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World Cup diary - Defoe bats Beckenbauer barbs

Published: 25 Jun 2010 - 07:35:11

England striker Jermain Defoe revealed his diplomatic side whilst batting away crude jabs from former Germany player and coach Franz Beckenbauer.

Der Kaiser had claimed England are showing signs of "burning out" and had made a "big mistake" by qualifying in second place, to face the Germans on Sunday.

However, Defoe was only positive about his side's chances: "I don't feel tired. I understand the Premier League is the hardest to play in. The lads are putting the work in and if you're doing that work on the training pitch then you take that into the game."

BUFFALO BILL CELEBRATES US WIN

Former US president Bill Clinton was so vociferous in support of his country during Wednesday's 1-0 win over Algeria that he lost his voice for over an hour afterwards.

Clinton had to drink hot tea with lemon to regain his vocal capacity, after Landon Donovan's 91st-minute winner.

No news on how Monica Lewinsky celebrated.

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NATIONAL HOLIDAY DENIED IN NEW ZEALAND

New Zealand's Labour Party minister Trevor Mallard was strongly rebuffed in his attempts to introduce a public holiday for the country's people, as a reward for the loyalty of fans who stayed awake into the night to support the All Whites in their fated match with Paraguay.

ENGLAND FANS FLOCK TO ELIZABETH

Port Elizabeth has become a popular destination for many English football fans.

Over 20,000 are estimated to have visited 'The Friendly City', situated in the Eastern Cape Province, and more than 15,000 of the 36,000 fans at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Wednesday were English. Yesterday's edition of local newspaper The Herald proclaimed: 'Bay becomes Little Britain'.

Let's hope that doesn't mean our social misfits have headed out to populate the city.

HENRY MEETS SARKOZY

Thierry Henry met France President Nicolas Sarkozy yesterday, to discuss the national side's disastrous World Cup performance.

"Henry called the president from South Africa to tell him that he wanted to see him on his return," read a statement from the presidential palace, L'Elysee.

Henry landed at Le Bourget airport north of Paris, before heading straight to the palace, which he entered by a side door. He is rumoured to have left by the rear entrance, in keeping with the national team.

NZ 0-0 PARAGUAY

Despite a valiant effort, New Zealand's World Cup is over, after a goalless draw with Paraguay at the Peter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane. The South Americans topped Group F after a comfortable performance of adequate quality.

ITALY 2-3 SLOVENIA

Reigning World Cup holders Italy were dumped out by relative minnows Slovakia, who claimed a place in the last 16 as their prize from the Group F showdown at Ellis Park, Johannesburg.

Slovakia's Robert Vittek smashed the opener in on 25 minutes, after Danielle De Rossi had miscontrolled. Fabio Quagliarella's volley was blocked by Martin Skrtel's goal-line clearance midway through the second half.

Marek Hamsik's low cross was dispatched by Vittek for his second after 73 minutes. Antonio Di Natale halved the deficit on 81 minutes, before Kamil Kopunek just beat Italy goalkeeper Federico Marchetti to a bouncing ball, which he looped under the crossbar. Quagliarella's sublime stoppage-time chip was in vain, as the Azzurri were sent home, while Slovakia finished second in the group.

JAPAN 3-1 DENMARK

Japan scored two glorious first-half free-kicks as they beat Group E rivals Denmark 3-1 at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg.

Keisuke Honda smashed the first in on 17 minutes with his left foot, as Thomas Sorensen grasped at thin air. Per Kroldrup tripped Yoshito Okubo on the half-hour, allowing Yasuhito Endo to saunter up to the ball before bending it delightfully into the corner for Japan’s second.

Endo nearly did the same from just inside Denmark's half after the break, as Sorensen fumbled onto the post before gathering.

Jon Dahl Tomasson and Christian Eriksen both went close for the Danes, before Japan captain Makoto Hasebe's push on Daniel Agger was deemed deserving of a penalty kick. Tomasson converted the rebound, after his initial spot-kick was saved by Eiji Kawashima. Substitute Shinji Okazaki's late tap-in sealed the win for Japan, who qualified in second place.

NETHERLANDS 2-1 CAMEROON

The Netherlands maintained their 100% record at South Africa 2010, by beating Group E rivals Cameroon 2-1 at Green Point Stadium, Cape Town.

A slick one-two with Rafael van der Vaart set up Robin van Persie's sweet 36th-minute strike, his first of the tournament, and bucked the trend of a dreary first half.

The Indomitable Lions emerged a different beast after the break, with Samuel Eto'o scoring the penalty kick (65) awarded after van der Vaart handballed Geremi Njitap's free-kick. But Netherlands continued their winning run as Klaas-Jan Huntelaar stabbed home the rebound from Arjen Robben's vicious drive late on to top the group.

DSG


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FOOTBALL.CO.UK BLOGGER:Tom Littlefield
Seen as the heir apparent to Jan Molby until an underactive thyroid gland curtailed this youngster’s development, Tom Littlefield will now concentrate on making a “big pitch” (pun) during South Africa 2010. As Barnet’s staunchest Gooner, he is well placed to judge good football. So, while the England team provides your compulsory tournament displeasure, Tom will look to rouse your enthusiasm for the beautiful game (and WAGS) in the oasis of oratory that is his World Cup Diary.

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