Togo woke up the fans with a goal from Mohamed Kader after 30’. The forward received the ball on his right thigh, swivelled between two South Korean defenders and shot hard to the right of the stranded Lee Woon-Jae. Togo 1 – Republic of Korea 0.
After 52’, the Togolese Abalo was sent off for getting a second yellow and the draw came from the resulting free kick, Chun Soo Lee swerving the ball over the defensive wall. 1-1.
Togo, with ten men, continued to take the game to the Koreans but always missing that final, killer touch, as we have seen with other African teams in this World Cup, namely Angola, Ghana and Ivory Coast. However it was the Republic of Korea who scored the second and final goal in this match after 71’ through Junh Hwan Ahn.
In the other Group G game, France played Switzerland in a careful and tactical game in which neither side took risks. An excellent game for insomniacs. 0-0.
Switzerland had a dangerous free kick on 23’ but Frei drove the ball against the post after Barnetta floated the ball into the box and after 30’, the French forward Ribery blasted over. However during the first half, France’s game began to grow, with Zidane and Henry combining more and more, promising something for the second half.
Unfortunately this did not arise. The game continued to be a study in boredom, although both teams had their chances. France continues without scoring in a Finals after winning the trophy in 1998, and now we see why. Les Bleues are not the force of yesteryear.
Next games: 18th: France-Rep.Korea; 19th – Togo vs Switzerland; 23rd – Togo vs France and Switzerland vs. Rep. Korea
Brazil enters the fray
Kaka on 43’ broke the ice that the Croatians were piling around the Brazilian team, suffocating each and any attempt to construct play. Some flashes of Ronaldinho, Ronaldo was blown completely out of the first half. However, the Brazilian defence was solid and although Croatia used the left flank well, Brazil was equal to the threat and was the team that launched more attacks – and scored. At half time, Brazil 1 Croatia 0.
The second half was divided into waves, with both teams having opportunities. Croatia began with shots by Prso and Klasnic, defended by Dida. Brazil appeared, with Ronaldo on 56’ (shot) and Ronaldinho on 61’ (header), both players being marked out of the game by 4 Croatian players. Croatia grew again, obliging Juan to save his team on 67’ and Srna shot over at 67’. Robinho’s substitution of Ronaldo, while long expected, did not alter things for the Brazilian attack.
Croatia marked the men but Brazil scored the goal. Three points for Brazil. It is inconceivable that these two teams will not pass on to the next round.
Classification Group F
Australia (3 goals scored, 1 against) 3 points; Brazil (1-0) 1; Croatia (0-1) 1; Japan (1-3) 0
18th: Brazil vs Australia; Croatia vs. Japan; 22nd Japan vs Brazil e Croatia vs Australia