Germany, Ecuador, England clinch slots in final 16
In a Group A match, Ecuador beat Costa Rica 3-0 to pick up its second win of the first round. At six points apiece, the host nation Germany, which had won its second match a day earlier, and Ecuador will advance to the next round from the group, and Costa Rica and Poland, with no points, will go home. The winner of the group will be determined Tuesday night when Germany and Ecuador square off.
England was the first team in Group B to reach the next round, defeating Trinidad and Tobago 2-0. The injured striker Wayne Rooney played 32 minutes in the second half of the game, just seven weeks after breaking his foot.
Sweden bested Paraguay 1-0 on a last-minute goal by Freddie Ljungberg, and has four points for second place in Group B. Paraguay has been eliminated; Sweden plays England on Wednesday in its bid to advance. Neither is that match meaningless for England; depending on the results of Germany’s game and the England-Sweden match, England could avoid Germany as its next opponent.
Ecuador, the surprise team of the tournament so far, dominated its match with Costa Rica. In the eighth minute, Carlos Tenorio drew first blood with a header off a perfect cross by Luis Valencia, and Ecuador never looked back.
Agustin Delgado added a second tally in the 54th minute from the right corner of the penalty box and Ivan Kaviedes scored the final marker on a volley kick. Ecuador, which advanced to the knockout stage for the first time, has yet to allow a goal in the tournament.
In the day’s first Group B contest, England got second-half goals from Peter Crouch, who had a string of misses earlier in the game, and Steve Gerrard, who blasted a drive off his left foot in injury time.
England’s second-half substitutes were key: Rooney’s presence seemed to energize the team, and though he didn’t score, he helped create a chance for Frank Lampard in the 77th minute. Another sub, the speedy youngster Aaron Lennon, wreaked havoc among Trinidad’s defenders.
In the final match of the day, Sweden finally got its first goal of this World Cup on a header by Ljungberg in the 88th minute, off a headed cross from Marcus Allback. After failing to score against Trinidad and Tobago’s goalkeeper Shaka Hislop, it appeared as though the Swedes had run into another hot goalkeeper in Aldo Bobadilla. The Paraguayan was sensational in stopping several shots, including Kim Kallstrom’s kick from 25 yards away early in the match and Henrik Larsson’s free kick in the 54th minute.
Still, it wasn’t meant to be for Paraguay, which is heading home after losing two 1-0 games. Its final game is against Trinidad and Tobago on Wednesday.
by Yoo Jee-ho