Overall, this was a great day for soccer. It was absolutely the best day yet.
Men- Norway vs. Italy- 6-0 Norway. Italy has been a disappointment in this tournament.
Men-Portugal vs. Germany- Portugal 5-3. In a game that decided the fate of these teams, Portugal simply outplayed Germany. Portugal has been phenomenal lately, and kept it up against Germany. Germany played well and the game was great to watch, but Portugal is on a roll. Germany was eliminated with the loss, and Portugal clinched a playoff spot. The rest of the group would be decided on Sunday.
Men-ROI vs. Northern Ireland- Northern Ireland 4-3. Bet no one expected that score. In a another candidate for game of the tournament, Northern Ireland shocked ROI 4-3. ROI scored early, and it looked like just another ROI win, but Northern Ireland kept up their intensity and did not back down. The scoring went back and forth until ROI woke in the final minutes again and started hammering Northern Ireland. ROI had shot after shot in a seemingly never-ending last couple of minutes, and it really didn't seem believable that Northern Ireland would win until the final whistle finally blew. This game was the perfect example of how far ROI has fallen. They lacked intensity for most of the game until it became clear that they were going to lose. ROI is now battling for their lives on Monday against Jamaica. Northern Ireland is through. Wow.
Men- France vs. Serbia- France 7-1. Serbia's Winnipeg players finally made it in, and the game looked to be a close one, but Serbia ended up losing by the worst score yet. It's a shame Serbia couldn't live up to the pre-tournament hype.
Men- Canada vs. Jamaica- Canada 3-2. As surprising as this score may seem, it isn't. Canada has owned Jamaica in the last couple years. They continuously prevent Jamaica from making the playoffs, and this year was no exception. Every year it seems Jamaica could be one of the top teams, and then Canada knocks them off completely. Frankly, it's hilarious. Jamaica now battles ROI for the top spot in the group. The winner is in first, the loser is out. In the event of a tie, Jamaica would go through in second.
Men- El Salvador vs. Ukraine- El Salvador 5-3. It was do or die for both teams, so this was a great game to watch. Though not necessarily as exciting as some other games, the level of soccer was definitely higher with these two. El Salvador scored midway through the first half, but neither team was really controlling the game. As with the Ukraine/France game, there weren't many chances for either team. Ukraine evened it up after half, but another limited chance for El Salvador got them a second goal late in the game. By this point, Ukraine were really pushing hard for a goal and definitely had their chances, but couldn't put one in the back of the net. The defensive shell by El Salvador proved to work, and they clinched the game with a 3rd goal off of a blocked penalty shot in the closing minutes. Another giant fell, with Ukraine being eliminated.
Women- Austria vs. Chile- Chile 2-0. Chile continues rolling through its group, and takes on Ukraine on Sunday for first place.
Men- Nigeria vs. Saudi Arabia- Saudi Arabia 6-4. Saudi Arabia rolled to a 6-4 victory, wrapping up 2nd place in the group. They'll be preparing to face a tough France team in the quarterfinal. Nigeria played well, but Saudi Arabia is another team that you always seem to know will win the game.
Men- Laos vs. Botswana- 5-0. The result was expected.
Women- El Salvador vs. Canada- 5-0. It's a shame the night ended off with 2 snoozers. If you missed out on the afternoon and early evening games, you really missed some great soccer.