Czech Republic beats USA, Italy defeats Ghana
13 June 2006, BERLIN - The Czech Republic swept aside the USA with a 3-0 win in the most impressive victory of the day, but most World Cup drama Monday came in Australia's 3-1 win over Japan. Gus Hiddink's men were 1-0 down with 10 minutes remaining but ran out 3-1 winners.
13 June 2006
BERLIN - The Czech Republic swept aside the USA with a 3-0 win in the most impressive victory of the day, but most World Cup drama Monday came in Australia's 3-1 win over Japan. Gus Hiddink's men were 1-0 down with 10 minutes remaining but ran out 3-1 winners.
In the third game, Italy ground out a hard-fought 2-0 win over Ghana to move second in Group E behind the Czechs. They had to substitute Francesco Totti on the hour after an ugly challenge by Ghana's John Paintsil, with the points already in the bag thanks to Andrea Pirlo's long-range shot.
Another player who had to be taken off was Czech Republic's Jan Koller. He has a strained hamstring and will struggle to play any further part in the tournament.
Koller scored after just five minutes in the Czechs' winner over the USA, but Arsenal new boy Tomas Rosicky was the star of the show, scoring the second with a candidate for goal of the tournament and adding another after good work from Pavel Nedved.
Despite the impressive performance, the former Borussia Dortmund player who signed for Arsenal ahead of the tournament claimed the Czechs had taken a while to get into their stride.
Rosicky said: "The whole side took a while to warm up today. I took a while to get into the game. I think we won because we took our chances when they came along."
The midfielder admitted that the shine had been taken off the victory by the injury to Koller. He said: "It will be a problem for us if he is out. It was a high price to pay for the victory. We will be weaker if he cannot play against Ghana."
Coach Karel Bruckner added: "Unfortunately it is a very serious injury but I am very proud of my players we were very disciplined, very good with out build-up play and we defended very well."
US captain Claudio Reyna refused to be too despondent after the defeat. He said: "In the first half we played well and we hit the post but they scored twice. We were really put on the back foot with their first goal and in the second half we needed more width and we just couldn't could get it.
"But we have another game right away. We just need to put the result behind us. Italy will be a tough match but I think maybe we have played the best team in the group.
"The Italy match is a great opportunity to bounce back. We showed a bit of inexperience today and we were hesitant at times and there is no excuse for that but there is still a lot to play for."
Still with lots to play for are the Australians, although it didn't look that way after 84 minutes of their opening Group F match against Japan.
Shunsuke Nakamura had fooled Australia goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer with a speculative effort on 25 minutes and Japan looked like hanging on as Australia's attacks petered out in the suffocating heat.
But substitute Tim Cahill scored twice in the last six minutes to inspire Australia to a sensational 3-1 win over Japan in their opening World Cup Group F match on Monday. John Aloisi, another second half substitute, made it 3-1 in the last minute as the Japanese defence crumbled.
"It's fantastic. It's a dream to become the first player to score two goals for Australia in the World Cup," Cahill said, who first goal was Australia's first ever in a World Cup Finals. The other Group F opener was set for Tuesday between Brazil and Croatia.
In Monday's third game Italy saw off Ghana with goals from Andrea Pirlo and Vincenzo Iaquinta. Italy's second coming after Sammy Kuffour under-hit a back pass to his keeper allowing the Iaquinta to steal in and beat Richard Kingston.
"We knew they would be strong opponents," Italian coach Marcello Lippi said. "But it was best possible start for us. We were suuperior to them in what was an eventful match."
But he added: "We had to suffer" - a remark that will offer some satisfaction to Ghana's Serbian coach of nearly two years Ratomir Dujkovic. "Every team that plays Ghana must suffer in order to win," he had said before his side's tournament debut.
The Italian defence was stretched to frustrate some imaginitive Ghanaian buildups, one of which saw Gyan Asamoah go headlong inside the penalty area between two defenders to loud appeals.
Brazilian referee Carlos Simon emphatically waved play on - producing howls of disapproval from the colourful, drum-banging scattering of Ghanaian fans.
Subject: German news