against Algeria and Ghana versus Serbia. The final game provided football fans across the world the tournament’s first goal fest when Germany showed despite Michael Ballack’s absence they are major contenders for the trophy this summer, with a 4-0 demolition of Australia. A red card in all three games took the tournament tally to four, perhaps a sign of things to come.
Ghezzal sent off (72)
Slovenia, making just their second appearance at the World Cup finals moved to the top of Group C with a 1-0 victory over Algeria in an encounter that was far from enthralling. The first half was 45 minutes to forget for both sides with neither able to create an opening in front of goal.
The first real talking point came on 72 minutes when Algerian second half substitute Abdelkader Ghezzal, who had already received a first booking, deliberately brought down the ball with his hand and referee Carlos Batres had no choice but to produce a second yellow card and reduce the African nation to 10 men.
It took just seven minutes for Slovenia to capitalize on their man advantage when Robert Koren unleashed an effort from 25 yards out and Algerian keeper Faouzi Chaouchi, who appeared to have it covered, misjudged the strike as it zipped past him into the back of the net.
Lukovic sent off (74)
Asamoah Gyan 85 pen
An 85th minute penalty from Asamoah Gyan gave Ghana an opening game victory over Serbia with a narrow 1-0 score line. There was little goal mouth action in a rather uneventful opening 45 minutes in which Ghana had looked most likely to open the scoring.
The second half began at a much higher tempo and on 53 minutes Ghana should have taken the lead when Prince Tagoe floated a ball to the back post and Andre Ayew headed wide from inside the six yard box.
Ghana were handed the initiative with quarter of an hour left on the clock when Aleksandar Lukovic received a second yellow card for pulling back Asamoah Gyan and was given his marching orders.
Ghana were soon gifted a glorious chance to snatch all three points in the closing minutes when Zdravko Kuzmanovic misjudged a cross and appeared to deliberately handle the ball inside the area. Striker Asamoah Gyan stepped up to convert the penalty in composed fashion and give Ghana and Africa their first victory of the tournament and for Ghana, a big step towards the second round.
Podolski 8, Klose 27, Muller 68, Cacau 70
Germany produced the biggest win of the tournament so far with a comprehensive 4-0 drumming of Australia, signalling to their fellow competitors that they are again a force to be reckoned with this summer.
Germany dominated proceedings from the outset and went ahead after eight minutes when Lukas Podolski unleashed a fierce drive from the edge of the area which found the net despite the best efforts of Australia goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer. A second followed soon after when Phillp Lahm whipped a dangerous ball into the box and Miroslav Klose beat Mark Schwarzer to head into the empty net.
Any chance of an Australian comeback seemed to vanish when Tim Cahill – perhaps rather harshly – received a straight red card for his challenge on Bastian Schweinsteiger. The Germans were rampant from then on with goals from Thomas Muller and second half substitute Cacau wrapping up a comfortable victory which now makes them firm favourites to top Group D and signalled a strong statement of intent to the opposing 31 nations.