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Socceroos, Black Stars march on

Yes, the Socceroos and the Black Stars have made it to the second round. All talk in Group F before the tournament was about how Croatia qualified without losing a match and hence were favourites to qualify behind Brazil but this morning that counted for nothing as the Socceroos fought back from behind twice to clinch the required draw. Such was their determination I guess if a win was required they would have got it all the same.
Now Italy awaits and that one is going is be an even tougher assignment with Italy beginning to show why they are one of the favourites to win the World Cup. I take comfort in the fact that Hiddink knows a thing or two about how to defeat the Italians having guided South Korea to victory over Italy in the last World Cup. Having said that the goalkeeping duties must be returned back to Mark Schwarzer.
Turning to the match itself, I don't know what happens to Simunic after he got the second yellow card and didn't leave the field and then went on to get a third yellow card. Is the responsibility with the player or the referee? I wonder what would have happened if he had gone on to score a goal for Croatia. Surely you don't expect such referee blunders to take place at the World Cup stage.
Ghana, what can I say. Before the tournament all talk was about the Czech Republic and Italy and justifiably so because these are top football nations but Ghana has turned the tables upside down. With Ivory Coast having gone out it was looking likely that there was going to be no African nation in the last 16 but Ghana has played some scintillating football especially against the Czech Republic and deserve to be there. Brazil will offer a very stiff test especially without Michael Essien but Ghana have nothing to lose and all they have to do is give their all and see what happens after all this is their first World Cup.
Looking forward to tonight's matches Tunisia can qualify if they can overcome Ukraine whilst the most interesting tie is the one involving Togo and France. France could go out if they don't win this match and I will be watching this match with much interest.

The Tunisia-Ukraine game was a very disappointing one to watch for me. The refereeing, plus of course "strange" soccer seemed to characterise this tie. Thank God there was no extra time, or any further extensions viewers had to be exposed to. I'm keen to see how Ghana goes, and I do have an inkling that indeed Australia may well deliver the goods and send Italy packing. By the way, I'm watching Brazil and Argentina closely in this World Cup 2006.

I was actually disappointed with Tunisia. Just like the last World Cup they were in one of the easier groups and yet they failed to qualify for the second round. It was important to beat Saudi Arabia then get at least two points from the Spain and Ukraine matches. To be fair against Spain I think the referee just gave too many unwarranted yellow cards to Tunisia that unsettled them a little bit in a match they could easily have gone with at least a point.
Ghana/Brazil, well, I am struggling to see beyond a hard fought Brazil victory.

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