Brazil and Mexico through to Confed Cup semis
23 June 2005, COLOGNE - Brazil will meet hosts Germany in the semi-finals of the Confederations Cup after playing out an entertaining 2-2 draw with Japan on Wednesday in their final group game in Cologne.
23 June 2005
COLOGNE - Brazil will meet hosts Germany in the semi-finals of the Confederations Cup after playing out an entertaining 2-2 draw with Japan on Wednesday in their final group game in Cologne.
The result leaves both sides tied for second in Group B on four points but the world champions progress to meet Juergen Klinsmann's side in Nuremberg on Saturday thanks to a superior goal difference.
Mexico finish top of the table with seven points thanks to a goalless draw against Greece in the night's other match and now meet Argentina on Sunday in Hanover for a place in the final.
In the 10th minute the five-time world champions took the lead after Ronaldinho received the ball in his own half, ran half the length of the field, and pushed the ball to his left from where Robinho drilled the ball past Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi.
Brazil could have gone further ahead six minutes later, but Kaka's shot hit the upright and Ronaldinho's shot from the rebound was brilliantly saved by Kawaguchi.
Midway through the half it was Japan's turn to be denied by the woodwork as Takahashi Fukunishi's glancing header came back off the crossbar.
They did level matters on 27 minutes, however, when Shunsuke Nakamura beat Marcos with a well-struck shot from outside the area.
The lead did not last very long though as Robinho and Ronaldinho combined again in the 32nd minute, with the Santos youngster pushing the ball across the area and finding Ronaldinho, whose deft shot with the outside of his foot beat Kawaguchi.
Japan were finally rewarded for their efforts two minutes from time when substitute Masashi Oguro was in place to score from the rebound after Nakamura had slammed a free kick against the post.
Brazilian coach, Carlos Alberto Parreira, said after the match that the South Americans had achieved both goals that they had set themselves ahead of the tournament.
"We wanted to test new players and see how they could cope at this level and we wanted to reach the semi-final stage. We did both and I am happy with that.
"Now we want to win the competition, even though I know playing against the hosts, Germany, in the semi-final is not an easy thing," he said.
For his part, Mexican coach Ricardo La Volpe was happy with the way things finished in the group. "I'm happy to be playing against Argentina and not against Germany with 60,000 fans supporting them," he confided after the match.
The European champions Greece failed to score a goal in the tournament, and haven't struck the back of the net since their March 3 World Cup qualifier against Albania.
*quote1*"We don't have to look around too long to see the problem. If you don't score goals, you can't win," Greek coach Otto Rehhagel said.
The Greeks did however come close early and late against the Mexicans, who were repeatedly rescued by man of the match goalkeeper Oswaldo Sanchez.
The Greeks hit the bar twice, in the seventh and 82nd minute, and watched in horror as Sanchez saved remarkably from his knees after the former.
Obviously happy with the draw as it stood, Mexico sat back looking for opportunities on the counterattack and only truly seemed engaged in the last 15 minutes of the match.
In the 78th minute, Gonzalo Pineda blazed over for the Mexicans after a cross was cleared to him all alone 15 yards out. And, just two minutes later, Alberto Medina's volleyed goal was called back incorrectly for offside.
But, the last push of the match fell to the more hungry Greeks, with Charisteas forcing the best from Sanchez in second half injury time after a good wall pass from Dimitrious Papadopoulos.
Subject: German news