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The unbeautiful side of the Beautiful Game

Last updated on: June 24, 2010 09:37 IST

Reckless Cahill sees red

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There was no stopping Australian midfielder Tim Cahill as he jumped for the ball over Germany's Bastian Schweinsteiger. He shown the red card for the rash challenge in the 66th minute.

However, it was Germany who finished on top as they began their quest for a fourth World Cup in devastating style with a thumping 4-0 victory over the Aussies.

Photographs: Reuters


Image: Australian midfielder Tim Cahill (top) jumps for the ball over Germany's Bastian Schweinsteiger

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Bradley sends Rooney flying

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Wayne Rooney (left) falls after clashing with Michael Bradley of the US during their Group C match.

A shocking schoolboy howler from England goalkeeper Robert Green gifted the United States a goal as the two sides tipped to qualify from Group C battled to a 1-1 stalemate.


Image: Wayne Rooney (left) falls after clashing with Michael Bradley of the US

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Dane pain for van der Vaart

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Dutch midfielder Rafael van der Vaart goes to the ground after a tackle by Denmark's Martin Jorgensen in their Group E encounter.

Netherlands needed a lucky own goal and a late strike by Dirk Kuyt to get their World Cup campaign off to a winning start with a 2-0 win over Denmark.


Image: Dutch midfielder Rafael van der Vaart goes to the ground after a tackle by Denmark's Martin Jorgensen

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It's a bit messy for Messi!

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Argentina's Lionel Messi falls as he battles for the ball with Nigeria's Peter Odemwinge in a Group B match.

But there was no stopping the Messi magic with the ball as he inspired Argentina to a clinical 1-0 win over Nigeria.


Image: Lionel Messi falls to the ground

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Kirm tackles Cherundolo

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Slovenia's Andraz Kirm (white) collides with Steve Cherundolo of the US during their Group C match.

Goals from Landon Donovan and Michael Bradley saw the United States make a dramatic comeback from two goals down at half-time to draw 2-2 with Slovenia.


Image: Andraz Kirm (white) collides with Steve Cherundolo

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Swiss shock Spain

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Spain's Xavi (left) fights for the ball with Switzerland's Gokhan Inler during their Group H match.

Switzerland pulled off the biggest shock of this World Cup when they beat European champions Spain 1-0, their first ever victory over their opponents in 19 games.


Image: Xavi (left) fights for the ball with Switzerland's Gokhan Inler

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Danes eliminate Cameroon

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Cameroon goalkeeper Hamidou Souleymanou (left) thwarts Denmark's Dennis Rommedahl from scoring a goal during their Group E match.

However, Cameroon, Africa's modern World Cup trailblazers, became the first African side eliminated from the continent's inaugural tournament when they somehow lost 2-1 to Denmark.

The Indomitable Lions, the country that first alerted the world to the improvement in African soccer when they qualified for their first finals in Spain in 1982 and reached the quarter-finals in 1990, are out after this defeat followed their opening 1-0 loss to Japan.


Image: Denmark's Dennis Rommedahl (right) takes a tumble a challenge from Cameroon goalkeeper Hamidou Souleymanou

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Uruguay make SA suffer

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Uruguay striker Luis Suarez falls following a rash tackle from South Africa's Kagisho Dikgacoi during their Group A match.

An inspired Diego Forlan scored twice as World Cup hosts South suffered a heavy blow with a 3-0 loss to Uruguay.

A 24th minute strike and then a controversial 80th minute penalty from Forlan, which saw home keeper Itumeleng Khune sent off after he was ruled to have brought down Luis Suarez, did the damage.


Image: South African Kagisho Dikgacoi (left) and Uruguay's Luis Suarez collide

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Greece profit from Nigeria's silliness

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Greece's Socratis Papastathopoulos takes a tumble following a collision with Nigeria's Yakubu Aiyegbeni during their Group B match.

A moment of schoolyard silliness by Nigeria's Sani Kaita reversed the match dynamic and opened the door for Greece to seal their first ever World Cup finals victory with a 2-1 win.


Image: Nigerian Yakubu Aiyegbeni (left) clashes with Greece's Socratis Papastathopoulos

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Miserable start for France

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France's Yoann Gourcuff takes evasive action as Uruguay's Ignacio Gonzalez falls right next to him.

France failed to rise to the occasion again with a lacklustre performance in a tepid 0-0 draw with Uruguay.

France, runners up four years ago, had the chance to stamp their authority on the group by beating one of the outsiders. Instead, after an encouraging start, they lost their way completely, barely tested goalkeeper Fernando Muslera and failed even to take advantage of an 81st-minute red card for Uruguay substitute Nicolas Lodeiro.


Image: Uruguay's Ignacio Gonzalez (right) falls next to France midfielder Yoann Gourcuff

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