Day eight of the
Klose sent off 37
Group D was thrown wide open after Serbia recorded a narrow 1-0 victory over Germany, making the most of their man advantage. The referee, Alberto Undiano, was quick to brandish yellow cards early on and it wasn’t long before Germany were reduced to 10-men when striker Miroslav Klose received a second yellow card for a challenge on Dejan Stankovic. Serbia made their advantage count instantly when on 38 minutes, Nikola Zigic headed back across goal for Milan Jovanovic to fire home and give them an unlikely lead.
Despite being a man lighter, Germany pressed on at the start of the second half and were given a glorious chance to level at one apiece when Nemanja Vidic needlessly handled inside the area and the referee pointed to the penalty spot. Lukas Podolski saw his rather tame spot-kick saved by Vladimir Stojkovic as hopes of a comeback began to fade. The introduction of Mario Gomez, Cacau and Marko Marin failed to have the desired effect as Serbia held for a narrow victory which throws Group D wide open.
UNITED STATES 2
Donovan 48, Bradley 82
Birsa 13, Ljubijankic 42
An inspired second half turnaround by the United States helped them come from two goals down to earn a 2-2 draw with Slovenia in Johannesburg. Having started brightly, Slovenia took an early lead after 13 minutes when midfielder Valter Birsa was allowed to turn and produced a stunning finish bending the ball across Tim Howard into the right hand corner. After a sluggish start, the Americans finished the half strongly and but for a goal-line interception by Miso Brecko, would have equalised. Just seconds later, Slovenia broke to devastating effect. Milivoje Novakovic slipped Zlatan Ljubijankic in behind the defence who slotted home to double their lead just minutes before the break, providing the USA with a mountain to climb.
The size of the mountain was reduced significantly when just three minutes into the second half, Landan Donovan broke into the penalty area before firing into the roof of the net past a rather hesitant Samir Handanovic in the Slovenian goal. The comeback was complete late on when Jozy Altidore headed down into the path of Michael Bradley who produced a composed finish to level the game at two apiece and gain a vital point in the context of Group C.
England are now firmly on the brink of a group stage exit after sharing a stalemate with Algeria in Cape Town on Friday evening. Both goalkeepers were rarely called upon in an uneventful first half, with the best effort falling to Frank Lampard who had his left-footed effort saved smartly by Rais M’Bolhi. Captain Steven Gerrard was struggling to influence the game from his berth on the left hand side of midfield as was Wayne Rooney, who turned in yet another below par performance by his very high standards. The introduction of Jermain Defoe and Peter Crouch late on seemed to provide the spark they had previously lacked but it was too little too late as a resilient Algerian side held on for a share of the spoils.England must now defeat group leaders Slovenia in their final game if they are to progress to the second round and keep the nations hopes of World Cup glory alive.