Germany survives Algeria in extra time, 2-1

Germany v Algeria: Round of 16 - 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil

FINAL SCORE: Germany 2, Algeria 1

It didn’t go exactly as anticipated, but in the end, the expected winner came out on top.

Heading into the match, it looked like Algeria would sit back and pack it in, then try to beat Germany on the counterattack. Well, Algeria did indeed have success on the counterattack, but it certainly wasn’t as a result of sitting back and simply absorbing pressure. Algeria took it to Germany in the first half, using their pace and taking advantage of Germany’s high defensive line to get in behind the defense and create dangerous opportunities in Germany’s defensive third.

In fact, the African side had a goal called back in the 17th minute for offside – it was the correct call, though. Algeria continued to push forward, but couldn’t beat Manuel Neuer, who constantly raced out of his own penalty area to challenge Algerian attackers or clear the ball away after a throughball.

The second half was more as anticipated, with Germany doing a better job of controlling possession and not allowing Algeria to get free on counterattacks. The game changed a bit when Philipp Lahm was shifted to right back and Semi Khedira moved to midfield. Germany looked better in attack, but it took some time for the European side to get on the same page in midfield. Algeria was getting some opportunities, and the game became a little more wide-open.

Germany had several chances in the final minutes, but Rais M’Bolhi continued to come up big for Algeria.

We went to 30 minutes of extra time – and then Germany was finally able to break through.

The first goal came only two minutes into the extra time, off a beautiful finish from Andre Schurrle, who slotted a Thomas Muller cross past M’Bolhi. Mesut Ozil seemingly iced the game in the 120th minute, when he buried a shot from inside the penalty area after M’Bolhi saved Schurrle’s initial attempt. Abdelmoumene Djabou brought one back for Algeria in the 121st minute, but it wasn’t enough.

It wasn’t easy, but Germany is through to face France in quarterfinal.

120′ + 1 — GOAL: Abdelmoumene Djabou brings one back for Algeria! Can they score again?

120′ — GOAL! Mesut Ozil bangs it into the back of the net to clinch the win for Germany. Andre Schurrle’s shot was stopped, but Ozil buried the rebound.

117′ — Germany looked like it was going to go up 2-0, but Christoph Kramer’s attempt was blocked by M’Bolhi and Muller’s second chance went out of bounds.

114′ — Both sides look exhausted, but Algeria continues to push forward for an equalizer.

109′ — Germany sub.

IN: Christoph Kramer

OUT: Bastian Schweinsteiger

107′ — BOOKED! Philipp Lahm receives a yellow card for his challenge on Yacine Brahimi.

105′ — We’re at the midway point of the 30 minutes of extra time. Germany will enter the final 15 minutes with a 1-0 lead, thanks to a beautiful finish from Andre Schurrle off an excellent run and cross by Thomas Muller. Schurrle has been excellent since coming on, getting behind the Algeria defense and providing speed and incisiveness from the right. Algeria is getting more stretched now, as they have to push up in an attempt to equalize. Germany will have space on the counterattack in the final 15 minutes.

102′ — Algeria were nearly level. Semi Khedira’s botched clearance falls to the feet of Mehdi Mostefa, but he shoots it wide.

100′ — Algeria sub.

IN: Abdelmoumene Djabou

OUT: El Arabi Soudani

99′ — Beautiful cross from Sofiane Feghouli, but El Arabi Soudani can’t get on the end of it.

98′ — Algeria sub.

IN: Madjid Bouguerra

OUT: Rafik Halliche

92′ — GOAL! Andre Schurrle puts it in the back of the net after a great cross from Thomas Muller.

END OF SECOND HALF: And we’ve got 30 more minutes of football.

Germany came close several times in the final 10 minutes, with wide-open headers from Thomas Muller and Bastian Schweinsteiger going right at M’Bolhi. Algeria looked more threatening in the first half than the second 45, but their counterattacks have still been dangerous.

90′ + 3 — Important sliding challenge from Rafik Halliche, who knocked away an Andre Schurrle cross.

90′ — Four minutes of stoppage time.

90′ — Lahm lofts a nice ball to Schweinsteiger, who heads it harmlessly at M’Bolhi. Could have possibly taken a touch.

87′ — What a trainwreck of a freekick for Germany. Thomas Muller tripped (purposely?) before running past the ball, and then Toni Kroos chips it right into the Algeria defenders.

Halliche has been excellent anchoring the back for Algeria, but he limps off.

82′ — Thomas Muller has another chance in the penalty area, but it’s wide. Germany is getting closer to breaking through.

80′ — Another save from M’Bolhi! Beautiful ball from Semi Khedira and Thomas Muller gets a clear header on it, but it’s saved, and Andre Schurrle’s rebound attempt is blocked out of bounds.

95′ — Man, look at that finish by Schurrle.

78′ — Algeria sub.

IN: Yacine Brahimi

OUT: Saphir Taider

77′ — Of course as soon as Lahm moves to the backline, Algeria starts taking some control in the midfield and getting chances.

70′ — Germany sub.

IN: Semi Khedira

OUT: Shkodran Mustafi

Khedira moves to the midfield, and Philipp Lahm moves to right back.

67′ — Germany has had plenty of set pieces in dangerous positions thus far, whether a free kick or a corner kick, and haven’t been able to make Algeria pay.

61′ — Germany doing a better job of controlling the match in the second half. Keeping possession and not allowing Algeria to get counterattacks in space, while also consistently getting the ball inside the Algeria box, whether off a cross or a shot from 20-25 yards out. The European side has certainly gotten the better of the half so far. Andre Schurrle has also been more direct.

55′ — A Philipp Lahm shot from about 22 yards out forces a deflection from M’Bolhi.

53′ — Look at that pass!

51′ — Wide-open, end-to-end stuff! Both teams getting opportunities on the counterattack!

50′ — Manuel Neuer has trouble collecting the ball, but he then unleashes a beautiful ball to Andre Schurrle past midfield that leads to a Germany corner kick.

49′ — Shkodran Mustafi has a headed chance for Germany, but it goes right to Rais M´Bolhi.

48′ — And Schurrle makes a bit of an impact immediately. Makes a nice run into the Algeria box, gathers the ball, but it’s deflected wide for a corner.

46′ — Germany sub.

IN: Andre Schurrle

OUT: Mario Gotze

HALFTIME: It’s a scoreless draw heading into the break.

I thought the game would be similar to Algeria’s group stage opener against Belgium, when the African side sat back and absorbed pressure, before attempting to counter. However, they haven’t sat back behind the ball — there certainly were not 10 men behind the ball at all times. The Algerian counterattack was extremely dangerous, with German’s lack of pace at the back hurting them. Moreover, the inability (or uninterest) by Mesut Ozil and Mario Gotze to consistently track back has been an issue. Algeria even had a goal called back for a correct offside call.

