World Cup Diary
Messi, Klose and Odemwingie all make valuable contributions.
What happened last night?
Game of day was most definitely played in Fortaleza where Germany and Ghana slugged out a thrilling 2-2 draw.
With the Group G game goalless at the interval, few would have predicted the thrilling second half that lay ahead as the contest swung one way, then the other before it ended honours even.
Mario Gotze’s close-range finish put Germany ahead shortly after the restart but within 12 minutes Ghana had turned the match around. Andre Ayew levelled with a brilliant header before former Sunderland striker Asamoah Gyan gave the Africans the lead.
However, Germany salvaged a point when 36-year-old goal machine Miroslav Klose became the joint-record scorer in World Cup history. The Lazio man prodded in at the far post to draw level with Brazilian great Ronaldo on 15 goals.
Germany move on to four points and their passage through to the knockout phase is not yet secure. The result also keeps alive Ghana’s hopes of qualification for the last 16 but they will have to beat Portugal in their final game to have a chance.
One nation definitely through is Argentina as they survived a scare to beat Iran thanks to an injury-time strike from Lionel Messi – the Barcelona forward's second goal at the tournament.
Iran threatened to cause what would have been a huge upset with several second-half opportunities but in the end, Messi’s late curling shot from outside the box earned a 1-0 win – a result which moves them to the summit of Group F on six points.
While it was delight for Argentina, it was despair for Bosnia whose involvement in the World Cup will end after the group stage. They lost 1-0 to Nigeria – their second defeat of the tournament.
Stoke striker Peter Odemwingie was the match-winner in Cuiaba, meaning Nigeria will reach the knockout stages if they get a point against Argentina or if Iran fail to beat Bosnia in the final round of fixtures in Group F.
Who caught the eye?
Lionel Messi, Miroslav Klose and Peter Odemwingie’s goalscoring contributions will garner plenty of coverage in the morning papers but special praise will also go to the sets players who performed so admirably for Iran and Ghana.
Underdogs in both games, Head coaches Carlos Queiroz and Akwasi Appiah will take plenty of encouragement from the way their teams gave two of the pre-tournament favourites a real run for their money.
Those displays are sure to fill Iran and Ghana with plenty of belief that they can reach the knockout stage heading into the final group games next week.
What’s happening today?
The games continue to come thick and fast with another three clashes to look forward to on Sunday.
Belgium can secure their passage into the last 16 with a win over Russia in the 5pm kick-off at the Maracana.
The second game of the day takes place at 8pm in Porto Alegre where South Korea and Algeria both go in search of their first victories at the tournament.
And the final match of day 11 sees the United States entertain Portugal at 11pm.
Who should I be looking out for today?
Two Evertonians could be in action on day 11 of the World Cup.
Tim Howard is expected to take his place in goal for the United States as Jurgen Klinsmann’s side go hunting for a win that will put them into the knockout rounds and leave Portugal’s ambitions in tatters.
Portugal made an abysmal start to the tournament by losing 4-0 to Germany and if Howard were to keep Ronaldo and co. at bay the Iberians would be facing the prospect of a surprise early exit. Indeed, a victory for the US and Portugal are definitely heading home.
Kevin Mirallas was an unused substitute for Belgium in their 2-1 victory over Algeria last Tuesday and the winger will be hoping he gets the chance to impress against Russia.
Also keep an eye out for ex-Toffees Romelu Lukaku and Marouane Fellaini, with both expected to play some part in the game.