Germany and USA qualify for last 16, Algeria also book their spot for a first timeComments
Germany have qualified for the last 16 of the World Cup in Brazil top of Group G after beating the USA 1-0 in their final round of group fixtures in Recife.
Thomas Muller notched up his fourth goal of the campaign with a long range curling effort on the 55th minute.
That goal went unanswered as Germany celebrated safe passage to the second round for the 16th consecutive time.
The USA also qualified from the group when in the other match Portugal beat Ghana 2-1 in Brasilia.
Ghana’s John Boye scored an own goal on 31 minutes to give Portugal some hope of progressing.
Asamoah Gyan levelled matters on 57 minutes only for Cristiano Ronaldo to take full advantage of a goalkeeping blunder to hammer home the winner.
So Germany and USA are through – Portugal just couldn’t score enough goals on the final day and now join the large wave of European nations to leave Brazil early.
Algeria make history
Later in the day Islam Slimani scored on the hour mark to hand Algeria a one all draw with Russia which was enough to see the North Africans through the last 16 for the first time in the nation’s history.
Alexander Kokorin put Fabio Capello’s men in front after just six minutes but Slimani headed home into an empty after a goalkeeping error to seal his side’s qualification.
Belgium, who had already qualified for the knockout stage before their final match, completed their Group H campaign unbeaten after a 1-0 win over South Korea in Sao Paulo.
Tottenham’s Jan Vertonghen swept the ball into the net when Korea keeper Kim Seung-gyu spilled the ball into his path following a Divock Origi powerful long range strike.
Belgium go through with maximum points followed by Algeria. Russia and South Korea head home.
It’s a knockout
After 15 days of competition the group phase has come full circle, here is a quick glimpse at the last 16 fixtures of the 2014 World Cup.
Hosts Brazil have a tricky last 16 tie against surprise package Chile on Saturday, the same day Colombia face Uruguay in another all South American affair.
On Sunday The Netherland’s and Mexico sqaure off in Fortaleza when another surprise package Costa Rica take on 2004 European champions Greece.
1998 champions France play Nigeria for a place in the quarters on Monday when Germany take on Algeria.
Tournament favourites Argentina will fancy their chances against Switzerland on Tuesday when Belgium play the USA
This edition of the World Cup in Brazil has not been favourable for the European nations. Reigning champions Spain, Italy the Euro 2012 finalists, England and Portugal are all out.
On the other hand teams from the Americas have shined in Brazil, Costa Rica one of the teams with a brilliant but unexpected progression to the knockout stages.
It’s the end of Spanish dominance.
Spain were looking for a fourth consecutive major tournament title
But in Brazil it all went south and quickly – After being thrashed by the Dutch Spain were then stunned by Chile. Victory over Australia was too little too late.
Four-times champions Italy also fell by the wayside in a group that included England who had a disastrous campaign and picked up just one point before packing their bags and flying home.
Greece, Germany, Belgium, France, Switzerland and the Netherlands are left flying the European flag in Brazil.
It has been a fantastic World Cup for the teams from the America’s with Costa Rica and Chile showing they should not be taken lightly.
Costa Rica made the last 16 for the first time in 24 years.
Chile and Colombia meanwhile will be full of confidence after a stunning group phase performance.
Suarez ban leaves nasty taste
Luis Suarez is now forced to find a solution to his penchant for biting other players. FIFA handed down a heavy punishment to the striker after he bit Italian Giorgio Chiellini. Suarez’s World Cup is now over.
Not for the first time has Luis Suarez been banned for biting opposition players.
Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic and PSV Eindhoven’s Otman Bakkal can painfully testify to that.
For his third biting offence Suarez has been suspended from all football-related activity for four months and banned for nine international matches effective immediately.
FIFA head of media Delia Fischer said: “Here I quote from the chairman of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee Claudio Sulser: ‘Such behaviour cannot be tolerated on any football pitch, and in particular not at a FIFA World Cup when the eyes of millions of people are on the stars on the field”.
Outside of Uruguay; Suarez’s latest biting episode has been met with disgust.
Some even believe the punishment is not harsh enough.
One Italian fan said: “It’s too little, especially when you look at his behaviour before, it is now three times right? This is the third time he has done this, it is far too little.”
Uruguay play Colombia in the last 16 and although many, from both sides, would have liked to see the star striker feature, his incident was just a step too far.
One Colombian fan said: “You can’t expect that, in a major event like a World Cup and in a sport that promotes camaraderie and good deeds, a player bites another player simply because he wants.”
The Uruguay FA have called the decision to ban Suarez ‘excessive’ and will appeal the ruling.
The Liverpool player has also been fined just over 82 thousand euros.
Suarez is not the only one making the headlines for all the wrong reasons.
Kevin-Prince Boateng and Sulley Muntari were expelled from Ghana’s World Cup squad for alleged indiscipline.
According to reports Boateng verbal insulted coach Kwesi Appiah while Muntari physically attacked an executive committee member.
Their expulsion came just hours before Ghana were eliminated.