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2014 World Cup Roundup: Groups E & F

World Cup Roundup - Argentina

Photo: Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

World Cup roundup of groups E & F: Switzerland snatch late win against thrash ,  take no easy points from Bosnia while Iran and share the spoils.

Switzerland 2-1 Ecuador

The game started fairly quietly with both sides looking to work the ball through the midfield, without committing too many men to the attack. Switzerland were gaining a slight upper hand and were getting more hold of the ball as Shaqiri shook off his marker and unleashed a shot that was saved by Alexander Dominguez. However, it was Ecuador who struck first. Ayoví’s free kick landed on the unmanned Enner Valencia’s head who had no trouble in finding the back of the net.

Second half substitute Admir Mehmedi set the game on fire almost instantly, scoring from a corner-kick after being on the pitch for a mere 3 minutes. Unlike the first half, the second saw more attacking  football as both teams set their eyes on the 3 points. Although both teams came close to scoring on several occasions, it was the Swiss who succeeded in scoring; Haris Seferovic struck in the 93rd minute to end all hope for the Ecuadorians.

France 3-0 Honduras 

The French took no time to show that they meant business and got hold of the match from the very opening minutes. France was threatening throughout the first half, yet seemed to lack the ability to convert their chances. That would change before half-time, though; Palacios was shown his second yellow of the night, and was subsequently sent off after a challenge on Pogba inside the penalty area. Benzema had no issues converting the resulting penalty-kick.

France had no trouble unlocking 10-man Honduras’ defense and Benzema’s volley into the far post rebounded onto the goal-line before a second goal was awarded.  Goal-line technology showed that the ball had in fact crossed the line, but only after Honduras goalkeeper Valladares reached to grab the ball but accidentally pushed it over first, hence the keeper was credited with the own goal. Benzema did score again, however, in the 72nd minute to give France a comfortable 3-0 win over Honduras.

Argentina 2-1 

Before viewers could get into their seats, Argentina were ahead; Messi’s free-kick rebounded off Kolasinac’s legs and past helpless Bosnian keeper Begovic. Pjanic played Hajrovic in with a ball over Argentina’s top three to bring Bosnia close to the equalizer, however, Hajrovic’s first touch failed him and Romero got his hands on the ball and handled it well. The Bosnians continued to threaten throughout, but the needed final touch eluded them.

After two substitutions at half-time, Argentina switched from a back-three to a back-four, a change that seemed to do the trick for Argentinians. Twenty minutes into half, second-half substitute Gonzalo Higuain laid a ball off to Messi, who faked a shot before skillfully drifting past his marker and curling the ball into the far post. Five minutes from time Lulic’s pass found Ibisevic, who then slotted the ball between Romero’s legs, pulling one back for Bosnia with their first-ever goal at the World Cup, but it proved to be too late as Argentina held on to the win.

Nigeria 0-0 Iran

The game began fairly quietly with Nigeria hogging the ball, but not posing any major threat to Iran’s goal, something that would continue throughout the entire first half. It was Iran who had the most dangerous chance as Ghoochannejhad’s header forced Enyeama into a great save following a corner-kick.

The second half kicked off not so different from the first; the Nigerians enjoyed most of the possession, but were lacking in the final third while Iran was content to stay back and try to snatch a goal from a counter attack. The game ended as a scoreless draw, the first goalless game in the 2014 World Cup.

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