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FIFA World Cup 2010: Days 7 and 8

Algeria shocked England by holding them to a 0-0 drawAlgeria shocked England by holding them to a 0-0 drawArgentina put up a huge win on Day 7 of the FIFA World Cup 2010, but the big story as the week closed was the shocking failure of some European soccer superpowers. France and Germany each suffered upset losses, while England played to a draw against huge underdog Algeria. England is still looking for their first win in this dramatic tournament.

Argentina opened Day 7 with a 4-1 shellacking of South Korea. Gonzalo Higuain played hero for the Argentineans, draining a hat trick that has all but guaranteed his side a spot in the next round. Superstar Lionel Messi was in the mix for Argentina, making key plays on three of his team’s goals.

It’s been an auspicious start for Diego Maradona, who is coaching Argentina, but is best remembered as the star player who led his country to a World Cup Championship in 1986.

Nigeria got out to an early lead against Greece, but couldn’t sustain their momentum after midfielder Sani Kaita was sent off with a red card. Greece rallied to come back with a 2-1 win, the first comeback victory of this year’s tournament.

The final game of the day was shocking, as France fell 2-0 to Mexico. The loss puts the winless French on the brink of elimination. Javier Hernandez opened the scoring in the 64th minute, and teammate Cuauhtemoc Blanco scored the final dagger on a penalty kick in the 79th minute. The Mexicans need only a draw in their next game to advance to the round of 16.

The next day opened with another Euro soccer powerhouse falling in an upset when Germany lost 1-0 to Serbia. Lukas Podolski played the goat for the Germans, missing an opportunity to tie the game on a penalty kick in the 60th minute. Milan Jovanovic scored the Serbian goal, handing Germany its first defeat in World Cup group play since 1986.

The U.S.A. kept their hopes of advancing alive with a gutsy second half comeback that earned them a 2-2 draw with Slovenia. A third American goal in the 86th minute was disallowed for mysterious reasons, stirring up some controversy. Landon Donovan and Michael Bradley scored the U.S. goals, while Valter Birsa and Zlatan Ljubijankic had the Slovenian markers.

And in the day’s final game, a draw made for the closest thing to an upset that a 0-0 score can yield when Algeria held England off the board for full time. Manchester United star, Wayne Rooney, turned in another disappointing game, getting only three touches in the box, way down from the eight per game he manages in the Premiership.

It was a brutal way to end the week for football-crazy countries like Germany, France, and England. The Germans still have a good shot to advance, but the French and English have their backs against the wall in the FIFA World Cup 2010. Mexico and Argentina, on the other hand, have played some fine soccer so far, and look good to move on.

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Last modified on Tuesday, 12 April 2011 14:34

Happy is a regular contributor to RosebudMag.com and has written for various other publications, including Black Belt, Inside Hockey, and FoxSports.com. He transitioned to life as a writer following a decade-long career as a touring musician. He lives with his son in Vancouver, British Columbia

Website: www.rosebudmag.com/hkreter

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