It’s a chance for many teams to move into position on day eight in South Africa, with two teams’ place at the World
GERMANY vs. SERBIA
12.30pm – Port Elizabeth Stadium, Nelson Mandela Bay
After steam-rolling Australia, Germany will be keen to confirm their spot in the last-16. Joachim Low’s side were the first to play any kind of free-flowing attacking football in the tournament, a performance that has led many experts to tip Germany as potential champions. The showing of Mesut Ozil, who orchestrated many of the German’s attacks, particularly caught the eye, as did the potent finishing of their quartet of strikers. One of those scorers, Miroslav Klose, is in-fact within touching distance of Gerd Muller’s 14 goal record at World Cups and even Ronaldo’s all-time record, and the Bayern Munich forward is sure to get plenty more opportunities to reach those landmarks as the tournament progresses.
Serbia, who before the tournament were tipped to join Germany in the knockout stages, are now fighting for their lives in the World Cup. They slummed to a disappointing defeat at the hands of Ghana and now face one of the contenders for the trophy with their place in the final’s on the line. An untested German defence is unlikely to fancy tackling Nicola Zigic, but Serbia’s service to the lanky front man will have to greatly improve.
SLOVENIA vs. USA
3pm -Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg
While they were victorious over Algeria was in rather comfortable fashion, Slovenia know there is plenty of room for improvement. Not until the African side were down to 10-men did Slovenia appear likely to score, and it even took a goalkeeping error to provide the breakthrough and against the United States they will need far more cutting edge. Slovenia can in-fact all but assure qualification for the last-16 with a win over the Americans, who fought back, albeit fortuitously, to draw with England. Landon Donovan was the main goal threat against England, and his free-role behind the striker is sure to cause the Slovenian’s problems.
Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey will attempt to nullify the threat of Robert Koren while Jose Altidore will aim to ruffle the feathers of Bostjan Cesar, the formidable centre back. With England expected to overcome Algeria, the winner here will take a huge step to the knockout stages.
ENGLAND vs. ALGERIA
7.30pm – Green Point Stadium, Cape Town
However it might have come, England’s draw with USA has gone to dampen expectations ahead of the rest of Fabio Capello side’s World Cup run. Although, their performance hardly lacked goal-scoring opportunities, nor thrust in the final third, but maybe that piece of luck that is needed of any potential world cup winner. Algeria, in truth can’t make the same complaint. The self-inflicted sending off of Abdelkader Ghezzal turned their game against Slovenia on its head, during a dire encounter in Polokwane.
The smash and grab nature of their qualification for the finals and their form in their warm-up games are starting to come back to haunt them, and it will take an impressive performance to topple England. Capello is likely to replace his goalkeeper Robert Green, still recovering from his mistake that led to USA’s equalizer, with David James, while Gareth Barry’s ankle injury has subsided to allow him to take his place in the side. The onus on Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard to provide the killer touch again is heightened by the need for England to grab a decisive win. A defeat for the Desert Foxes, would end their interest in the competition.