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June 20, 2010 at 4:35 PM

World Cup group-stage reviews after two games: Group D

Team-by-team breakdown

Ghana (1-0-1, 4 pts.) — Perhaps the only African left with a decent chance at qualifying for the knockout stage. Will likely need a result against the favored Germans to move on.

Germany (1-1-0, 3 pts.) — Looked like world-beaters in the opener against the Socceroos. Then Klose saw red against the Serbs in defeat, but the goal differential could help in a tiebreaker.

Serbia (1-1-0, 3 pts.) — My surprise pick to win the group looked awful in the opener but much better in the second game. Would advance to the round of 16 with a win.

Australia (0-1-1, 1 pt.) — Showed a lot of determination against the Black Stars in earning a point with 10 men. We can only imagine what they’d look like at full strength having earned two ejections.

What stands out so far

1. The hopes of a continent — All the African teams have been massive disappointments collectively. All except the Group D leaders, for now. Might get great support in the finale.

2. Hot and cold — All four teams have looked very good at times, but very bad at others. This is still wide open and it’s hard to predict anything — both in the group and the tournament.

3. Germany’s youth — Talented group of playmakers (Mueller, Ozil, Podolski, Khedira) looked remarkable to start. Can they keep it up to make a run or will the inexperience eventually prove too much?

Three stars

1. F Asamoah Gyan, Ghana

2. M Mesut Ozil, Germany

3. D Nemanja Vidic, Serbia

Look ahead

Lots to play for still in this group. I thought both European teams would move, so I’ll stick with each of them getting wins on the final day. Nothing would surprise me, however, as all four have looked remarkably tight. Before the tournament, this was my group to watch — and it hasn’t disappointed.

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