Algeria looked more threatening for the first 25 or 30 minutes, although Germany began to control possession more effectively and get some chances toward the end of the first half. Rais M’Bolhi needed to come up with two big saves in the 40th minute to keep the game without a goal.

Can Algeria keep this up in the second 45? When they are able to counterattack, they have had their chances. Germany needs to get back better, and not force Manuel Neuer to come 30 yards off his line too often.

42′ — Booked! Algeria’s Rafik Halliche has been given a yellow card.

40′ — Fantastic tandem of saves from Rais M´Bolhi. He dived to save the initial shot from Toni Kroos, and then got up to block Mario Gotze’s rebound attempt.

35′ — Thomas Muller heads a Shkodran Mustafi cross just wide. Didn’t look like much, until Muller stepped inside his defender and got his head onto the ball.

33′ — Sofiane Feghouli sends his free kick sailing over the bar.

32′ — Mario Gotze fouls El Arabi Soudani from behind just outside the Germany 18-yard box. Again, Algeria’s counterattack giving the Europeans some issues. Can they break through and grab a goal?

28′ — Manuel Neuer slides about 25 yards from his line once again, as the Germany backline are having trouble dealing with the speed of the Algeria attacking band.

26′ — Germany manager Joachim Low clearly not happy with the action so far.

24′ — Mesut Ozil looked like he was attempting to chip it to the far post, but it floats toward Rais M´Bolhi, who was forced to tap it over the bar for a Germany corner kick.

19′ — Faouzi Ghoulam makes a nice run but puts it wide past Neuer. Yet another early chance for Algeria.

17′ — And Algeria has a goal called back due to offside. Good call. But Germany has really been threatened by this Algeria side, especially on the counterattack.

15′ — Sofiane Feghouli created a chance for Algeria, but he decides to take the shot from a tough angle as opposed to crossing to one of his two teammates that were in the box.

14′ — Bastian Schweinsteiger lets loose of a left-footed rocket from about 25 yards out, but it’s punched up and then casually caught by Rais M´Bolhi.

12′ — Germany has looked confused at the back on more than one occasion now. Taking out Mats Hummels has made Jerome Boateng and Per Mertesacker the center-back partnership, and perhaps they’re still getting accustomed to playing with one another. (Although they have plenty of experience in the past.)

9′ — Manuel Neuer needs to make a sliding challenge about 25 yards from his own net after coming out of his area too far. El Arabi Soudani beat Neuer to the ball and looked to get a clean shot, but Neuer’s slide forced out a corner kick.

6′ — Germany has owned most of possession, but Mbolhi has yet to be really threatened yet.

3′ — Germany looked to have a chance down the right flank, but it was incorrectly called back for offside.

Netherlands Beat Mexico 2-1 in Dramatic Comeback

Huntelaar kept his cool in furnace-like conditions to fire Holland into the last eight after Wesley Sneijder had scored an 88th-minute equaliser to cancel out Giovani Dos Santos’s goal for Mexico.

The dramatic Dutch fightback left Mexico’s players in tears as their last 16 jinx struck again.

Mexico have now lost in the second round in six consecutive World Cup appearances, and had been just minutes away from a first quarter-final since 1986.

The Netherlands had looked to be heading for defeat at the Castelao Stadium after a game played in ferocious heat.

The match saw three-minute cooling breaks used for the first time in World Cup history as pitch-side temperatures hit 39 degrees (102.2 Fahrenheit)

Dos Santos’s long-range strike on 48 minutes looked like it would settle the encounter.

But with time ticking down, Holland launched wave after wave of attacks.

They were rewarded when Sneijder lashed in the equaliser with two minutes to go.

Then in the dying minutes, Arjen Robben jinked into the penalty area, and when veteran defender Rafa Marquez stuck out a leg, the Bayern Munich star went over.

Referee Pedro Proenca pointed to the spot and Huntelaar stepped up to bury a nerveless penalty past Guillermo Ochoa.

The win puts the Netherlands into a last eight meeting with either Costa Rica or Greece in Salvador next Saturday.

The Costa Ricans face Greece in their last 16 meeting later Sunday where the winner will reach the last eight for the first time.

Costa Rica sensationally beat Italy and Uruguay and drew with England as they topped Group D. Georgios Samaras scored a penalty in the third minute of injury time to give Greece the points they needed in their last Group C game to get the second qualifying place at the expense of the Ivory Coast.

Costa Rica midfielder Michael Barrantes said everyone must now be wary of the world number 28th ranked team.

“We came here to write football history for our country. We came in as the underdogs, now everybody knows who Costa Rica is,” he said.

“We don’t know how far we can go, but we are focused on going as far as possible. The team is calm, but we’re not too relaxed.”

This will be Costa Rica’s second appearance in the round of 16 in four participations at World Cup finals. The last time, in 1990, they were beaten by Czechoslovakia.

Greece scored only two goals in their three group games and reinforced their ultra-defensive reputation. That annoys coach Fernando Santos, who insists the team are expert counter-attackers as well.

That may not worry the Greek nation as it enjoys the World Cup progress while battling their way out of economic crisis. “I am delighted first of all that we bring joy to the Greek people,” said Santos.

If Greece win, its federation may face an immediate problem as Santos’s contract runs out on Monday.

He has said he will not make a new deal but is expected to stay on until the team’s last game.

France Knocked Out Ecuador

In the Group E last group stages, France drew Ecuador which still made the Frenches the group winner but knocked out Ecuador.

In this goalless match, the first shot in earnest was dispatched from the boot of Antoine Griezmann, following a close-range exchange with teammates Karim Benzema and Moussa Sissoko at the edge of the area, but the Real Sociedad winger’s drive on ten minutes dribbled wide. Ecuador goalkeeper Alexander Dominguez then scooped in a sweetly-struck volley off the left foot of Sissoko from a similar area.

The tough first half kept goalless though shot several times by both sides. In the middle of first half, the France attacking dominated the field, and their strength in the midfield was obvious.

Turn to the second half, in the Griezmann was a central figure again and could consider himself hugely unlucky not to strike within two minutes. Bacary Sagna supported the latest Les Bleus attack and clipped an invitation into the middle, where his younger colleague smartly flicked with the outside of his boot. The Ecuador’ keeper somehow pushed onto the post.

In the 50th minute, Antonio Valencia was shown a red card by referee for a challenge on Diene which left Ecuador only ten players and lost their hopes of knock out stage. The second half continued till the whistle went, both sides could not break through.

