It was a day of mixed fortunes for the Chelsea players in action at the World Cup yesterday. Petr Cech had a relatively quiet afternoon in goal for the Czech Republic, keeping a clean sheet as they swept past a poor USA side 3-0. Jan Koller, later substituted with a hamstring problem, and Arsenal new boy Tomas Rosicky were on target for the Czechs.
Michael Essien turned in a magnificent performance for Ghana but couldn’t prevent defeat on the Black Stars’ World Cup debut as they lost 2-0 to a confident Italy side, with man of the match Andrea Pirlo and Vincenzo Iaquinta scoring for Marcello Lippi’s men.
Chelsea’s French contingent start their campaign today when the 1998 winners take on Switzerland in Stuttgart, with William Gallas and Claude Makelele both in the starting eleven. The impressive Franck Ribery, linked with a move to the Premiership from current club Marseille, will make his first start for ‘Les Bleus’. South Korea take on Togo in the other fixture in group G.
Tournament favourites Brazil play their first game this evening when they take on Group F rivals Croatia in Berlin. The Italian prosecutor leading a passport fraud case against Brazilian captain Cafu has called for his imprisonment if he is found guilty.
And finally, the Dutch have had their first tiff of the tournament. Arsenal’s Robin van Persie has accused Arjen Robben of being greedy after their game against Serbia and Montenegro last Sunday. Robben has played down the rift, stating that he didn’t believe van Persie “meant anything nasty by his comments.”