Germany, Ghana join England, U.S. in last 16

07:59, June 24, 2010      

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Germany's Arne Friedrich (R) and Sami Khedira (L) vie with Ghana's Asamoah Gyan during the 2010 World Cup Group D match in Johannesburg, South Africa, June 23, 2010. Germany won the match 1-0. Both Germany and Ghana are qualified for the round of 16. (Xinhua/Li Ga)

Germany nipped Ghana 1-0 in their last World Cup Group D game, a result which sent both teams into the last 16.

Earlier, Jermain Defoe secured England's 1-0 win over Slovenia and their qualification for the second round from Group C, which was topped by the United States who advanced on Landon Donovan's stoppage-time winner against Slovenia.

Germany garnered six points to top the group and Ghana had four points and a better goal difference over Australia, who also collected four points after beating Serbia 2-1 the same day.

Ghana attacked straight from the whistle and their second minute move ended with Andre Ayew firing wide.

Germany responded quickly as Cacau broke down the right, only to send his volley into Richard Kingson's arms.

The Black Stars nearly gifted the Germans an early lead when defender Johathan Mensah tried to sweep a German cross out of the area and instead he turned it goalwards. Kingston was quick enough to palm out the ball.

Ghana had a superb chance in the 25th minute when Ayew broke through two German defenders to face keeper Manuel Neuer, who bravely collected the ball at Ayew's feet.

The three-time champions reacted with Mesut Oezil's one-on-one meeting with Kingson, who blocked the Werder Bremen forward's fierce shot.

As the clocked ticked down to halftime, Kingson pushed out Bastian Schweinsteiger's free kick.

Seven minutes after the restart, Ghana's Kwadwo Asamoah broke down from the middle and with just Neuer to beat, he fired into the keeper's legs.

A draw would send the two sides into the second round but neither looked like playing for a tie.

The deadlock was broken in the 62nd minute as Mesut Oezil smashed a left-footed shot into the top corner of the net from the edge of box.

Ghana went all out for an equalizer and they almost did it when Ayew burst into the box and shot from close range, but Philip Lahm's legs deflected it over the bar.

Germany, who have never failed to move beyond the first group round of the tournament, will next take on old foes England.

Germany coach Joachim Loew admitted England would be a handful but he believed his side would emerge winners.

"England are stronger than Ghana but I believe we will beat them," he said.

Australia are heading home despite a 2-1 victory over Serbia in Nelspruit.

Tim Cahill and Brett Holman put the Socceroos 2-0 up before Serbia pulled one back through Marko Pantelic at the 84th minute.

In a make-or-mar match for England, held in Port Elizabeth, Fabio Capello's side broke the hearts of Slovenia, who dropped from first place to nowhere.

In the 14th minute, Frank Lampard tested Samir Handanovic with a long-range free-kick. The winner came 12 minutes later as James Milner swung in a ball from the right and Defoe got there ahead of Marko Suler to volley into the roof of the net.

Slovenia had barely threatened England's goal but they gave the rivals a scare in the 68th minute when Milivoje Novakovic and Zlatko Dedic had their shots blocked, before Valter Birsa sent a third effort past the post.

The English players huddled in celebration at the final whistle and in a sharp contrast, Slovenians were in despair after knowing the result of the other Group C match, which pushed them down to third place.

England coach Fabio Capello announced his team were back.

"I'm happy that I re-found the team that I knew from the qualifiers," he said."We can go forward without fear."

Watched by former U.S. president Bill Clinton, the United States went through 1-0 in Pretoria after wasting a number of opportunities.

Three minutes into the stoppage time, Jozy Altidore sent the ball into the danger zone and Algerian keeper Rais M'Bolhi parried it out into the path of Donovan, who made no mistake six meters from an empty net.


Special Report: World Cup 2010


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