World Cup 2006 Group Stage Review - Phase Three - Part One
All 32 teams have completed the group stage and 16 are preparing for the knockout phase. This is a short round-up of Groups E to H, of the results as they stand after three matches. Did your country qualify or fall at the first hurdle? Group E 1. Italy 7pts, 2. Ghana 6pts, 3. Czech Republic 3pts, 4.
USA 1pt Italy finished top of the “Group of Death” by beating the Czech Republic 2-0 in their final match. Marco Materazzi broke the deadlock after 25 minutes and Filippo Inzaghi ensured victory four minutes from time for the 6/5 Italians. Ghana also qualified for the knockout stage by beating the USA and thus ending the Czech Republic’s involvement in the tournament. Haminu Dramani opened the scoring for Ghana after 21 minutes but Clint Dempsey levelled for the USA on 42. Stephen Appiah converted a penalty on the stroke of half time to see the 2/1 Ghanaians progress.
Group F 1. Brazil 9pts, 2. Australia 4pts, 3. Croatia 2pts, 4. Japan 1pt Brazil made it a clean sweep and finished comfortably at the summit of Group F after a comprehensive 4-1 defeat of Japan. Outsiders Japan, who finished bottom of the group, had the audacity to take the lead through Keiji Tamada on 33 minutes but Ronaldo netted his first of the tournament on the stroke of half time to draw the sides level. Juninho put 1/4 Brazil in front after 52 minutes, Gilberto netted a third on 58 and Ronaldo scored his second with 10 minutes left. Australia were unlikely qualifiers after the earned the draw they needed against Croatia. Darijo Srna fired in a free kick to give Croatia a second minute lead but Craig Moore levelled from the penalty spot on 38. Niko Kovac put Croatia ahead again nine minutes into the second half but Harry Kewell ensured the match ended all square at 11/5 odds 12 minutes before the end.
Group G 1. Switzerland 7pts, 2. France 5pts, 3. South Korea 4pts, 4. Togo 0pts Switzerland finished top of the group with a 2-0 defeat of South Korea, ending the semi finalists of four years ago interest in the competition. Phillipe Senderos scored the first after 22 minutes and Alexander Frei sealed victory for the 10/11 Swiss on 76. Unconvincing France, 1/3 to win the match before kick-off, snatched second spot and second round qualification with a 2-0 victory against bottom of the group. Group H 1. Spain 9pts, 2. Ukraine 6pts, 3.
Tunisia 1pt, 4. Saudi Arabia 1pt An under strength Spain beat Saudi Arabia 1-0 to ensure three wins out of three during the group stage. Real Betis defender Juanito netted the winner 10 minutes before the break for the 1/4 Spaniards. Ukraine appeared to exorcise the demons of their opening match hammering by Spain to take runners up spot in the group. Andriy Shevchenko, a £31 million summer signing by Chelsea, converted a penalty after 70 minutes to earn 4/5 backers a winning bet.
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