Wasn't yesterday tense? It was for me, I was following the earlier games in the office via the comments and live blogs. Not a lot of work got done! No doubt the same pattern will be repeated in offices elsewhere in the world today among those who couldn't get time off, or simply didn't plan ahead and ask (oops).
In Group C, England finally woke up and got themselves into the next round and the USA made it by the skin of their teeth with a goal in the dying minutes. Perhaps Slovenia were unlucky not to qualify and it is a shame to see the former leaders exit the competition, though some would no doubt argue England (and indeed the US) ought to have put this round to bed much earlier than they did. Algeria took their expected last spot, but gave the others a scare along the way.
Over in Group D, Germany's win secured their top position and they'll be playing England in the next round on Sunday, and while Germany's opponents Ghana lost they did remain 2nd in the group and shall face the USA on Saturday (as the only remaining African team in the contest). Australia won their game against Serbia but they lost out in the group standings to Ghana on goal difference. The Group D deciders were played at the same time as that rather epic longest-of-all-time tennis match at Wimbledon so my plans to follow the fortunes of Germany and Australia went awry - it was a great match though.
Coming up today
Groups E and F shall be decided today, but what is this? The F games will be played before the E games! These things could at least be in the right order.
Group F is currently led by Paraguay on 4pts, with Italy and New Zealand tied on 2pts and on goal difference, with Slovakia last on 1 point. I think this means if any team wins their game they are through! Slovakia need a win to qualify so no doubt they'll be fighting the underpeforming Italians hard (they could probably use the win too), while the perhaps overperforming New Zealand are up against Paraguay. All four need a good result to confirm their place so both games could get quite scrappy. It all gets complicated if teams draw, I try not to think about it and just find out what happens if it happens.
In Group E we have The Netherlands on 6pts, with Japan and Denmark on 3pts each (Japan ahead on goal difference) and Cameroon bringing up the rear with zero. I'm sure Cameroon were good when I was younger.
Netherlands and Cameroon play each other and you'd expect the top team to beat the bottom team, so all eyes will surely be on Denmark v Japan to find out the other qualifier in the group - a draw will mean Japan goes through so hopefully Denmark will make a game of it.
Remember, the top two from these groups will meet in the next round. I don't have any particular allegiances so I'm just going to enjoy what should hopefully a good evening of sport. We've already established F1 Wolf is backing Slovakia and RubberGoat has fingers in the camps of Denmark, New Zealand and Italy (I don't envy that position - they can't all win!). Who are you backing, if anyone?
- Slovakia v Italy, 3pm ITV1
- Paraguay v New Zealand, 3pm ITV4
- Denmark v Japan, 7.30pm BBC1
- Cameroon v Netherlands, 7.30pm BBC3
Enjoy the games!