Despite good individual performances, William Gallas and Claude Makelele made a disappointing start to Germany 2006 as an out-of-sorts France drew 0-0 with Switzerland. South Korea top Group G ahead of the 1998 winners after coming from a goal down to beat Togo in Frankfurt.
Brazil edged past Croatia 1-0 in Berlin, but their performance failed to live up to the pre-match hype with Ronaldo in particular looking a shadow of his former self. A spectacular goal from AC Milan’s Kaka was the highlight of a game which saw Croatia create several chances but fail to convert them.
Andiry Shevchenko has declared himself fit for Ukraine’s opening Group H fixture with Spain this afternoon in Leipzig, but coach Oleg Blokhin has yet to decide whether Chelsea’s record signing will start or take a place on the bench. Asier del Horno has been ruled out of the tournament with a torn ankle tendon. Elsewhere in the group, Tunisia take on Saudi Arabia in Munich.
Germany have the chance to confirm their place in the second round if they can beat Poland in Dortmund this evening. Chelsea’s Michael Ballack looks certain to return to the starting eleven after missing the hosts’ opening day victory against Costa Rica. Reports in the press this morning suggest that Jose Mourinho is set to launch a £10 million bid for Bayern Munich left back Philip Lahm, scorer of the opening goal in the tournament.
By this evening, every team in the World Cup will have played their first game. Holland, Ivory Coast, Italy and Argentina have looked the pick of the bunch so far while Brazil can only improve. Germany were in impressive goalscoring form, if a little shaky in defence. Portugal and the Czech Republic both played well and are still the outsiders to be watched for many people. Despite some excellent football – there have arguably been more entertaining games during the first five days of the tournament than there were in the whole of World Cup 2002 – the genuine ‘shock’ results haven’t appeared yet. Who has impressed you so far? Where do you think the possible upsets will come from in the next round of group games? Use the comments box below and tell us what you think.