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World Cup Daily: Ghana and Nigeria lead African resurgence

| 23.06.2014

Algeria and Ghana impressed over the weekend while Germany stumbled and Portugal pretty much crashed in an acca-busting two days of World Cup action. 

In The Headlines

While England’s exit may have been confirmed following Italy’s abject 1-0 loss to Costa Rica, the weekend offered some solace to Three Lions fans as first Germany and then Portugal struggled in Brazil.

Lionel Messi may have helped Argentina to a 1-0 win over Iran but the true highlight of Saturday came with Ghana who were oh-so-close to going 3-1 up against Germany, only for Die Mannschaft to head up the other end and equalise with a record-breaking strike from Miroslav Klose.

Scoring with a trademark tap-in, the 36-year-old nevertheless looked a little creaky in attempting his familiar somersault celebration – here are a collection of his best goals

Nigeria continued the great weekend for African football with a 1-0 win over Bosnia-Herzegovina in a controversial contest that featured a wrongly disallowed Edin Dzeko goal and images showing the referee celebrating at the final whistle.The Bosnians could be followed home by Russia and Portugal.

Fabio Capello’s World Cup woes have continued with Russia, who lost 1-0 to Belgium, while a late Portugal equaliser may have helped avoid an immediate exit, but their poor goal difference suggests they are heading out, which is fine for Cristiano Ronaldo, who described Portugal as “average”.

The England Camp

The Three Lions temporary status at the World Cup, with England set to head home after Tuesday’s dead rubber contest against Costa Rica, has prompted lots of press conferences involving manager Roy Hodgson and several players saying the same things over and over again.

Pundits on BBC and ITV alike have also been singing from the same hymn sheet with repeated analysis and constant reminders of how this has been England’s worst World Cup since the 1950s.

In news that is shocking to no one Alex Oxlaide-Chamberlain has been ruled out of the final fixture, while Steven Gerrard has called on Harry Redknapp to turn snitch on those players whom he claims once tried to actively avoid playing for England.

Injury List

Germany’s Jerome Boateng failed to complete 90 minutes against Ghana while Belgium and Arsenal star Thomas Vermaelen limped off against Russia.

Meanwhile, Bruno Martins Indi and Arturo Vidal both look set to miss out for Holland and Chile respectively as the two teams prepare to face-off.

Gerard Pique is also facing a race to be fit for Spain’s game with Australia while Italy will be without Daniele De Rossi for Tuesday’s big test against Uruguay.

Fan Watch

Team USA fans took centre stage on Sunday night with a series of outdoor screenings of the big game against Portugal broadcast across the country, with the most notable coming in St Louis and over in Grant Park, Chicago.

There was less positive news from the Ghana vs Germany came though, with several of Die Manshcaft criticised for blacking-up ahead of kick-off.

And In Other News

Michael Bradley – the USA player who gave the ball away to Portugal for their last-gasp equaliser has apologised for his error – though he remained philosophical about his team’s chances, given that the other Selecao has to score about 10.

Not that Cristiano Ronaldo cares – he’s too busy parading a new haircut rumoured to be a tribute to the boy that had his £50,000 brain surgery costs covered by CR7.

We also have confirmation as to who the fastest player at the World Cup is – it’s not Arjen Robben, it’s not Dario Srna, it’s actually Ivory Coast full-back Serge Aurier. Arsenal fans take note.

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Jack Beresford

Jack Beresford is a content writer with over five years of experience in writing about sport and betting, including a two-year spell with Axonn Media. Contributes articles to HereIsTheCity and Lad Bible, while previous credits include Bwin, FTB Pro, Bleacher Report and the QBE rugby. Avid follower of tennis, rugby union, motorsport and football, Jack also writes about poker for Cardspiel.com alongside Guardian journalist Dominic Wells.