Thus, the first and the only knock out South America team popped out. And for France, though they were strong in the field still can not score, as the winner of Group E, a draw is not bad. For more information, fans can click Fut Coins

2014 FIFA World Cup: Ecuador vs France

FULL TIME: Ecuador 0-0 France

90+2′ – Despite being down to 10 men, Ecuador have given a fine account of themselves. Fighting till the last minute. A corner for them and the hero of the match, Dominguez has also come forward.

4 MINUTES OF TIME ADDED ON!

90′ – Sagna floats a ball for his Arsenal teammate who directs his open header straight into the arms of the keeper. What a miss from Giroud.

88′ – Pogba skips past his man and releases his shot quickly. The ball goes just wide of the upright after one bounce. No goal still.

86′ – Remy fires in a shot that is saved by Dominguez again. What a night he has had. Superb exhibition of shot blocking.

84′ – Benzema releases Giroud, who cuts back with his left foot for Benzema. His shot is saved. The Madrid man just can’t get his shot past the keeper today.

82′ – Guagua cuts in from the right, his momentum takes him past the left-back and he hits the target with his shot. Lloris parried away the ball.

81′ – Arroyo moves ahead with the ball, dink to the left and fires a left footed shot. Well wide. Koscielny stuck to him and made the angle tight.

80′ – Benzema again attempts a give and go with Giroud. The defense foils his effort yet again.

78′ – Benzema charges at Paredes and releases his shoot that goes one bounced into the hands of Dominguez.

76′ – Paredes thumps the ball forward. Valencia is runs towards the ball but he is off-side.

74′ – POGBA MISSES A SITTER. Sissoko floated a lovey cross to the far post where Pogba was unmarked. He had time and space but he failed to direct his header. Inches wide off.

72′ – Shaquiri puts the Swiss 3-0 up. Hat-trick for him.

70′ – At the 70 minute mark, France and Switzerland are going through to the Round of 16.

67′ – France are going for the win as they bring on an attacker in the form of Giroud. He replaces Matuidi.

65′- Benzema gives it to Sissoko and gets it back. He fires a shot on the run. The ball is deflected by one of the defenders for a corner.

63′ – Ibarra comes on for Ecuador for Montero.

63′ – Matuidi fires one from outside the box. Straight to the keeper. He collects easily. Good effort from the workhorse midfielder.

62′ – Pogba puts in a looping ball, which is collected by the keeper before Benzema can attack it with his head.

60′ – Change for France. Varane comes on for Sakho was was clearly struggling with a niggle he picked up.

58′ – Benzema shoots and gets the rebound straight back. He steadies himself and sets up Pogba who is open on the edge of the box. Pogba’s shot is blocked by the defender.

56′ – Montero on a marauding run down the left, he bounces off Sagna and tried to do too much instead of releasing a cross. He smashed the ball into the side netting.

54′ – France were exposed at the back. They found themselves 2 on 3 at the back. Noboa was played in on the right. His shoot did not even trouble Lloris. What a wasted opportunity.

52′ – The floodgates could open now as France will exploit the one man advantage.

49′ – Valencia was motoring ahead with the ball. Digne cam in with a sliding tackle, Valencia lost balance and went studs up into the challenge. It was completely unintentional. Ref gives a straight red.

RED CARD! ANTONIO VALENCIA

47′ – Sagna bombed forward on the right and put in a delicious cross. Griezman got on the end of it with the outside of his foot and forced an excellent save from the keeper.

46′ – Here we go for the last 45 minutes.

HALF TIME: Ecuador 0-0 France

45′ – TWO MINUTES ADDED ON!

43′ – First real involvement from Benzema. He moves ahead of the with the ball with a man close to him. The Frenchman halts in his tracks and switches the ball to his right foot. He curls one towards the far post but the keeper collects it easily.

40′ – We have hit the 40 minute mark and its still goalless at the Maracana. Swiss meanwhile, are now 2-0 up.

37′ – Griezman’s delivery is header towards goal by Pogba. His effort is weak but Dominguez takes no risks and palms it over the cross bar for a corner.

36′ – Paredes fouls Griezman without even the view of the ball. Free-kick to France. Griezman to take it.

31′ – Enner Valencia darted in from the left side of the penalty are. He toe-poked his delivery straight into the hands of Lloris.

28′ – Benzema skips past Paredes with ease on the left and puts in a cross with his left foot, which causes a scramble in the middle with kicks and headers flying in. Noboa gets a knock as he goes for the same header as Matuidi in the process. He goes down and the medical staff are out to treat him.

26′ – Sagna puts in a delicious ball. The keeper comes out but does not collect. His intervention is enough to put Benzema away who has risen to head the ball.

24′ – Sagna sets Sissoko up, who makes a run to the byline and cuts back the ball. His cut-back goes behind Griezmann who was rushing in the box.

22′ – The South American’s are now trying to force the issue as they need to match what Switzerland achieve in their match. France looking happy to absorb the pressure.

20′ – Ecuador have been compact at the back. Benzema has been very quiet.

18′ – Sagna released Griezmann in behind the defense. But the midfielder could not get past the first defender.

The striker is now back on the pitch but he isn’t very comfortable.

Enner Valencia has hobbled off the pitch. The medical staff is looking after him. This could be bad news.

16′ – Possession: Ecuador(39%) – (61%) France.

14′ – Matuidi’s cross from the left bounced amid several players and fell for Sissoko who unleashed a left footed volley straight to the keeper.

12′ – Pogba tries to feed Sissoko who was inside the penalty box. But the ref’s assistant flags off-side. Pogba getting involved more and more as game goes on.

10′ – Griezmann fires in a left footer. Just wide. The 23-year-old was involved in a give and go with Benzema before taking that shot.

8′ – Switzerland have scored, which means as things stand, Ecuador are heading out.

6′ – Montero gets into the penalty box. He twists and turns but the defender stays with him earn a goal-kick.

3′ – If you have joined us late, here are the team line-ups for this match.

France: Lloris, Sakho, Benzema, Griezmann, Matuidi, Sagna, Digne Sissoko, Pogba, Koscielny, Schneiderlin

Ecuador: Dominguez, Guagua, Erazo, Paredes, Noboa, Montero, W. Ayovi, E. Valencia, Minda, Arroyo, A. Valencia

1′ – Ecuador to get us going here in Rio. Here we go..

National anthems have been belted out by the players and fans. Time for action at the iconic Maracana.

Welcome to our live coverage of the Group E game between Ecuador and France at the Estadio Maracana in Rio De Janeiro. France have completely dominated this group and will in all probability top Group E. This mean, Les Blues will give their squad players run to avoid injuries and bookings.

