup, but he did prove his worth and may soon be rewarded with goals.
Group C, where England were being touted as favorites, in fact saw the USA finish top, as England failed to impress with what was supposed to be lower quality oppositions, but in the end the USA and Algeria sowed some doubt in the Three Lions mind, and Slovenia could have ended their World Cup dream had Defoe not scored a vital goal in that last match, and also the defense holding on to secure that much needed win. USA’s win over Algeria saw them go top on goal difference, and England must be relieved however to have got through to the second round, but with Germany awaiting them eagerly on Sunday 😛
Group D is where the Germans managed to top in the last game, after winning 1-0 against Ghana. The Germans started the group stage with a 4-0 win over Australia, but then slumped against Serbia in the second game, which had their qualification in doubt till the last game. Serbia could have gone through as well in that last game, but Australia managed a 2-1 win to end their hopes, leaving Germany and Ghana qualified.
In Group E , Netherlands qualified easily, as they won their 3 games, while Japan came second in that group, ahead of Denmark and Cameroon, the latter beaten every time they played, despite showing some positive signs in each game, but they never outshone the other teams in the end.
Group F had a big surprise for may be most of us, as defending champions, Italy, could not win a game, as they drew their first two and lost the third. This group looked more in favor for the Italians, as they had Paraguay, Slovakia and New Zealand as opponents, but the Italians were surprised by the tactics of these teams, and ended last, while New Zealand was somewhat a surprise packet, as they did not lose a single game, but drew all 3 of them. Paraguay and Slovakia qualified eventually for the next round.
Brazil and Portugal qualified easily in Group G, while the Ivory Coast and North Korea were eliminated, despite a win for Ivory Coast in the last game, but a draw between Brazil and Portugal meant that these two side secured the places. It is also in this group that we saw a goal-feast, as Portugal thrashed the North Koreans 7-0 in the second game to add some excitement to this World Cup.
Finally Group H saw Spain and Chili go through as the Spaniards won 2-1 against the Chileans in the last game to top the group, a win which was needed by the Spanish side as in the other game Switzerland were up against Honduras, and the Swiss side could have been a threat to the final standings, but in the end only drew 0-0, finishing 3rd.
The second round, starting on Saturday itself, will see Uruguay face South Korea, while USA will face Ghana in the evening. Sunday is a big day for England, as they will face Germany in what promises to be an explosive match, while Argentina will face Mexico later the same day.
On Monday Netherlands will face Slovakia, while Brazil will face a combative Chili side. Finally the second round will end on Tuesday, where Paraguay will face Japan, while Spain and Portugal will may be gratify us with another great match to end the day.