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First World Cup exit after entertaining day

June 20, 2010

Chiles might be regretting his move to ITV -

It would have been nice to have some information on the teams involved in ITV’s Saturday evening match but in the absence of that, watching Jim Beglin hit Adrian Chiles in the jaffers from ten yards with a Jabulani was surprisingly entertaining television.

The obligatory and often dull ‘news’ from the England camp usually dominates the corporation’s coverage but in the aftermath of Wayne Rooney’s outburst it was perhaps understandable prior to Denmark v Cameroon. As if the staff kick about wasn’t entertaining enough, Andy Townsend offered another amusing image while discussing England’s prospects against Slovenia. “Some of the senior players are gonna have to knock on Capello’s door and say, you’re Italian, you’re gonna be sitting back by Lake Garda in three or four years, enjoying the fruits of your labour, and rightly so – but we might have to live with this for the rest of our lives,” he declared earnestly. Credit to Gerrard and co if any of them have the cojones to say that to Don Fabio.

The game itself was as entertaining as the build-up; Samuel Eto’o celebrated in appropriately manic fashion as he put Cameroon ahead after ten minutes, after a neat move following Christian Poulsen’s lazy error on the Denmark right. The Danes equalised following an even smarter move, ending when Nicklas Bendtner slid in to stud the ball into the net.

Smart finish, poor defending -

Dennis Rommedahl’s smart finish won them the game but was made possible by incompetent defending from Jean Makoun, filling in for Assou-Ekotto on the left. He allowed him to step inside and opened a clear route to goal. It was enough to send Cameroon out, but not before a combination of poor finishing, good goalkeeping and fortuitous defensive placement (Christian Poulsen took a whack on the head blocking a shot while on the floor) prevented more goals being scored. The result sent Holland through, as expected.

Prior to that, Ghana and Australia had played out a very entertaining 1-1 draw, notable for another handball in the box (the outfield players have been better than the goalkeepers at handling it) and a rare Videprinter prediction success. The laws of the game are less clear than the BBC suggested regarding handball, but once it was given the red card had to follow (the rules are clear on this: a dismissal for for ‘preventing a goal or an obvious goalscoring opportunity’. However, the handball must be ‘deliberate’ and it is not clear whether Kewell’s was.)

Australia responded well to being pegged back by the resulting Asamoah Gyan penalty and could well have snatched three points in the second half; Luke Wilkshire hit straight at the ‘keeper when a simple finish was available to him, and Scott Chipperfield’s header went easily over the bar. Craig Moore at the back was excellent following the 4-0 demolition suffered at the hands (or feet) of Germany, and an Australian win would have tied the group at three points apiece going into the final round. Alas, it was not to be, and now the Aussies must beat Serbia to stand a chance of going through.

Today’s predictions:

Slovakia 1 Paraguay 1

Italy 2 New Zealand 0

Brazil 2 Ivory Coast 1

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