Midfield dynamo Yohan Cabaye is suspended for this match, while Mamadou Sakho is expected to be rested as he is nursing a minor injury. The only way for Ecuador to advance is by beating France. Enner Valencia is on fire for them and willpose a big danger to the French defense.

Before the start of the World Cup, France were not counted among the favorites to win the cup. But with big teams bowing out and France gaining momentum, they are a good bet for a semi-final spot. As most South Americans, Ecuador will also play flamboyant football, which is why this game should be a real entertainer.

FIFA World Cup: No ‘draw’ deal between Germany and US

There won’t be friendly phone calls, there won’t be any dirty deals. That’s the promise from both sides ahead of Germany’s final Group G match against the United States.

A draw on Thursday in Recife would see both teams advance to the knockout stage at the expense of Portugal and Ghana, who play at the same time in Brasilia.

Both sides have been answering questions about a possible conspiracy, or as the Germans call it, a ‘non-aggression pact’ and both have sharply rejected any suggestions of a deal.

No wonder the questions are being asked, since the Germans were jointly responsible for one of the more shameful episodes in World Cup history. Germany scored after 10 minutes against Austria at the 1982 World Cup in Gijon, Spain, and the two teams just knocked the ball around for the next 80 minutes since the outcome guaranteed a slot in the next round for both. It also eliminated Algeria, which had stunned Germany 2-1 in their opener.

After that match, FIFA made sure that final group matches are played simultaneously, to reduce the possibility of a ‘gentlemen’s agreement.’

Germany and the United States are linked in many ways. Five players on the U.S. team have American fathers and German mothers, with four of them playing in the Bundesliga.

U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann was a star of the Germany team that won the last of its three World Cup titles in 1990. He also scored when the two teams last met at a World Cup, a 2-0 victory for Germany at the 1998 tournament in France.

In 2006 at home, Klinsmann guided Germany to a third-place finish as coach, with assistant Joachim Loew, who is now Germany’s coach. Berti Vogts, one of Klinsmann’s staff, was the coach of Germany when it won its last title, the 1996 European Championship.

Loew and Klinsmann remain good friends, but Loew has said he would not be talking to Klinsmann during the tournament.

Klinsmann too has dismissed any collusion.

“I don’t think that we are made for draws, really, except if it happens like tonight – two late goals, last seconds,” Klinsmann said after his team’s 2-2 draw with Portugal, which scored deep into stoppage time. “I think both teams go into this game and they want to win the group.”

“You’re talking about a game (in Gijon) that is decades away that is only part of the Germany history and not the United States,” Klinsmann said. “The United States is known to give everything they have in every single game. … We have that fighting spirit. We have that energy and that determination to do well in every single game.”

Netherlands beats Chile, 2-0, and wins Group B

FINAL SCORE: Netherlands 2, Chile 0

With both teams already clinching a spot in the knockout stage, we weren’t sure what to expect from Monday’s match. Robin van Persie was out with yellow card accumulation, Arturo Vidal was also on the bench, and both sides made multiple changes from the first two matches.

It started out like a match in which both sides knew they were secured of a spot in the next round. They were feeling each other out, and there were plenty of tactical fouls throughout the 90 minutes. Chile controlled possession for the first 25-30 minutes, but couldn’t get too many clear-cut chances. That ended up being a theme for the match, as Chile only had a couple of legitimate scoring chances — despite seeming to look threatening for long stretches.

The Dutch began to accumulate chances late in the half, mostly due to the ability of Arjen Robben. He was his usual aggressive self, taking on defenders and beginning counterattacks by himself. Chile allowed him to get space on a regular basis, not forcing him to put the ball on his right foot.

The match went into halftime as a 0-0 draw.

The second half began quietly, although things would pick up in the final 15 minutes, as both teams were making subs of the attacking variety. Memphis Depay and Leroy Fer came for the Dutch, and both would make their presences felt quickly. Fer struck first, heading in a corner kick to put Netherlands up 1-0 in the 77th minute. Depay would clinch the victory, finishing a Robben cross in extra time to give the Dutch their second goal.

With the result, the Netherlands is winner of group B, while Chile finishes second.

FULL TIME — Netherlands 2, Chile 0

90′ + 2 — GOAL! Arjen Robben makes a great run down the left, then crosses it across the six-yard box to Memphis Depay, who knocks it into the back of the net.

90′ — Three minutes of time to be added. Guessing it will be filled with Chile corner kicks.

89′ — Chile has another corner kick, but it doesn’t hit anyone, and the cross back into the box is headed over the net by Gary Medel.

89′ — Netherlands sub.

IN: Terence Kongolo

OUT: Dirk Kuyt

88′ — Alexis Sanchez takes two corner kicks, with both going into the front defender for the Netherlands.

87′ — Dirk Kuyt is down and calling for a sub. Chile wants him to be carted off quickly so the match can continue. It looks like Chile received their requests.

81′ — Appeals in the box for a handball after Jorge Valdivia’s flick bounces off a Dutch defender and appears to hit another in the arm, but Chile’s attempt goes harmlessly wide. For all the attacks up the pitch for Chile, they haven’t had too many clear goal-scoring opportunities. Quite possibly missing the all-around play of Arturo Vidal in the middle.

81′ — Chile sub.

IN: Mauricio Pinilla

OUT: Eduardo Vargas

79′ — Chile now needs two goals to win the group.

77′ — GOAL! Leroy Fer heads in a corner past Bravo to put Netherlands up 1-0. Moments after entering as a sub.

77′ — Memphis Depay nearly makes his impact felt immediately. Turning and unleashing a rocket from 25 yards out, but Claudio Bravo was up to the task.

76′ — Netherlands sub.

IN: Leroy Fer

OUT: Wesley Sneijder

75′ — Netherlands wins a free kick, but it goes out for a corner kick. Robben’s left-footed service is headed wide by Dirk Kuyt.

70′ — Chile sub.

IN: Jorge Valdivia

OUT: Francisco Silva

69′ — Netherlands sub.

IN: Memphis Depay

OUT: Jeremain Lens

66′ — Robben with another left-footed strike on net. Chile continues to give him space in transition.

65′ — BOOKED! Netherlands defender Daley Blind gets a yellow card for his tackle on Sanchez.

The ensuing free-kick goes to no one, but Sanchez saves it from going out of bounds and then gets a shot on goal from a difficult angle.

64′ — Another challenge in the box involving Sanchez, this one from Dutch goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen. He went to ground as the ball was going out of bounds, taking out Sanchez in the process. There was a brief appeal for a penalty from the Chilean attacker. (Although it should have been a corner kick.)

63′ — Netherlands would be just fine with a draw. They would win the group due to goal differential — and possibly avoid Brazil if the host country win group A (it is currently in first).

