World Cup 2006 Group Stage Review - Phase One - Part One
All 32 teams have played one match each as the World Cup has begun in explosive fashion, but are things going according to plan for the favourites or are the underdogs having a say in proceedings? This is a short round-up of Groups A to D, of the results as they stand after one match. Group A 1. Germany 3pts, 2. Ecuador 3pts, 3. Costa Rica 0pts, 4. Poland, 0pts Germany kicked off the tournament in style with an entertaining 4-2 win against Costa Rica at odds of 1/4.
Full back Phillip Lahm scored a cracking goal after six minutes to break the deadlock but veteran Paulo Wanchope levelled on 12. Miroslav Klose netted twice on 17 and 61 before Wanchope hauled his side back into the game 3-2 down. Torsten Frings ensured victory for the host nation three minutes from time. Poland were the victims of a shock result as Ecuador won at odds of 10/3. The least rated of all the South American sides took the lead through Tenorio after 24 minutes before former Southampton striker Augustin Delgado scored a second with 10 minutes remaining.
Group B 1. England 3pts, 2. Sweden 1pt, 3. Trinidad & Tobago 1pt, 4. Paraguay 0pts England struggled in the heat against Paraguay but picked up three vital points as they beat their South American opponents 1-0. Carlos Gamarra headed in David Beckham’s free kick into his own net after three minutes as England clung on to a win at odds of 8/13. Sweden were expected to brush aside an unfancied Trinidad & Tobago side and the Caribbean side even had a man sent off early in the second half. But Leo Beenhakker’s side showed tremendous spirit and held firm for a goalless draw at 7/2. Group C 1. Argentina 3pts, 2.
Holland 3pts, 3. Ivory Coast 0pts, 4. Serbia & Montenegro 0pts The two favourites had their own way in the opening round of fixtures as both Argentina and Holland beat their opponents at odds on. Two Chelsea goalscorers were on target as 4/7 Argentina showed genuine class to defeat a dangerous looking Ivory Coast. Hernan Crespo and Javier Saviola scored the decisive goals before Didier Drogba netted a consolation eight minutes from the end. Holland, marginally better at 4/6, were made to sweat against Serbia & Montenegro as Arjen Robben’s goal after 18 minutes was all that separated the sides. Group D 1. Mexico 3pts, 2. Portugal 3pts, 3. Angola 0pts, 4.
Iran 0pts Both Mexico and Portugal faced arguably weaker opponents in the first round of matches and duly obliged at odds on. Omar Bravo opened the scoring for Mexico after 28 minutes but Iran levelled through Yahya Golomohammadi on 36. With the match looking to finish all square Bravo netted a second on 76 and Zinha secured an 8/13 win three minutes later. In one of the World Cup’s more political matches, Portugal edged past Angola by a single goal. Firm 1/2 favourites before kick-off, Portugal took the lead through talismanic striker Pauleta after four minutes but couldn’t find any more as they managed to take all three points.