Goalie gifts Slovenia victory
Faouzi Chaouchi (AFP)
Johannesburg - World Cup goalkeeping howlers continued in Group C on Sunday with Algerian Faouzi Chaouchi gifting Slovenia a 1-0 Polokwane victory.
Captain Robert Koren from promoted English Premiership club West Bromwich Albion could hardly believe his luck on 79 minutes as a tame, curling shot from outside the penalty area slipped into the corner.
An even worse blunder by England goalkeeper Robert Green had presented United States striker Clint Dempsey with an equaliser in a 1-1 draw in Rustenburg on Saturday.
It was Slovenia's first World Cup victory after three losses eight years ago and gave them a two-point lead over more favoured England and the USA.
Algeria looked slightly sharper for much of a match watched by former France star Zinedine Zidane only to play the last 17 minutes a man short after substitute striker Abdelkader Ghezzal was sent off for a second caution.
Perennial contenders Germany enter the World Cup arena later on Sunday determined to prove there is life after Michael Ballack when they face Australia in Durban.
The 33-year-old midfielder given a close-season free transfer from English Premiership champions Chelsea was ruled out of the tournament by a injury during the FA Cup final victory over Portsmouth.
Ballack has been the midfield conductor of Germany for many years and how the three-time champions cope without him will be keenly noted at the 70,000-seat Moses Mabhida Stadium in the Indian Ocean city.
Germany have been boastful in the traditional pre-match war of words and Australia midfielder Tim Cahill from Everton says this will serve as the perfect motivational tool for the Socceroos.
The other Group D game between Ghana and Serbia in Pretoria four hours before could have a crucial bearing on the final standings with Germany expected to finish first and second place up for grabs.
Ghana are another team lacking their midfield maestro with a disastrous season for Michael Essien from Chelsea culminating in him being ruled out of the four-yearly football extravaganza.
After a lengthy early season absence, Essien played 45 minutes for the Black Stars in the African Nations Cup last January before injuring his knee in training and has not been in action since.
Serbian footballers could be forgiven for having an identity crisis given that the East European country previously appeared at the World Cup as Yugoslavia and Serbia and Montenegro.
South Korea and Argentina were second-day victors while an embarrassing blunder by Green gifted the United States a 1-1 draw in a match watched by American vice-president Joe Biden.
Green allowed a tame Dempsey shot slip from his grasp and over the line before half-time after captain Steven Gerrard had given England the perfect start with a clinical early goal.
Diego Maradona-coached Argentina and Nigeria delivered thrilling fare at Ellis Park in Johannesburg during a Group B clash settled by an early headed goal from former Manchester United leftback Gabriel Heinze.
Israel-based goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama made a series of superb saves for the Super Eagles and his acrobatics will have captured the attention of European scouts.
South Korea, whose 2002 semi-finals place remains the best showing by an Asian team in the World Cup, scored seven minutes into each half to see off timid Greece 2-0 in Eastern Cape city Port Elizabeth.
Lee Jung-soo struck the first as the 2004 European champions fell asleep while defending a corner and Manchester United midfielder Park Ji-sung ran through the defence for the second.