And it seems the Dutch know a 0-0 draw is in their interests.

62′ — Chile heads away a Netherlands free kick, but it falls to Sneijder — whose attempt is blocked and then cleared by Chile.

56′ — Alexis Sanchez launches one from about 25 yards out, but it goes over the net. He’s been very active and aggressive today.

54′ — Wesley Sneijder could have had a go from about 23 yards, but decided to drop it off for Jeremain Lens, whose attempt to play it back to Sneijder was too strong. Think it would have been a better move to get a shot on net.

49′ — The second half starting the same way the first 45 did: physical play, fouls, feeling each other out a bit.

Chile sub:

IN: Jean Beausejour

OUT: Felipe Gutiérrez

HALFTIME: The two sides enter the break in a scoreless draw.

It wasn’t without excitement, though. Both teams had plenty of chances, especially after the first 10-15 minutes or so, although very few were clear-cut goal-scoring opportunities. Chile owned possession and most of the better chances for the first 25 minutes or so, before Netherlands began to hit them on the counterattack and look dangerous. Most of Chile’s best efforts came via Alexis Sanchez or crosses from the left by Eugenia Mena. On the other side, Arjen Robben was the catalyst for the Dutch, which comes as no surprise. He was excellent on the counter, eagerly taking on defenders, and also put in a dangerous free kick from the right wing.

As it stands, the Netherlands would win the group.

44′ — Great free-kick from Marcelo Diaz, but Felipe Gutiérrez’s backward header goes wide.

42′ — Another counterattack, another chance for Netherlands. this one from Jeremain Lens, but it’s a poor effort and goes sailing into the stands.

40′ — Arjen Robben nearly gets his fourth goal of the competition. Essentially a one-man counterattack, Robben beat a couple of challenges and then knocked in a left-footed shot across his body, but it rolled wide. Chile can’t let him keep it on his left foot when he’s going full-speed.

37′ — Another shout for a penalty from Chile, as Dirk Kuyt knocks over Alexis Sanchez in the box on a cross. On replay, though, it didn’t look like much. Sanchez was none too happy.

35′ — Robben’s set-piece cross was on target, but Stefan De Vrij’s header wasn’t. Because of its small backline, Chile has had trouble dealing with crosses and balls over the top so far in the World Cup. Netherlands nearly exploited it on that attempt.

34′ — Multiple chances for Netherlands. Robben was leading a counterattack, but passed it behind De Jong — yet Chile failed to clear and Netherlands was able to get a cross in before it was booted away.

31′ — Appeals for a penalty kick after Daley Blind took out Charles Aránguiz inside the box. It looked like Blind got some of the ball first, though.

26′ — Sneijder’s free-kick looked slightly off-target and didn’t threaten Claudio Bravo too much.

25′ — BOOKED! Yellow card to Francisco Silva, who took down Jeremain Lens in a race for a ball played behind the Chile backline.

24′ — Things starting to open up a bit. Arjen Robben takes on multiple challenges down the right flank and gets into the box, but his shot is blocked and the rebound is knocked wide by Georginio Wijnaldum.

23′ — Sanchez plays a corner kick on the ground to Felipe Gutierrez, who gets an open chance from about 10 yards out — but is somewhat off-balance and sends it over the net.

19′ — Mena continues to make things happen down the left flank, putting in a couple of more crosses to no avail. Chile is the aggressor so far.

15′ — Good run by Charles Aránguiz, who took a through-ball and crossed it on the ground toward the Netherlands’ six-yard box before it was cleared.

13′ — Eugenio Mena creating a chance for Chile. Put in a dangerous cross that was headed well over the bar by Eduardo Vargas.

11′ — Chile has been looking to play it over the top to Alexis Sanchez, and seem to be getting closer to completing one of the long balls. Sanchez lost the race to the end-line moments ago, and then forced Jasper Cillessen to come out and collect another one.

7′ — I’m personally not a big fan of Group A playing its final matches after Group B. Should probably go in order, I would think. It will be interesting to see how Brazil comes out, depending on which team they would rather play. They could theoretically draw (or lose) if it suits them better. With that said, I don’t think Brazil — on their home soil — can do anything but win (and win big) against Cameroon.

4′ — Physical open couple of minutes, with a few fouls and not much else. Chile has had more of the possession, but it’s been mostly in the center of the mark, not looking too dangerous just yet.

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World Cup

2014 FIFA World Cup: Netherlands beats Chile, 2-0, and wins Group B

By Jeff Borzello | CBSSports.com

June 23, 2014 2:00 pm ET

Arjen Robben was the catalyst for the Netherlands attack on Monday. (Getty Images)

Chile vs. Netherlands: MatchTracker | World Cup Scoreboard

FINAL SCORE: Netherlands 2, Chile 0

With both teams already clinching a spot in the knockout stage, we weren’t sure what to expect from Monday’s match. Robin van Persie was out with yellow card accumulation, Arturo Vidal was also on the bench, and both sides made multiple changes from the first two matches.

It started out like a match in which both sides knew they were secured of a spot in the next round. They were feeling each other out, and there were plenty of tactical fouls throughout the 90 minutes. Chile controlled possession for the first 25-30 minutes, but couldn’t get too many clear-cut chances. That ended up being a theme for the match, as Chile only had a couple of legitimate scoring chances — despite seeming to look threatening for long stretches.

The Dutch began to accumulate chances late in the half, mostly due to the ability of Arjen Robben. He was his usual aggressive self, taking on defenders and beginning counterattacks by himself. Chile allowed him to get space on a regular basis, not forcing him to put the ball on his right foot.

The match went into halftime as a 0-0 draw.

The second half began quietly, although things would pick up in the final 15 minutes, as both teams were making subs of the attacking variety. Memphis Depay and Leroy Fer came for the Dutch, and both would make their presences felt quickly. Fer struck first, heading in a corner kick to put Netherlands up 1-0 in the 77th minute. Depay would clinch the victory, finishing a Robben cross in extra time to give the Dutch their second goal.

With the result, the Netherlands is winner of group B, while Chile finishes second.

FULL TIME — Netherlands 2, Chile 0

90′ + 2 — GOAL! Arjen Robben makes a great run down the left, then crosses it across the six-yard box to Memphis Depay, who knocks it into the back of the net.

90′ — Three minutes of time to be added. Guessing it will be filled with Chile corner kicks.

89′ — Chile has another corner kick, but it doesn’t hit anyone, and the cross back into the box is headed over the net by Gary Medel.

89′ — Netherlands sub.

IN: Terence Kongolo

OUT: Dirk Kuyt

88′ — Alexis Sanchez takes two corner kicks, with both going into the front defender for the Netherlands.

