The US needed 91 minutes to score one that counted. They had another good goal disallowed, but never gave up. They showed heart and fought till the end to beat Algeria 1-0. The Yanks won a group at the World Cup for the first time.
Landon Donovan came through in stoppage time and scored put in the rebound off Clint Dempsey’s blocked shot. Man of the match in my eyes, however, was Jay DeMerit, who played rock solid on defense and broke up several good attacks by the Desert Foxes.
Germany beat Ghana 1-0 and advance as the winner of Group D. Serbia lost to the Socceroos and helped Ghana advance despite their loss. The US will face Ghana in the Round of 16 Saturday at 2:30pm ET, and Germany and England will renew their age-old rivalry on Sunday at 10am ET.
Day 14 marks the third day of deciding matches in the group stage as Group E and F will determine their winners and runners-up. Seven out of the eight teams in action today still have a chance to advance. Cameroon is the only side that has already been eliminated.
Group F opens the day with the early matches as Slovakia face defending champions Italy and Paraguay take on New Zealand. Paraguay sits atop the group and could even advance if they lose, depending on the outcome of the other match.
Italy and New Zealand hold a share of second place with two points and a zero goal differential each. They will most likely need a win to advance. Slovakia find themselves at the bottom of the group and have only an outsider’s chance of advancing.
Italy hasn’t played great and face a tough test in Slovakia. The Slovakian side plays well on defense, and the Italians have struggled offensively. They got two 1-1 draws to show for and had problems controlling the matches.
The defending champions are hoping for a breakout game, but I could see their struggles continue. Their defense hasn’t looked as solid as usual, and they gave up early goals in both of their matches.
Slovakia haven’t had a strong tournament either, but they could get a draw here. They will have to do a little more on offense, since they have only had three shots on target through two matches. They did, however, lead the match against New Zealand for a long time until a defensive lapse allowed the Kiwis to score.
Italy are the heavy favorite, but I could see another draw here. Go to Pinnacle for a +340 line for the tie.
Paraguay have shown that they can score and they have a strong defense. Comng into the tournament, the Kiwis were considered the weakest side in the group, but they have surprised with two draws.
Paraguay, however, are the more talented team and they seem to be more cold-blooded on offense. I think they will come out with another win and end up on top of the group. If you are with me, go to 5Dimes for the most value at -198.
The late matches will decide on the fate of the Group E sides. Netherlands has two wins to show for and they look to win the group with nine points. Cameroon is eliminated, and Japan faces Denmark in a true win final for second place.
Japan have one up on Denmark in goal differential, so they advance with a draw. Denmark needs to win the match to advance. Japan might come out a little more passive, but they have shown they can succeed offensively.
Denmark’s aging attack surprised against Cameroon and scored twice. They have the talent to win this one and advance. This should be an evenly played match with the slight edge for Denmark. With everything on the line, it is hard to pick a winner. Stay away from this, as it is unclear how the teams will fare under pressure. I give Denmark the slight advantage, because they are the more experienced side.
Cameroon has disappointed at the World Cup, and the Netherlands should win the second late match easily. Go to Pinnacle or 5Dimes for the best value in a bet on the Oranje. Also look at the total, as I think the Dutch will pile on some goals on the weak Cameroonian side.