Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 27th 2014 Contents A70
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Friday, June 27, 2014
WORLD CUP GLANCE
RECIFE---With Thomas Mueller
in a perfect position to pounce
on a rebound, American cheers
for yet another spectacular Tim
Howard save didn t last long.
The US goalkeeper was unable
to cut down the angle after diving
to punch away a deflected ball,
and Mueller did what he does so
well---calmly drive a first-time
shot inside the far post for his
ninth goal in nine career World
Cup games, giving Germany a 1-
"I saw the ball ricochet toward
me, away from the goal keeper,"
Mueller said, a bandage and
stitches over his right eye from a
collision in his previous match.
"I just focused on the ball and
the far post, and I hit the ball the
way I thought I would hit it, and
that s it."
That s it, indeed. Germany wins
The 24-year-old Mueller isn t
flashy, and didn t generate the
pre-tournament talk of Brazil s
Neymar or Portugal s Cristiano
Ronaldo. But the Bayern Munich
star is tied with Neymar with four
goals in Brazil after scoring a tour-
nament-high five in South Africa.
Ronaldo, meanwhile, is going
home, as have other high-profile
stars such as England s Wayne
Rooney and Italy s Mario Balotel-
li. Mueller opened Germany s
campaign in Brazil with a hat
trick that powered his side to a
stunning 4-0 demolition of Por-
tugal. The result wound up help-
ing the United States, which fin-
ished Group G play tied with
Portugal on points for second,
but with a better goal difference
after holding the Germans to only
Mueller s searing right-footed,
"Every nation in the world
would love to have Thomas
Mueller on their team. That s
without question," US coach Jur-
gen Klinsmann said.
Though failing to score in Ger-
many s 2-2 draw with Ghana,
Mueller didn t spare his body in
an effort to find a match winner.
Sprinting into the penalty area
for a long ball as time was run-
ning out, he was involved in a
hard collision which left blood
all over his face.
He needed five stitches to sew
up the damage. During the past
week, he said he doubted he d
be pain-free against the US, but
should be well enough to play
Mueller certainly looked like
his old self on Thursday, lifting
Germany to the top of its group
ahead of the knockout stage with
his 21st goal in 51 international
Germany s Mats Hummels
said Mueller s qualities as a team-
mate don t stop at his technical
"He s very motivated and
knows how to motivate others.
Outside the pitch he s a very
funny guy," Hummels said.
With seemingly numerous
World Cup games in his future,
Mueller is now six goals shy of
the all-time World Cup record,
held by his veteran teammate
Miroslav Klose and former Brazil
On his current form, there s
every reason to think Mueller
will add to that tally in Brazil.
"Right now he is very difficult
for any opponent to figure out
and it s difficult to stand against
him because he s a very smart
player and he finds always a way
to go into the area," Germany
coach Joachim Loew said.
"He s been in great shape for
weeks, and you have the impres-
sion it s so easy for him."
Yet Howard, whose dive came
up short, said Mueller s shot was
by no means routine.
"Credit to Mueller. Keeping
that shot hard and low, first time,
is very, very difficult. He s done
it before, but that s the type of
player he is," Howard said. "I
thought I read it well, but it was
a great finish."
goal lifts Germany
Germany's Per Mertesacker (17) hugs his teammate Mesut Ozil
after Thomas Mueller scored their first goal during the group G
World Cup soccer match between the USA and Germany at the
Arena Pernambuco in Recife, Brazil, yesterday AP PHOTO
USA 0 vs Germany 1 (Thomas Muller 55)
Portugal 2 (John Boyce 30 o.g. Cristiano Ronaldo 80)
vs Ghana 1` (Asamoah Gyan 57)
Korea 0 vs Belgium 1 (Jan Vertonghan 78)
Algeria 1 (Islam Slimani 60) vs Russia 1 (Aleksandr
How they finished
Germany, USA, Belgium, Algeria advance
Today is a rest day at the World Cup which will
resume tomorrow with two matches
"A hug to Luis, who will rise again as he always has
done, and especially to his family, as families al-
ways suffer the most in these times. Keep feeling
proud of him, he deserves it."
Diego Lugano, offering consolation to his
Uruguay teammate Luis Saurez
SAO PAULO---Reduced to ten men
for over half the match, Belgium
still beat South Korea 1-0 yesterday
to finish atop of Group H and elim-
inate the last Asian team from the
With a late goal yet again, Belgium
made the difference in the 78th
minute when defender Jan Ver-
tonghen followed up a shot from
teenage striker Divock Origi and
tapped in the rebound past goal-
keeper Kim Seung-gyu.
"We knew all games were going
to be tough," said Belgium coach
Marc Wilmots. "But even with ten
men, we still pushed forward. These
guys are really hungry."
After three narrow victories and
precious little beautiful play, Belgium
will now play the United States in
Salvador on Tuesday. And along with
Iran, Japan and Australia, South Korea
departed as the last team from the
Asian federation, all in the first round.
Algeria finished second in the
group after a 1-1 draw with Russia---
a result that meant South Korea
needed a four-goal win to advance.
While that never looked likely,
South Korea did not go without a
strong fight, landing the ball on Bel-
gium s crossbar on the hour-mark
and testing standout goalie Thibaut
Courtois with several shots afterward.
Yet even with a man up, the Koreans
could never pressure Belgium enough
to find an opening and paid the price
on a counterattack.
Belgium promised to play with
flair in this tournament but is proving
that it s still a master at grinding out
results. Having a goalie like Courtois
does make it easier, especially as its
defense was missing injured starters
Vincent Kompany and Thomas Ver-
maelen. But the Belgians also proved
they sorely lacked the creative skills
of Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard,
who were on the bench from the
On the hour mark, South Korea
came closest to scoring when Son
Heung-min saw a cross float right
onto the crossbar beyond the reach
Belgium fielded four World Cup
newcomers, but was reduced to three
in the 45th minute when Steven
Defour planted his studs, leg out-
stretched, into the shin of Kim Shin-
wook. Australian referee Benjamin
Williams didn t hesitate to pull out
the red card.
Earlier, the South Koreans almost
scored around the half-hour mark.
First, a long-distance drive from Ki
Sung-yeung forced Courtois into a
great diving save and, one minute
later, Defour kicked a ball off the line
in another goalmouth scramble.
Mertens could have lifted the pres-
sure off Belgium in the 25th minute
he was left wide open eight meters
out. He skied the ball over, imme-
diately opening his mouth in disbelief
at having missed such a chance.
In the second half, South Korea
brought on a second full striker in
Lee Keun-ho for even more pres-
The Asians created a flurry of
chances early in the second half, but
either Courtois showed his class or
the South Koreans lacked any pre-
Late winner keeps Belgium on top
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