World Cup Roundup - First Leg Halfway
So we're already halfway through the first set of match-ups in group play, with all the teams in Groups A through D having one game under their belts now. So what have we learned?
Siphiwe Shabalala kicked off the World Cup in style with a beautiful goal that should have led to a surprising victory for host South Africa. Unfortunately defender Robert Mokoena wasn't astute enough to step up when three Mexico forwards had him beat and Bafana Bafana wound up with a 1-1 draw.
France, meanwhile, struggled mightily with Uruguay's defense, but managed to hold on for a 0-0 draw to keep out of the bottom of the group heading into their second game.
South Korea took some time to get going, but eventually took care of a clearly overmatched Greek squad in front of a surprisingly thin crowd (only about 31,000 people attended when more than 39,000 tickets were sold).
Nigeria must be about fed up with Argentina. After falling to them two years ago at the Olympics, they saw them again this year and played a fairly even match - save for one slip and a goal by Gabrial Heinze in only the fifth minute.
The US looked shaky early on as they gave up a goal to Stephen Gerrard on a sloppy defensive play in only the third minute of action. They gradually found their form, though, and a massive non-save by keeper RObert Green left the Three Lions limping into their next game with only a single point after a 1-1 draw.
This must be the group of goalie gaffes, since a sloppy first half gave way to another "should have been" save for Algerian keeper Faouzi Chaouchi and a 1-0 victory for Slovenia.
This group got off to an even start with Serbia and Ghana engaged in some great back and forth. Too bad that Serbia had to go down on a stupid play, as Alexsander Lukovic got a red card for his second yellow in the 74th minute leaving the Serbs a man down. Zdravko Kuzmanovic then followed that up with a handball in the box, earning him a yellow card and Ghana a penalty kick, which Asamoah Gyan converted into a 1-0 win for Ghana.
Germany rounded out the group with a lopsided 4-0 victory over Austrailia. The Socceroos did their best, but they were clearly over-matched against one of the Cup favorites. two goals in a span of about four minutes in the second half finally put the final nail in what was not just the Aussie's game, but possibly their hopes of advancing.