87′ — Dirk Kuyt is down and calling for a sub. Chile wants him to be carted off quickly so the match can continue. It looks like Chile received their requests.

81′ — Appeals in the box for a handball after Jorge Valdivia’s flick bounces off a Dutch defender and appears to hit another in the arm, but Chile’s attempt goes harmlessly wide. For all the attacks up the pitch for Chile, they haven’t had too many clear goal-scoring opportunities. Quite possibly missing the all-around play of Arturo Vidal in the middle.

81′ — Chile sub.

IN: Mauricio Pinilla

OUT: Eduardo Vargas

GOAL GIF: (via @FlyByKnite)

79′ — Chile now needs two goals to win the group.

77′ — GOAL! Leroy Fer heads in a corner past Bravo to put Netherlands up 1-0. Moments after entering as a sub.

77′ — Memphis Depay nearly makes his impact felt immediately. Turning and unleashing a rocket from 25 yards out, but Claudio Bravo was up to the task.

76′ — Netherlands sub.

IN: Leroy Fer

OUT: Wesley Sneijder

75′ — Netherlands wins a free kick, but it goes out for a corner kick. Robben’s left-footed service is headed wide by Dirk Kuyt.

70′ — Chile sub.

IN: Jorge Valdivia

OUT: Francisco Silva

69′ — Netherlands sub.

IN: Memphis Depay

OUT: Jeremain Lens

66′ — Robben with another left-footed strike on net. Chile continues to give him space in transition.

65′ — BOOKED! Netherlands defender Daley Blind gets a yellow card for his tackle on Sanchez.

The ensuing free-kick goes to no one, but Sanchez saves it from going out of bounds and then gets a shot on goal from a difficult angle.

64′ — Another challenge in the box involving Sanchez, this one from Dutch goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen. He went to ground as the ball was going out of bounds, taking out Sanchez in the process. There was a brief appeal for a penalty from the Chilean attacker. (Although it should have been a corner kick.)

63′ — Netherlands would be just fine with a draw. They would win the group due to goal differential — and possibly avoid Brazil if the host country win group A (it is currently in first).

And it seems the Dutch know a 0-0 draw is in their interests.

62′ — Chile heads away a Netherlands free kick, but it falls to Sneijder — whose attempt is blocked and then cleared by Chile.

56′ — Alexis Sanchez launches one from about 25 yards out, but it goes over the net. He’s been very active and aggressive today.

54′ — Wesley Sneijder could have had a go from about 23 yards, but decided to drop it off for Jeremain Lens, whose attempt to play it back to Sneijder was too strong. Think it would have been a better move to get a shot on net.

49′ — The second half starting the same way the first 45 did: physical play, fouls, feeling each other out a bit.

Chile sub:

IN: Jean Beausejour

OUT: Felipe Gutiérrez

HALFTIME: The two sides enter the break in a scoreless draw.

It wasn’t without excitement, though. Both teams had plenty of chances, especially after the first 10-15 minutes or so, although very few were clear-cut goal-scoring opportunities. Chile owned possession and most of the better chances for the first 25 minutes or so, before Netherlands began to hit them on the counterattack and look dangerous. Most of Chile’s best efforts came via Alexis Sanchez or crosses from the left by Eugenia Mena. On the other side, Arjen Robben was the catalyst for the Dutch, which comes as no surprise. He was excellent on the counter, eagerly taking on defenders, and also put in a dangerous free kick from the right wing.

As it stands, the Netherlands would win the group.

44′ — Great free-kick from Marcelo Diaz, but Felipe Gutiérrez’s backward header goes wide.

42′ — Another counterattack, another chance for Netherlands. this one from Jeremain Lens, but it’s a poor effort and goes sailing into the stands.

40′ — Arjen Robben nearly gets his fourth goal of the competition. Essentially a one-man counterattack, Robben beat a couple of challenges and then knocked in a left-footed shot across his body, but it rolled wide. Chile can’t let him keep it on his left foot when he’s going full-speed.

37′ — Another shout for a penalty from Chile, as Dirk Kuyt knocks over Alexis Sanchez in the box on a cross. On replay, though, it didn’t look like much. Sanchez was none too happy.

35′ — Robben’s set-piece cross was on target, but Stefan De Vrij’s header wasn’t. Because of its small backline, Chile has had trouble dealing with crosses and balls over the top so far in the World Cup. Netherlands nearly exploited it on that attempt.

34′ — Multiple chances for Netherlands. Robben was leading a counterattack, but passed it behind De Jong — yet Chile failed to clear and Netherlands was able to get a cross in before it was booted away.

31′ — Appeals for a penalty kick after Daley Blind took out Charles Aránguiz inside the box. It looked like Blind got some of the ball first, though.

26′ — Sneijder’s free-kick looked slightly off-target and didn’t threaten Claudio Bravo too much.

25′ — BOOKED! Yellow card to Francisco Silva, who took down Jeremain Lens in a race for a ball played behind the Chile backline. (via @FlyByKnite)

24′ — Things starting to open up a bit. Arjen Robben takes on multiple challenges down the right flank and gets into the box, but his shot is blocked and the rebound is knocked wide by Georginio Wijnaldum.

23′ — Sanchez plays a corner kick on the ground to Felipe Gutierrez, who gets an open chance from about 10 yards out — but is somewhat off-balance and sends it over the net.

19′ — Mena continues to make things happen down the left flank, putting in a couple of more crosses to no avail. Chile is the aggressor so far.

15′ — Good run by Charles Aránguiz, who took a through-ball and crossed it on the ground toward the Netherlands’ six-yard box before it was cleared.

13′ — Eugenio Mena creating a chance for Chile. Put in a dangerous cross that was headed well over the bar by Eduardo Vargas.

11′ — Chile has been looking to play it over the top to Alexis Sanchez, and seem to be getting closer to completing one of the long balls. Sanchez lost the race to the end-line moments ago, and then forced Jasper Cillessen to come out and collect another one.

7′ — I’m personally not a big fan of Group A playing its final matches after Group B. Should probably go in order, I would think. It will be interesting to see how Brazil comes out, depending on which team they would rather play. They could theoretically draw (or lose) if it suits them better. With that said, I don’t think Brazil — on their home soil — can do anything but win (and win big) against Cameroon.

4′ — Physical open couple of minutes, with a few fouls and not much else. Chile has had more of the possession, but it’s been mostly in the center of the mark, not looking too dangerous just yet.

PREGAME: Lineups.

No Vidal in this one, as expected. He’s still not 100 percent fit after surgery in May, and is also on a yellow card. Francisco Silva gets the start in the midfield, after clocking 90 minutes total in the first two group matches. Felipe Gutierrez gets his first start of the competition in midfield.

