Australia through to next round of World Cup

23rd June 2006, Comments 0 comments

Ghana line-up Brazil match with historic win23 June 2006

Ghana line-up Brazil match with historic win
23 June 2006

BERLIN - Ghana and Australia, two of the more unfancied sides on show in Germany, advanced to the last 16 on Thursday, easing through as runners-up in their respective groups.

Ghana beat the United States 2-1 in Nuremburg to clinch second spot in Group E while a late goal from Harry Kewell secured a 2-2 draw for Australia with Croatia in a pulsating game in Stuttgart and runners-up spot in Group F.

Ghana will now meet Group F winners Brazil while Australia will take on Group E winners Italy.

Ghana captain Stephen Appiah hailed Africa's Black Stars as the 'Brazilians of Africa' after they set up a second-round tie against Ronaldinho and co.

Appiah's penalty separated Ghana and the US, sending them through at the expense of the Czech Republic, who lost to Italy.

Proud Ghana coach Ratomir Dujkovic said: "Brazil are the best side in the world and it will be fantastic for Ghana to face them in the last 16.

"We've made it and we are delighted. It was a very important match and we had one eye on the other game throughout the 90 minutes."

After the first set of matches in Group E the Czech Republic looked the favourites to follow Italy, who had beaten Ghana, to the next stage.

But the Czechs lost key man Jan Koller through injury and then had players sent off in defeats to Ghana and Italy. Thursday it was the turn of Jan Polak to lose his head.

He was shown his second yellow card for clattering into the back of Italy playmaker Francesco Totti in stoppage time at the end of the first half when there was no danger whatsoever.

"Playing with 10 men was just too difficult today," said Czech coach Karel Bruckner. "We lost a lot of players before the game and had suspensions which hurt us in this tournament."

Bruckner revealed he had warned his players "in written form" before the Czech Republic's first World Cup since 1990, to avoid being sent off, but to no avail.

Marco Materazzi was the Italian hero. On for the injured Alessandro Nesta on 17 minutes, he climbed above the Czech defence to power a header down and past Petr Cech from a 26th-minute Francesco Totti corner.

Filippo Inzaghi, who came on after an hour for his 50th cap, added the second late-on, rounding Cech for his 22nd international goal.

Ghana's victory came through goals from Haminu Dramani and Appiah either side of Clint Dempsey's strike. There were wild celebrations on the final whistle but for Michael Essien it was not all smiles. He picked up a booking and will miss the match against Brazil.

The South Americans finished their group matches with a 4-1 win over Japan, where Ronaldo gave his critics the perfect answer with two goals to equal the World Cup record of 14 goals of German Gerd Mueller.

Japan had opened the scoring against the run of play through Keiji Tamada in the 34th minute but Ronaldo headed the equaliser in first- half injury time.

Juninho hammered home Brazil's second goal from long range on 53 minutes, Gilberto made it 3-1 in the 59th minute and Ronaldo completed the win nine minutes from time after a delightful one-two with Juan.

"I've developed well and got better with each match," Ronaldo said. "I've had difficult times, but you simply have to keep on working."

In Stuttgart, Darijo Srna smashed Croatia ahead on two minutes with a free-kick with his side's first goal of the tournament but Craig Moore equalised from the spot for Australia after 38 minutes following a handball by Stjepan Tomas.

A terrible mistake from goalkeeper Zeljko Kalac, preferred to Mark Schwarzer by coach Guus Hiddink, allowed Niko Kovac to restore Croatia's lead on 56 minutes before Kewell secured Australia's place in round two with the late equaliser.

There was still time for three players, two for Croatia and one for Australia, to be sent off. But Josip Simunic needed to be given three yellow cards before being red-carded by Graham Poll, who had embarrassingly forgotten the second of the bookings.

"We threw on all the forwards to get a goal," Australia striker Mark Viduka said. "And thank God Harry was in the right place at the right time, and a beautiful goal.

"We had a bit of luck on our side but I think we earned it today."


Subject: German news

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