Andriy Shevchenko had a disastrous start to the World Cup as his Ukraine side were thumped 4-0 by a rampant Spain yesterday in Leipzig. Ukraine played much of the second half with 10 men after the dismissal of Vladislav Vashchuk for a foul on Fernando Torres and were unlucky in terms of the decisions against them, but Spain were impressive and with games against Saudi Arabia and Tunisia to come, should qualify for the second phase with ease.
Germany snatched a late winner against Poland in Dortmund last night in a thrilling encounter which saw Juergen Klinsmann’s side take control of Group A.
Substitutes David Odonkor and Oliver Neuville combined to grab a vital three points in stoppage time after Michael Ballack and Miroslav Klose had both hit the bar as ten man Poland looked to have secured themselves a valuable draw. The result was harsh on Pawel Janas’s side who defended superbly, with keeper Artur Boruc pulling off a string of excellent saves. Ballack gave an assured display for the hosts on his return to the side, who are now virtually guaranteed a place in the second phase.
Chelsea’s England trio of Lampard, Terry and Cole will face a bullish Trinidad & Tobago in Nuremberg this afternoon, hoping for a convincing performance and a victory that will put them clear at the top of Group B. Gary Neville looks set to miss out after picking up a calf strain in training and will be replaced by either Jamie Carragher or Owen Hargreaves. The media is willing the return of Wayne Rooney at some point during the game, who has controversially been declared ‘match fit’ by Sven-Goran Eriksson. Sir Alex Ferguson will presumably be watching from behind a sofa accompanied by Manchester United’s lawyers.
In today’s other games, Ecuador take on Costa Rica in Hamburg while Sweden look to kick-start their campaign after a disappointing start as they face Paraguay in Berlin.