Saturday, June 17, 2006

Second Half Diary: Czech Republic v. Ghana. Ghana 2 Czech 0

Just got back from my girlfriend's graduation and see that Ghana is leading the Czech Republic 1-0. Looks like Ghana scored in the second minute: fastest goal by an African team in the World Cup. This is as good a chance that an African team may have to advance to the second round. Let's get the second half underway.

Minute 46: The Czechs looked to have tied the game up with a Nedved header but he was offsides. Ghana's blushes are spared if only temporarily.

Minute 47: Already 4 mentions by the announcers that a Ghana victory will keep the U.S. hopes alive. No mention of that little thing about beating the Italians.

Minute 49: Lokvenc picks up a yellow card for fouling the Ghana midfielder. I didn't see the first half but I imagine not having Koller and Baros due to injury must have something to do with the Czechs failing to score in this game.

Minute 52: QUick kick by the keeper. Ghana back on the counterattack with a 2 against three the Ghana player skips by two Czechs to force Petr Cech into a great save. Corner kick for Ghana.

Minute 53: Is Ghana that good or were the U.S. that bad? Right now Ghana is four goals better than the U.S. in terms of their performance against the Czechs. The Ghana midfield just keeps on running. Besides their good ball skills the most impressive thing is that they never tire.

Minute 56: This looks more like Czech football. Great combination play from the midfielders. Ball played into the box and Rosicky dummies. Czech player drives the ball high at the keeper. Save. Corner for the Czechs.

Minute 58: Announcer claims that Ghana is running out of steam. I just don't see it. They seem to be running much harder than the Czechs and are defending and getting the ball into the attack quickly. Then again, I didn't see the first half but on the evidence of the first 14 minutes of the second half, Ghana looks the fresher team.

Minute 64: The Czechs are enjoying a good spell of possession but that final pass is missing. Not having a target man to finish off the impressive buildup play is probably what's frustrating the Czechs.

Minute 64: here come the Ghanaians on a swift counterattack. Ujfalusi brings down the Ghanaian attacker. PENALTY!!! THis is where Petr Cech will prove his worth possibly.

Minute 66: Red card given to Ujfalusi for dissent. The same guy who commit the foul. The penalty still hasn't been taken.

Minute 66:Asamoah Gyan misses. HE HIT THE POST!!!! Typically poor finishing by the Africans. Ghana cannot afford to hang their heads here. They're about 20 minutes away from the second round because surely they will defeat the U.S. in their final game. They need to hold on to this advantage.

Minute 70: Neither Rosicky nor Nedved seem to be given the time to dwell on the ball like they had against the U.S. The Ghana midfielders are shutting them down quickly and forcing them to think about the second pass as soon as they receive the ball. The only answer the Czechs have right now is the hopeful long ball. I think it all boils down to not having their two first choice forwards. It's similar to how poorly Brazil played when their forwards weren't on their game.

Minute 72: Another excellent save by Petr Cech. He's really keeping the Czechs in this game right now.

Minute 75: First real error from Cech. He comes out and leaves his goal wide open but Ghana tries to be a little too cute and fail to put away the Czechs. Right back come the Czechs and Rosicky wins a free kick.

Minute 78: More neat play by the Ghanaians around the box. Essien shoots and the shot is saved by Petr Cech.

Minute 79: Once more the Ghanaians come and once more Petr Cech saves. At this point it's clear that Petr Cech is good but the Ghanaians are poor finishers. GHana's forwards are shooting straight at Cech everytime. The goal is really big, you know.

Minute 82: FINALLY!!! Ghana beats Cech. It's 2-0. Muntari finishes off a good series of passes by Ghana. He goes high. Cech goes low. Worse yet, Cech is beaten at his near post, something I wouldn't expect. This is over 2-0. All Ghana has to do is beat the U.S. and they are in the second round. These Ghanaians are really hamming it up right now.

Minute 87: The announcers are talking about how the Ghanaians have taken it to the Cechs and indeed they have bue the point they are neglecting is that the Czechs have played without their top two forwards. The result has been that Rosicky and Nedved have had to be higher up the field without any cover and when they fail to score the Ghanaians have the middle of the field wide open to attack.

Minute 89: Ghana goal called back because of offsides. Ghana is just romping through the Czech defense right now but some typically poor decision making by Ghana is keeping the score respectable.

Minute 90: Ghana 2 Czech Republic 0. That's it and that's all. Ghana now needs to beat the U.S. and they are on to the next round. This turns the last day of the group play into something major because the Czech Republic v. Italy game which previously was expected to just stroll through and rest their top players now becomes crucial for the Czechs. Of course if Italy beats the U.S. they are through to the next round. Next up U.S. v. Italy. Time for me to eat lunch with the g/f and her family so I will be missing that game.


Blogger DR said...

You missed a hell of a game this afternoon!

What do you reckon, will Ghana make it through this group now? I think they could have a tough time with both goal scorers missing out on the final match because of their yellow cards.

3:34 PM  

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