With one match remaining for each nation in the group stages of this years FIFA Confederations Cup it is now certain that Argentina and Germany will qualify for the semi-finals from Group A, whereas in Group B only Mexico are certain of qualifying, while Japan and Brazil must battle it out for the final spot.
In group a ,Tunisia were humbled by Argentina in the first match of the tournament with the South Americans running out 2-1 victors with goals from Javier Saviola and star man Juan Riquelme.
Looking forward to the World Cup next year Argentine coach Jose Pekerman backed up his decision to field many youngsters. “
A lot of players out on the pitch this evening lacked experience, but it’s good to know I can count on them,” said Pekerman.
In the other opening match in Group A, hosts Germany overcame a resilient Australian side 4-3. The opening quarter of an hour saw countless chances for both sides until German Kuranyi put the hosts ahead in the 17th minute. Then however, Australia pulled it back to 1-1 before Germany went 2-1 up only for Australia to once again peg them back to 2-2.
Middlesborough ‘keeper Mark Schwarzer was in fine form all night, but he was still to be beaten twice more, firstly from a Michael Ballack penalty and finally from young striker, Podolski’s neat finish. John Aloisi pulled one back for Australia but the 4-3 score line belied the true dominance the Germans showed with Australia always playing catch-up.
The second round matches in the Group saw Ballack shine as the Germans cruised into the semis with a 3-0 win over Tunisia. Argentine striker, Luciano Figueroa was the star in the other match as Australia were soundly beaten. The young strikers hat-trick ensured a dominant 4-2 win taking them through to the semis.
In Group B, Mexico are definitely through after an opening day victory over Japan with goals from Zinha and Jose Fonseca helping their side overcome the Asian champions who had taken the lead through Akira Kaji on 13 minutes.
Mexican coach, Ricardo Lavolpe, was rightly proud of his side.
“We kept our tactical discipline well,” he said. “We knew what to expect from Japan, so we controlled the ball well and that was the key to victory.”
World Champions Brazil saw off European Champions Greece in a laid back 3-0 victory. There was only ever one team in this match as the magnificent forward pairing of Adriano and Robinho both got on the score sheet with substitute Juninho adding a third.
Man of the match Robinho showed his delight to reporters afterwards. “I’m over the moon about scoring, but what matters much more is that my team won,” said Robinho.
“You’re always under a lot of pressure when you play in Europe, you have to play the ball a lot faster, but it worked out very well for the whole team today.”
The second round of matches in ,Group B, saw Greece sent packing by the Japanese with Masashi Oguro scoring the only goal of the match.
Mexico-Brazil saw the biggest upset so far in the tournament as Brazil went crashing to a 1-0 defeat to their central American opponents.
A lively match of quick passing and exquisite movement from both sides produced only one goal, mainly due to the obvious tiredness of many Brazilians including Ronaldinho and Kaka. Adriano and Robinho were also off form.
Mexican striker Borghetti scored the only goal of the game in the 59th minute and the Brazilians had no answer to it. Borghetti had previously missed a dubious penalty after being forced to re take it three times with Dida saving the third attempt.
The Brazilians were largely disappointing as their initial spark faded as the game went on and there were clearly some tired legs out on the field. The Mexicans however were fantastic, playing a typically central American game of passing and meovement to secure a memorable victory and forcing the World Champions to wait and see if they can progress to the semis.