Van Persie is out due to yellow card accumulation, as Jeremain Lens comes in for him. Jonathan de Guzman and Bruno Martins Indi are also not in the starting XI, with Dirk Kuyt and Georginio Wijnaldum getting FIFA 14 Ultimate Team Coins their first starts of the World Cup.

FIFA World Cup 2014 Highlights

costa-rica-joy

23:23 (IST): Costa Rica beat Italy 1-0 to qualify for Last 16. England are knocked out after this result.

23:18 (IST): 87′ FAREWELL ENGLAND. Roy Hodgson and his squad will be watching on and fully aware that they are minutes away from being knocked out of the World Cup. Italy have to score two goals in the remainder of the match to keep the Three Lions in the competition… and there is no sign of that happening.

23:15 (IST): 84′ NO SIGN OF LIFE. Italy are in real danger of leaving themselves needing to beat the dangerous Uruguay in the final group game, but there is a lack of urgency in their play that must be down to the heat. There is no other excuse for such a tepid performance.

23:12 (IST): 81′ Nine minutes to go before stoppage time. Costa Rica still lead Italy by one goal to nil.

23:08 (IST): 77′ PACKED DEFENCE. There are so many players back for Costa Rica now that it is proving very tricky for Italy to pick their way through. This would be a monumental win for the underdogs… although they may have transcended that underdog tag by now. This is a proper team, make no mistake.

23:05 (IST): 74′ AN IMPRESSIVE SHOWING. Arsenal’s youngster Joel Campbell has spent his Gunners career out on loan, but his showing in the World Cup so far will have been of huge encouragement to Arsene Wenger. The striker makes way for Marco Urena after running his socks off for the Costa Rican cause.

23:00 (IST): 69′ Balotelli is shown a yellow card now. It pretty much sums up Italy’s misery story today.

22:57 (IST): 66′ Costa Rica 1 Italy 0. The Central American giant killers can’t take it easy from here still. Italy look better in their attack. Costa Rica lost all three of their games in the 2006 World Cup in Germany. This year they have already beaten Uruguay and look set to beat Italy here. What a story! A win for Costa Rica here would put them through into the second round out of the first group in World Cup history to include three former winners. If they do progress to the knockout stages it will be at the expense of two of the world’s top ten ranked teams, which is something to be extremely proud of. An equaliser for Italy would mean that these two teams would have a point advantage over Uruguay going into the third game, while only two goals and a win for Italy would keep England also in contention.

22:52 (IST): 61′ CASSANO HAS A GO. Antonio Cassano tries to conjure up something in the pocket, but his shimmy and shot is well read by the Costa Rican centre-backs and a block sends the ball dribbling through to the goalkeeper.

22:50 (IST): 59′ Buffon makes a delightful run forward to avert danger and clear. A through-ball almost picks out Christian Bolanos on the counter-attack, but Gianluigi Buffon races out of his area to get to the ball first. The flag was up in any case, but it isn’t tough to see what Costa Rica are trying to do, and Buffon will need to stay alert to those through-balls for the remainder of the game.

22:47 (IST): 56′ ANOTHER CHANGE FOR ITALY. The introduction of Lorenzo Insigne for Antonio Candreva adds yet another attacking threat to an Italy side that is now showing off its full array of striking options. The diminutive Insigne will give the Azzurri something different in the final third.

22:43 (IST): 52′ NAVAS MAKES THE SAVE. Andrea Pirlo has perfected the ‘knuckle-ball’ free-kick to add to his already impressive armoury, but Keylor Navas is equal to his long-range effort on this occasion.

22:41 (IST): 50′ DECENT HIT. Matteo Darmian fizzes a shot over the bar, but an unnecessary fingertip save by Keylor Navas earns Italy a corner. The set-piece is dealt with comfortably enough by Costa Rica, but does lead to yet another lengthy spell of Italy possession. The Azzurri have stepped it up a gear since the break.

22:40 (IST): 50′ Just to remind you that if Italy do not beat Costa Rica today, England will be eliminated from this year’s World Cup. Costa Rica 1 Italy 0.

22:38 (IST): 47′ PENALTY CLAIMS TURNED DOWN. Mario Balotelli looks to lay the ball off inside the area and goes down under a late challenge from behind. It is not a clear-cut decision like the one in the first half on Joel Campbell should have been, but it could easily have been given.

22:37 (IST): 46′ The desire to improve in the second half is clearly seen from Italy. The attacking Antonio Cassano replaces Thiago Motta.

22:18 (IST): After a dramatic first half, Costa Rica lead Italy by one goal to nil. Can Italy come back in second half? Costa Rica clear an Andrea Pirlo free-kick to bring the first half to an end. The underdogs have the lead at the break, but it is they who crowd the referee after the whistle to complain about the decisions that saw them denied a penalty and Giorgio Chiellini escape a sending off. That huge – and incorrect – decision by the official may play a big part in the second half, as Italy’s passing game will surely carve out more chances as the Costa Ricans tire. However, at half-time it is Italy 0, Costa Rica 1.

22:15 (IST): 44′ Bryan Ruiz finds the back of the net! And the goal-line technology confirms it! Costa Rica 1 Italy 0. Justice is done as Bryan Ruiz’s header crashes past Gianluigi Buffon in and in off the cross-bar (confirmed by the goal-line technology). Junior Diaz’s brilliant cross took out the Italian centre-backs and left Gianluigi Buffon stranded, and Ruiz took full advantage. 1-0.

22:14 (IST): 43′ A HOWLER BY THE REF. Costa Rica rob possession in the centre of the park and set Joel Campbell away on the counter-attack. The striker cuts back on to his left foot inside the area and appears to be bundled over by the covering Giorgio Chiellini, but the referee waves play on. To say the Costa Rican players and manager are furious is an understatement!

22:12 (IST): 41′ OVER THE BAR. Bryan Ruiz shows impressive composure to wait for a free man to appear in the Italian box before dinking a cross in to Oscar Duarte. The defender is all on his own, but can’t quite direct his flicked back-header into the net.

22:09 (IST): 38′ SPACE ON THE COUNTER. On the surface there isn’t a huge amount to choose between the two teams, but Costa Rica have been restricted to speculative long-range efforts (the latest of which from Bryan Ruiz is comfortable for Gianluigi Buffon), whereas Italy are biding their time and looking to pick out the runners in behind Costa Rica’s high-line defence, which will inevitably lead to more one-on-ones.

22:05 (IST): 34′ COMFORTABLE ON THE BALL. Italy have plenty of weaknesses, but ability to keep the ball is not one of them. The Azzurri ooze quality in possession, with Pirlo at the centre of everything as he strolls around the middle of the pitch. The veteran apparently made just four ‘sprints’ in the entirety of the win over England, but when you read the game like he does you rarely need to sprint.

