World Cup 2006 Group Stage Review - Phase Two- Part One
All 32 teams have played two matches as the World Cup groups have started to take shape. Some teams have qualified for the knockout stage while others will sweat on the last match. This is a short round-up of Groups A to D, of the results as they stand after two matches. Group A 1. Ecuador 6pts, 2. Germany 6pts, 3.
Poland 0pts, 4. Costa Rica 0pts Ecuador are the unlikely leaders of Group A and have secured their place in the last 16 with a convincing 3-0 win over rock-bottom Costa Rica. Second goals of the tournament from Tenorio, Delgado and one from former Crystal Palace flop Kaviedes saw a good value bet at 11/10. Germany, on the other hand, were 1/2 odds-on jollies to beat a disappointing Poland but needed a last gasp goal from veteran Oliver Neuville to see them off and join Ecuador in the knockout stage. Group B 1.
England 6pts, 2. Sweden 4pts, 3. Trinidad & Tobago 1pt, 4. Paraguay 0pts England were expected to trounce Trinidad & Tobago and cement their place at the top of Group B and the last 16. However, the Caribbean side put in a tremendous performance and only two late goals from Peter Crouch and Steven Gerrard spared their blushes at 2/9. Sweden also needed a late goal against Paraguay to put one foot in the second round. Freddie Ljungberg netted the winner with two minutes left on the clock for the 4/5 Swedes. Group C 1. Argentina 6pts, 2. Holland 6pts, 3.
Ivory Coast 0pts, 4. Serbia & Montenegro 0pts Argentina treated a global audience to a feast of beautiful football as they demolished Serbia & Montenegro 6-0. Argentina were 4/7 favourites but the price was secondary to the best 90 minutes of entertainment of the tournament so far. Maxi Rodriguez after six and 41 minutes sandwiched Esteban Cambiasso’s effort on 31 to give them a commanding half-time lead. The second half produced three more goals from Hernan Crespo after 78 minutes, Carlos Tevez on 84 and Lionel Messi with two minutes left. Buoyed on by Argentina’s glittering performance, 4/6 Holland wasted no time against the Ivory Coast and struck after 22 and 25 minutes through Ruud van Nistelrooy and Robin van Persie. However, the Africans hit back through Arouna Kone on 37 to set up a tense afternoon. Group D 1. Portugal 6pts, 2. Mexico 4pts, 3.
Angola 1pt, 4. Iran 0pts Portugal qualified comfortably for the second round with a 2-0 win over bottom of the table Iran. A goal from Deco after 63 minutes and Cristiano Ronaldo’s penalty with 10 minutes remaining, secured an odds-on win at 1/2. Mexico were left sweating on second round qualification after managing only a goalless draw with Angola. Goalkeeper Joao Ricardo, who hasn’t had a club for three years was magnificent on the evening to set up an unlikely draw at 5/2.
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