Category: Archive

Cameroon, Germany serve notice to World Cup favorites

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Jay Mwamba

If last week’s friendly results are anything to go by, Ireland’s group may well turn out to be the real “Group of Death” at this summer’s finals.

The Republic’s 3-0 demolition of capable Denmark at Lansdowne Road last Wednesday was just one of four impressive performances by Group E teams that included an exciting 2-2 tie between Cameroon and one of the tournament favorites, Argentina.

There were also emphatic wins for Germany and Saudi Arabia.


Ireland are likely to have their work cut out for them in their June 1 Group E opener against Cameroon, who twice came from behind and hit the woodwork several times in a tough 2-2 tie with Argentina in Geneva.

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Samuel Eto’o Fils (19th), the brilliant 21-year-old “Indomitable Lions” winger, and Patrick Suffo (86th) canceled out strikes by Juan Sebastian Veron (16th, penalty) and Pablo Aimar (62nd), respectively, in the no-holds-barred tussle.

The result stretched the African Cup holders’ unbeaten run under German coach Winfried Sch’fer to 10 matches and preserved Cameroon’s undefeated record against the two-time world champions after two encounters.

Teutonic style

Germany brought their two-match scoring tally to 11 goals after thrashing the United States 4-2 in Rostock despite fielding a weakened side.

Christian Ziege (44th), Oliver Neuville (61st), Oliver Bierhoff (65th), and Torsten Frings (68th) brought the Germans roaring back after Clint Mathis (17th) had put the U.S. in front. Mathis added a second in the 71st minute.

Germany hammered Isr’l 7-1 in their previous match last month.


Saudi Arabia, the designated whipping boys of Group E, continued to show a pulse with their second win in a week, 3-2 over Uruguay in Dammam.

Obeid al-Dosari (9th, 18th) and Al Shahrani (17th), had the Saudis leading 3-1after 18 minutes, following Manchester United forward Diego Forlan’s ice-breaker (4th). Fabian O’Neill (58th), a descendent of Irish immigrants pulled one back for the Uruguayans.

Saudi Arabia had earlier beaten South Africa 1-0 in Italy.

England edged

England’s 2-1 loss to Italy in Leeds summed up a disappointing midweek for the members of Group F (the widely acknowledged “Group of Death”), none of whom were victorious.

Sven Goran Eriksson, who made wholesale changes at halftime, saw his young side fail to hold the lead after Robbie Fowler (63rd) had connected at Elland Road. Vincenzo Montella’s brace (67th, 90th, pen.) stole it for the Azzurri.

Earlier in London, Nigeria needed an 82nd minute spot kick by Austin Okocha to salvage a 1-1 draw with Paraguay, whose Carlos Gamarra (18th) scored.

Sweden, who together with Argentina complete Group F, were also held to a 1-all tie in Malmo by Switzerland. Swiss striker Ricardo Cabanas (54th) pegged back Marcus Allback’s 29th minute effort for the home side.

Rude awakening

Defending champions France fired warning shots ahead of their title defense with a 5-0 rout of Scotland in Berti Vogts’s first match as the Scots’ manager.

Skipper Zinedine Zidane (11th), David Trezeguet (22nd, 41st), Thierry Henry (31st), and Steve Marlet (86th) did the damage before 80,000 ecstatic Paris fans.

Poles stunned

Co-hosts Japan stunned Poland 2-0 in Lodz on goals by prodigal son Hidetoshi Nakata (10th) — back in the team after a falling out with coach Phillipe Troussier — and Naohiro Takahara (42nd). In Bochum, Germany, Korea, the other co-hosts, played Turkey to a goalless tie.

Poor draw

Northern Ireland captain Steve Lomas was ejected (48th) in a drub 0-0 draw with Liechtenstein in Vaduz that attracted a mere 1,080 spectators.

In other results last week, Frank de Boer’s (31st) gave Holland a 1-0 decision over Spain in Rotterdam. Brazil were booed after an uninspiring 1-0 victory over Yugoslavia on Luisao’s header (71st), and injury-hit Portugal were flattened 4-1 by Finland in Oporto, their first loss at home in 18 games.

Joonas Kolkka (9th), Mik’l Forssell (27th), and Jari Litmanen (42nd, 54th) struck for the Finns. Sergio Conceicao (40th) grabbed Portugal’s face-saver.

And at Giants Stadium in the Meadowlands, Bulgaria returned to the scene of their most famous World Cup victory, the dramatic 2-1 decision over Germany in the quarterfinals of USA ’94, but to a much different outcome. They were trounced 3-0 by qualifiers Ecuador, whose Ivan Kaviedes (23rd, 81st) netted a brace. Carlos Tenorio (50th) got the other goal.

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