World Cup 2006: Rolling balls and goal scores
With eighteen matches gone along with cheers, heartaches, promises and goals and many strokes yet to come, this is how the ball has been rolling.india Updated: Jun 17, 2006 17:36 IST
After 847 matches involving 194 nations before 31 teams earned their right for a place in the sun, Germany having got there by promising to play good hosts. Close to 2500 goals were scored and over 7000 players gave everything they got, but only one-tenth of them will be able to tell their grandchildren that they played at the playground of the Gods.
Till now eighteen matches have been played and there are many more to go. Many will cry, many laugh, and the best will shoot a few goals. But for now this is where we stand, with our heartaches and cheers.
Mexico vs Angola
Goalkeeper Joao Ricardo frustrated Mexico with some dramatic saves on Friday to help World Cup newcomer Angola hold Mexico to a 0-0 draw in Group D.
Netherlands secured their place in the last 16 minutes of the World Cup on Friday, withstanding a powerful Ivory Coast onslaught for a 2-1 victory in Group C.
Maxi Rodriguez scored two goals and substitute Lionel Messi added another, leading Argentina to a 6-0 victory over Serbia-Montenegro in Group C on Friday.
Peter Crouch and Steven Gerrard each scored late on Thursday to lead England into the second round of the World Cup with a 2-0 win over Trinidad and Tobago in Group B.
Ecuador reached the second round of the World Cup for the first time after beating Costa Rica 3-0 on Thursday.
Germany grabbed a late winner to defeat gutsy Poland 1-0 thanks to an Oliver Neuville goal in injury time in a tense, bruising Group A encounter on Wednesday.
Defender Radhi Jaidi headed an injury-time equaliser on Wednesday as Tunisia scrambled a 2-2 draw with Saudi Arabia which left both teams waiting for an elusive World Cup win.
Spain vs Ukraine
Spain overpowered Ukraine 4-0 Wednesday in Group H of the World Cup - the biggest margin of victory so far at this year's tournament.
France were held to a scoreless draw by Switzerland on Tuesday, extending their dismal record of not scoring a goal at World Cup finals since winning the trophy eight years ago.
Brazil vs Costa Rica
Brazil opened its attempt for a record sixth World Cup title on Tuesday with a 1-0 win over Croatia in Group F. Kaka scored in the 43rd minute with a 20-metre shot into the top right corner of the goal, turning the whistles of Brazil's previously frustrated fans into cheers and songs.
However, Brazil goalkeeper Dida made a string of saves at the sold-out Olympic Stadium and striker Ronaldo was substituted after a below-par performance, suggesting the defending champions will have to improve if they are to reach the final on July 9.
South Korea vs Togo
Ahn Jung-Hwan scored the winning goal in the 72nd minute on Tuesday to give South Korea a 2-1 win over Togo and its first World Cup victory away from home.
Australia vs Japan
Australia scored three goals in the final six minutes on Monday for a 3-1 win over Japan in Group F of the World Cup.
Tim Cahill scored Australia's first ever World Cup goal in the 84th minute after the Japan goalkeeper failed to punch clear a cross. He added another in the 89th, and John Aloisi scored a third in injury time to seal Australia's first World Cup win in the team's second appearance.
Italy vs Ghana
Italy began their World Cup campaign with a solid 2-0 victory over Ghana on Monday.
Andrea Pirlo's rasping 40th-minute drive put Italy ahead before substitute Vincenzo Iaquinta settled an intriguing Group E contest of contrasting styles with a breakaway goal seven minutes from the end.
Tomas Rosicky scored twice as the Czech Republic enjoyed an impressive 3-0 victory over the United States in their World Cup opener on Monday.
Giant striker Jan Koller, who opened the scoring, had headed in the first goal but his afternoon suffered a painful end when he was stretched off injured on the stroke of half-time.
Iran seemed content to play for one point. So Mexico took all three.
Mexico broke through Iran's defense late in the second half, scoring twice in the final 15 minutes for a 3-1 victory in the teams' Group D opener Sunday.
Netherlands vs Serbia
Arjen Robben powered the Netherlands to a vital 1-0 win over Serbia and Montenegro in their first World Cup Group C game here Sunday.
With Argentina beating the Ivory Coast 2-1 on Saturday, this was a must-win match for the Dutch in the tournament's "group of death", and an irrepressible Robben - aided by a strong midfield showing by Mark van Bommel and Phillip Cocu - ensured just that.
Argentina kept the Elephants from dancing in their World Cup debut.
Hernan Crespo and Javier Saviola took advantage of some shaky defence to score first-half goals, leading Argentina over Ivory Coast 2-1 Saturday in the first game of what many think is the toughest group at the World Cup.
Trinidad and Tobago vs Sweden
Shaka Hislop, Dwight Yorke and Trinidad and Tobago did more than just show up at the World Cup. Despite playing nearly the entire second half with 10 men, the Soca Warriors played like they belong on soccer's biggest stage, earning a 0-0 draw with Sweden in Group B at the World Cup.
England got the win, and didn't need to score a goal.
Paraguay captain Carlos Gamarra headed in an own-goal in the third minute Saturday to give England a 1-0 win over the South Americans in their Group B opener.
Ecuador began their World Cup campaign with a precious 2-0 win over Group A rivals Poland on Saturday.
Germany responded to the pressure as the World Cup's host nation with a 4-2 victory over Costa Rica in the tournament opener on Friday, a performance that could inspire the team the rest of the way.