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THE DAY REPLAYED
The form book was torn up on the tenth match day at the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™, as former tournament winners Argentina and Germany laboured to live up to expectations. Both giants had been tipped to record comfortable victories against Iran and Ghana respectively, but the Albiceleste needed a stoppage time moment of magic from Lionel Messi to take all three points and Germany were briefly behind against the Africans before managing to secure a draw. Furthermore, history was made as a tournament record was equalled.
The third game of the day was the only one that did not throw up any surprises, with reigning African champions Nigeria narrowly getting the better of Bosnia and Herzegovina in an evenly-matched encounter. That defeat ended the World Cup debutants’ hopes of progressing to the Round of 16, where Argentina have already booked their place.
Argentina 1-0 Iran, Budweiser Man of the Match: Lionel Messi (ARG)
Germany 2-2 Ghana, Budweiser Man of the Match: Mario Gotze (GER)
Nigeria 1-0 Bosnia and Herzegovina, Budweiser Man of the Match: Peter Odemwingie (NGA)
Messi makes the difference
“When you have Messi, anything is possible,” said Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella after the match against Iran, echoing the thoughts of countless Albiceleste fans. Despite enjoying over 70 per cent possession over the 90 minutes, the South Americans struggled to find a way through a stubborn Team Melli defence. In the end a sensational stoppage-time effort from four-time FIFA Ballon d’Or winner Messi, who had been inconspicuous for most of the game, was enough to fire Argentina into the Round of 16. Diego Maradona was in the stands to witness the 26-year-old collect the ball on the right-hand edge of the penalty area, cut inside and curl an unstoppable strike in the net.
Friendship on ice
Bosnia and Herzegovina goalkeeper Asmir Begovic and Nigeria forward Peter Odemwingie are team-mates at Premier League side Stoke City and were seen having a friendly chat in the tunnel prior to their match. The former would undoubtedly have preferred to do without a second close encounter around the half hour mark. The Super Eagles striker slotted the ball through the custodian’s legs to score the decisive goal and earn Nigeria victory after nine previous World Cup fixtures without success.
Tit for tat
Miroslav Klose scored the equaliser for Germany with his first touch of the ball just two minutes after being brought on as a 69th minute substitute, pulling level with Brazil’s Ronaldo as the tournament’s all-time leading scorer. Il Fenomeno offered his congratulations on Twitter afterwards, while a smiling Klose said: “15 goals in 20 World Cup games isn’t too bad.” Moreover, the striker became only the third player to find the target at four finals after Pele and Uwe Seeler. Incidentally, Ronaldo scored his 15th World Cup goal against Ghana in Germany, while Klose notched his 15th against the same opposition in Brazil.
The Boateng brothers - Germany’s Jerome and Ghana’s Kevin-Prince - had not been in contact with each other during the tournament but were brought face to face at the pre-match handshakes, where they chatted and hugged briefly before focusing on the matter at hand. It was the second time the siblings had been on opposite sides in an international fixture, having also met in the group stage at South Africa 2010. The game may have ended in a draw, but there was still one winner: the duo’s father Prince. “It’s the easiest game for me to go to: no matter what the outcome, I win,” he had said prior to the encounter.
Not only did Andre Ayew level the scores for Ghana just 180 seconds after they had fallen behind against Germany, he also demonstrated his unique motivational skills. Unable to contain himself after finding the target, a jubilant Ayew ran the length of the pitch and hugged everyone he met before urging on both team-mates and spectators. He could be seen applauding his side's efforts at every opportunity and was constantly pulling the strings in the Black Stars’ midfield from his No10 position. Ayew’s efforts paid off as Asamoah Gyan soon put Ghana 2-1 up, becoming the first African player to score at three World Cups in the process.
100 - Germany’s Per Mertesacker and Argentina’s Javier Mascherano each completed a century of international appearances on Saturday. Furthermore, after Germany became the first nation to play in 100 World Cup matches, they played in the 800th tournament game against Ghana.
The social hub
Bem-vindo ao clube #klose imagino a tua felicidade!!!! Que bela copa!!!
— Claro Ronaldo (@ClaroRonaldo) 21 June 2014
Welcome to the club, Klose. I can imagine how happy you must be right now. What a great World Cup!
Belgium - Russia, 13:00, Rio de Janeiro
Korea Republic - Algeria, 16:00, Porto Alegre
USA - Portugal, 18:00, Manaus
(All times given are local)
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