Thursday 19th August
Japan 0 - 0 South Korea
Half time: 0 - 0
The 19th game of the tournament saw an all Asian clash with both sides looking to avoid finishing bottom of group A. The first half started with Japan having two decent chances, in what was an evenly matched opening, fall to Tomonari Kuroda but on both occasions he had his shots tipped wide by Won Kim.
Japan, starting the game fourth in the group a point ahead of Korea, looked the more attacking of the two sides with Kuroda and Sasaki looking particularly dangerous. The South Koreans defended admirably and even created a chance or two themselves, both falling to Kyung Ho Kim, but he scooped both chances over the crossbar.
Japan pressed late on and Sasaki found himself with a half chance right on the stroke of half time but he couldn’t find the target with a powerfully struck effort. The main problem for Japan in the first half was they were unable to get their main striker Kento Kato into the game, but it looked clear from the outset of the second half that the coach had given them the message to do just that.
Within just a few minutes Japan had cleverly worked the ball out to Kato on the wing but strong Korean defending prevented him from getting a clear sight of goal. This was the story of the second half and the Koreans began to grow more and more into the game as Ho Kim wasted a couple of decent chances to take the lead.
Despite Korea reaching their foul limit midway through the half Japan were unable to take advantage and win another foul and the game petered out to a 0-0 draw. This result means that Japan finished fourth in the group and South Korean fifth.
Naoya Abe (GK), Akihito Tanaka, Tomonari Kuroda, Hiroshi Ochiai, Yasuhiro Sasaki, Kento Kato, Kenro Mihara, Shuichi Yamaguchi, Hajime Teranishi, Daisuke Sato (GK)
Sang Won Kim (GK), Yeong Jun Jang, Yun Cheol Shin, Seung Woo Park, Meong Su Park, Yong Kyun Oh, Ji Young Ha, Chang Hyun Kwak, Kyung Ho Kim, Hyun Chul Shin (GK)
Match Officials: Mariano Travaglino, Paul Leversuch, James Adcock, Francois Carcouet
China 4 - 1 Greece
Half time: 1 - 1
This was a crucial game for China who needed to beat the Greeks by three goals to progress to the semi-finals, at the expense of France, on goal difference. The Greek side who were yet to gain their first point or even score in the group, were looking to restore some pride, and were cheered on by a vary noisy French team watching in the stand.
Right from the outset China pushed three men forward in aid to grab the goals that they needed to get through. With brilliant dribbling from Bin Wang and Fa Zheng it looked like that China could pull the result off.
However, Greece had other ideas and on their first attack of the game Dimos Zacharos broke through the Chinese defence before firing high in to the top corner of Chu Niu’s net, to rapturous applause from the French squad.
As the half went on it looked like Greece were going to going in at half time 1-0 up but with just a minute left Fa Zheng ran through and fired under the keeper.
China came out all guns blazing in the second half and within five minutes were 3-1 up after two penalties from Zhou Bin Wang, both penalties given for fouls inside the Greece penalty area. Needing just one more goal to achieve the goal difference needed China saw Ampatzis save another penalty and pull of a couple decent saves from Feng Wang.
The goal finally came midway through the half with Bin Wang scoring a fine individual strike to claim his hat-trick and the three goal difference.
Greece didn’t really have an answer and to the delight of the Chinese squad the final whistle blew with the score 4-1 to China, seeing them safely through to the semi-finals.
Hua Chu Xu (GK), Shan Yong Chen, Li Jing Zhang, Tang Bao Gao, Tian Qi Gao, Zhou Bin Wang, Wen Fa Zheng, Ya Feng Wang, Lei Niu (GK)
Zhou Bin Wang (3), Wen Fa Zeng
Zhou Bin Wang, Tang Bao Gao
Panagiotis Stefanidis (GK), Stefanos Efremidis, Charalampos Tokatlidis, Georgios Tokatlidis, Theodoros Siotas, Dimos Zacharos, Dimitrios Feimoglou, Efstratios Chatziapostolidis, Georgios Ampatzis (GK)
Match Officials: Wellington Souza, Craig Grundy, Germinal Lubrano, Niels Haupt
Argentina 0 - 0 Brazil
Half time: 0 - 0
With Brazil already confirmed as group winners and no chance for Argentina to progress to the semi-finals, this game was all about who had the right for South American bragging rights for the future.