22:04 (IST): 33′ Pirlo once again provides Italy a great chance to score but Balotelli hits straight into the goalkeeper’s hands.

22:02 (IST): 31′ Balotelli is provided with a peach of a pass in the Costa Rican penalty box by Pirlo but he makes a mess of it. Andrea Pirlo is a wonderful, wonderful footballer, and his pass to play Mario Balotelli through on goal is right out of his top-drawer. The forward tries to finish the goal in style, but his delicate chip over the goalkeeper lacks conviction… and more importantly direction… and drifts wide of the post.

21:57 (IST): 27′ THE TEMPO SLOWS. The heat was going to take its toll eventually, and the game has slowed to walking pace (or Pirlo pace, if you will). The crowd respond by entertaining themselves with a Mexican Wave.

21:52 (IST): 22′ BALOTELLI A THREAT. Mario Balotelli requested a kiss from the Queen of England if he scores in a win for Itay today (making the big presumption that she is a football fan), and the early signs are that the striker will cause the Costa Rican defence all sorts of problems. His strength and speed is giving Italy something to work off.

21:47 (IST): 17′ COSTA RICA NO PUSHOVERS. The Central American side were expected to struggle in this group, but their stunning victory over Uruguay showed their ability and they are giving this game a decent go too. Italy will have to work hard if they are to leave with the win.

21:46 (IST): 16′ Costa Rica are enjoying 57 per cent of the share of the ball as of now but then Italy are passing well between their players. They haven’t looked as threatening as they should though. Buffon’s return has been a great boost at the back.

21:41 (IST): 11′ END-TO-END. It has been a thrilling start to the game, with both teams clearly keen to get an early goal and achieve a platform to play the game at their own pace. It is making for a very entertaining watch, with Italy’s class shining through in the final third.

21:37 (IST): 7′ Borges receives a good cross as Costa Rica are awarded the first corner of the game but his header goes over the bar. Costa Rica 0 Italy 0.

21:34 (IST): 4′ GREAT START BY ITALY. The Italians have started with a bang, dominating possession and finding plenty of space out wide for the overlapping full-backs to exploit.

21:31 (IST): 1′ KICK-OFF. Italy get the game underway and immediately show their intent to keep the ball with a spell of possession football inside their own half. A delicate chip over the top threatens to put Claudio Marchisio clean through inside the opening minute, but he’s just caught offside.

21:30 (IST): 0′ HERE COME THE TEAMS. The 22 players emerge into the blistering heat to be welcomed by a packed Arena Pernambuco crowd. The anthems are belted out and the game is all set for kick-off.

21:02 (IST): 0′ ITALY V COSTA RICA. Luis Suarez’s second goal that beat England yesterday has ensured that even a win today won’t be enough to definitely send either of these teams through to the second round. Italy were quietly impressive in their 2-1 win over England in the heat of Manaus on Saturday, and will be looking for more of the same in the inevitably sweltering conditions in Recife. Their opponents, Costa Rica, were expected to be the whipping-boys of the group, but looked dangerous on the counter-attack against Uruguay and will fancy their chances if they manage to isolate Italy’s centre-backs on the break. A win for Italy would leave Group D in a position where all four teams will still be in with a chance of qualifying on Tuesday. A draw or a win for Costa Rica would be enough to take it down to a three horse race for the final round – with England heading home early.

FIFA World Cup: Japan 0, Greece 0

Reduced to 10 men after captain Costas Katsouranis was sent off in the 38th minute with his second booking, Greece held on for a 0-0 draw with Japan on Thursday that keeps both alive in Group C and sends rival Colombia to the next round of the World Cup.

Both teams inserted new strikers in search of goals and a first victory, but ultimately the goal was survival and both did that with one match left in group play. Japan would have been eliminated with a loss.

Once Katsouaranis was sent off after a rough challenge on Makoto Hasebe, Greece withdrew into a defensive setup and held firm. Greece surrendered three goals in a loss to Colombia, but even short-handed was better organized against Japan and avoided any critical mistakes.

SABB names winners of FIFA World Cup campaign

As part of the SABB credit cards promotional campaign to reward their customers for card usage, the bank recently announced seven winners of the 2014 FIFA World Cup campaign.

The winners will be flying to Brazil along with their companion to attend the World Cup. This is a fully paid trip, which includes flight tickets from the city of origin in Saudi Arabia to the match destination in Brazil, hotel transportation and match tickets.

Two of the winners will attend group stage matches, three others the quarter-final matches and the two other winners will attend the semifinal match.

As a pioneering in the financial services industry, SABB is focused on providing an optimal customer experience in a variety of ways. Part of such efforts includes the recognition of customer’s choice in choosing SABB’s credit cards by rewarding them with innovative and attractive prizes.

Iran 0, Nigeria 0: 2014 FIFA World Cup | Group F Match Recap

It took five days and 13 games, but at long last we have seen the first draw of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Group F bottom-feeders Iran and Nigeria opened their tournament schedules with a listless 0-0 draw, for the moment giving them a tie for second place in the group.

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COMPLETE BOXSCORE AND STATISTICS

THE DROUGHT CONTINUES: Despite appearing in three World Cups since 1998, neither Nigeria nor Iran has managed to win a World Cup game in the 21st century. The draw today continues the winless streak, and with both teams still having to play Argentina and Bosnia-Herzegovina to round out group play, both teams’ illustrious history of not winning could remain untarnished until at least 2018.

TOOTHLESS: While Iran and Nigeria do have some gifted players in their set-up, they don’t have much in the way of star power. It showed on Monday. Just two of Nigeria’s 29 crosses found their man. Neither team could conjure more than 65 percent passing accuracy in their attacking half. All told, Team Melli and the Super Eagles combined for an incredibly sloppy and wholly toothless performance.

ANSWERING THE CALL: Goalkeepers Alireza Haghighi and Vincent Enyeama didn’t have to do much, but when called upon they rose to the occasion. Haghighi was nearly caught sleeping on a 31st-minute freekick by midfielder Ahmed Musa, but recovered to swat away the ball before it trickled past his near post. Iranian striker Reza Ghoochanejad, meanwhile, had a great opportunity in the 34th minute with a point-blank header in the six-yard box that produced a brilliant reaction save from Enyeama.

WHERE’S STEVEN?: The only MLS player to feature in either squad, Vancouver Whitecaps right back Steven Beitashour, had to watch from the bench as his team muddled through the stalemate with Nigeria. The California-born defender will have to wait at least one more game to realize his dream of playing in the World Cup.