FIFA World Cup 2010: Germany and England Stunned in a Day of Upsets
Serbia shocked Germany when they defeated the three-time World Champions in a vital Group D fixture on Friday. Milan Jovanovic was the man of the moment for Serbia, as he scored the goal to seal a 1-0 victory for the Serbs. Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski were the villains for Germany, as the former was sent off earlier in the first half, and the latter missed the penalty in the second half.
Germany started the match in confident fashion, as Sami Khedira found space and volleyed the shot over the goal on the cross of Thomas Mueller. Mueller and Klose kept the pressure on the Serbian defence with continuous onslaughts. But the balance of the game shifted towards Serbia when in the 37th minute, Klose was sent off after getting a second booking for fouling Milos Krasic. The Germans hadn’t even fully recovered from the shock, when Serbia took full advantage of the perturbed German side to net their first goal. Jovanovic finished a clinical move to score the goal. Jovanovic received the cross from Krasic, which he settled down to fire down a close range shot. The Germans came back in the match momentarily in the second half, when Vidic’s handball gave them a penalty after several attacks on the Serbian goalpost by German forwards. Podolski, who was instrumental in Germany’s 4-0 victory over Australia, fired a poor penalty which was stopped by goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic. Stojkovic anticipated the direction of the penalty correctly and dived to the left to stop Podolski’s spot kick.
On the other hand, England was held to a goalless draw by Algeria in their Group C match. England produced another lacklustre performance, as they failed to find the required killer touch to score against Algerians. They struggled to find flow and lost the ball too many times in the midfield. After their woeful performance, the English team are under heavy pressure, as they need a must win in their final group match against Slovenia. England’s coach Fabio Capello is frustrated by his team’s performance. Talking to reporters after the match, he said, “This is not the team I recognise from training or from qualifying. We missed too many passes, lost too many balls. It was not a good game. We have to do better. We have another game to play. It’s our last chance to continue in the tournament. The players know what they have to do.” Even the England captain, Steven Gerrard, seemed disturbed by the players’ performance, which lacked the required spark. Talking to the media, Liverpool’s midfielder said, “We’re not happy with the performance, we need more if we want to stay in this tournament to the later stages, we need to improve. We weren’t good enough in the final third to get the breakthrough.” He further added, “We know the job we’ve got to do, we’ve got to go and win the last game and that adds more pressure, but to play at this level you’ve got to handle it, you’ve got to play under pressure.”
Manchester United’s star striker Wayne Rooney, who played behind Heskey in the attack, was largely ineffective throughout the match. And same was the case of Manchester City’s Gareth Barry, who came to the match after recovering from an ankle injury. Even English opponent, Algeria was amazed at poor performance of English team.
Talking to reporters, the Algerian coach said, “I don’t know what happened to them. We could have won and so could England. Both had opportunities. I think it was a match where everyone tried as much as they could and it’s a pity it was a draw and a goalless draw at that.” Capello, frustrated with his team’s performance, brought necessary changes in the second half in form of Shaun Wright-Phillips, Jermain Defoe and Peter Crouch, but all efforts went in vain as they also struggled to find the goal.
It is now essential for England to grind victory in their final group match against Slovenia; otherwise, their dream of winning their second World Cup will come crashing down. Capello will need to motivate his players for the final group match, and bring necessary changes in the starting line-up to bring some lethality in the English attack.