Labelled as a “Grudge Match” both teams came out looking display the good footballing game that they possessed but due to the continuous downpour the players were unable to get a real foothold in the game.
With Brazilian superstar Ricardo Alves an unused substitute in the game, Argentina only had to contend with Jeferson Goncalves. A solid defensive display from Eduardo Diaz ensured that his chances were limited and the rain prevented any quick breaks Goncalves looked to make.
The biggest chances that either side had in the first half came in the form of penalties. Both sides reached the foul limit midway through the first half and the penalties followed soon after. Joao Silva had his penalty saved and both Argentine’s Silvio Velo and Ivan Figueroa missed theirs.
The second half began as the first half ended as neither side could create a real gilt edged chance, relying on penalty chances in an attempt to grab the lead.
There were two half chances, one for either side, early on as Gustavo Maidana had a half chance snapshot flash wide of the Brazilian goal. Brazil’s chance came when Joao Silva fired into the side netting from the tightest of angles.
The penalties all came within the last five minutes of the game and all to Argentina. However, Antonio Carvalho, the Brazilian sub keeper, saved well from both Velo and Diego Cerega as the contest ended in a drab and rather wet 0-0.
The result means that Brazil top the group and Argentina finish in fourth place.
Dario Lencina (GK), Angel Deldo, Eduardo Diaz, Silvio Velo, Diego Cerega, Ivan Figueroa, Lucas Rodriguez, Oscar Asiar, Gustavo Maidana, Ernesto Juani (GK)
Fabio Vasconcelos (GK), Scharles Santos, Damiao Souza, Marcos Felipe, Jeferson Goncalves, Sandro Soares, Joao Silva, Ricardo Alves, Severino Silva, Antonio Carvalho (GK)
Match Officials: Alexandros Karaisif, Iguchi Kenji, David Bryant, Mariano Tavaglino
England 1 - 0 Colombia
Half time: 1 - 0
England went into this game knowing that they needed just a point against Columbia to seem them into Saturday’s semi-final against Brazil. Columbia needed the win to progress ahead of England to the semi-finals.
England looked really bright from the start, especially Jonathan Gribbin, who came in for the suspended Keryn Seal. Within the first five minutes “Gribbo” had stung the palms of Aristizabal on more than one occasion. The Everton forward continued to cause problems for the Columbian defence as they looked unable to handle his pace and strength.
Columbia’s main man Juan “Pablo” Parra, couldn’t get his usual hold on the game thanks to a brilliant defensive performance from England skipper David Clarke. As the match wore on Parra was given the room to fire in a couple of testing shots but it was nothing Skyers in the England net couldn’t deal with. With just two minutes to go Gribbin put pressure on the Columbian defence and caused a mix up between the defence and the keeper, allowing himself the chance to steal in and stab the ball into the back of the net.
Lopez almost equalised just before half time with a long free kick but Skyers again excelled pulling off a one handed save to ensure the game went in 1-0 at half time. Columbia looked to come out fast, in the second half, but again a solid defence gave little away to them. With England sitting back the best chance to score came on the counter attack and Gribbin again looked threatening with two one on one chances, just firing wide on both occasions.
Columbia’s last chance came with two minutes left on the clock as Parra drove forward again, this time his shot was comfortably saved by Skyers and the game ended 1-0 England.
The result confirmed England’s semi-final date with Brazil and Columbia finishing third to play France.
Lewis Skyers (GK), Simon Hill, Will Norman, Keryn Seal, Robin Williams, Dan English, David Clarke, Jonathan Heenan, Jonathan Gribbin, Dan James (GK)
William Aristizabal (GK), Freddy Lopez, Sebastian Sarate, Deivy Mendoza, Carlos Ortiz, Jhon Hernandez, Sergio Beserra, Juan Parra, Jadir Bello, Miguel Munoz (GK)
Match Officials: Francois Carcouet, Niels Haupt, Craig Grundy, David Bryant