The surprises at the 2014 World Cup just keep on coming, and the top goalscorers in Brazil are making their presence felt with strike after strike.
Many of the world's best now have two matches under their belts, which means the tally for the Golden Boot is rising by the day. With 11 matches in three games on Friday, that only set the stage for a high-flying day of action in Brazil throughout Saturday.
Let's break down the complete Day 10 results as they happen, take a look at the updated list of goalscorers and see who's currently in the lead for the Golden Boot.
|Group||Team 1||Result||Team 2|
Golden Boot Watch
|Robin van Persie||Netherlands||3|
|Bryan Ruiz||Costa Rica||1|
|Lee Keun-Ho||South Korea||1|
|Joel Campbell||Costa Rica||1|
|Oscar Duarte||Costa Rica||1|
|Marcos Urena||Costa Rica||1|
|Stefan de Vrij||Netherlands||1|
|Wilfried Bony||Ivory Coast||1|
|Clint Dempsey||United States||1|
|John Anthony Brooks||United States||1|
All it takes is one.
Not much interested in style points on Saturday, Argentina had their hands full throughout more than 90 minutes of play against Iran in a Group F tilt. They had their best chances in the first half, and at times late in the match it looked like Iran would not only steal a point, but perhaps three.
Then, Lionel Messi showed up.
Unlike the Bosnia game in which he scored the Argentines' crucial second goal in the 65th minute, Messi took his time saving the day on Saturday. But just like his first goal in Brazil, he took it upon himself, navigating his way to the top of the box and striking a beautiful finesse shot past Iranian goalkeeper Alireza Haghighi in stoppage time.
ESPN FC captured footage of Messi's splendid goal:
Just a few minutes later, Argentina had squeaked away with a 1-0 victory after being stuck in a scoreless affair for more than an hour and a half of game time.
Messi wasn't busy on the day with few chances, as the Iranian defense did well to thwart Argentina's offense and keep it at bay for the second half. But he was nearly perfect in passing, as Squawka Football demonstrated:
Messi's emergence had ESPN's Ian Darke noticing a trend and warning the Americans, who face a star of their own on Sunday:
Top names turning up. Two each for Messi Neymar and Suarez. USA beware Ronaldo tomorrow— Ian Darke (@IanDarke) June 21, 2014
Paul Carr of ESPN noted the impact on the history books from Messi's goal:
Lionel Messi (90'+1) scores Argentina's latest-ever #WorldCup goal in regulation (excluding extra time).— Paul Carr (@PCarrESPN) June 21, 2014
Miguel Delaney of ESPN capped up the words of Argentine manager Alejandro Sabella after the match:
Sabella has apparently said "with Messi, anything is possible".— Miguel Delaney (@MiguelDelaney) June 21, 2014
Argentina may not have been in the type of position that many of their fellow elite nations have been in as far as not advancing, but failing to win would've put more pressure on them in the final match. With six points through two games in a relatively weak Group F, Messi seems to have steered the Argentines into position for an easy win of the group.
How many World Cup goals will Messi score? (current total: 2)
Matches like Saturday's are a true test of a team's ability to go far in the tournament. Things weren't going Argentina's way and Iran weren't relenting, but they found a way to get the ball to their impact player and allowed him the space to put them in front.
Messi is far from the only big name to emerge in Brazil over the past few days, but with the degree of difficulty in his latest goal and the high stakes that it happened in, it was nothing short of incredible. His two goals on the tournament are still short of the five players tied at three goals, but he's only one more magnificent strike away from being right there.
Germany took to the pitch against Ghana with the chance to take a stranglehold over Group G and Thomas Muller had a chance to separate himself in the Golden Boot race.
Neither happened. Muller was held scoreless, and Germany had to mount a late comeback to draw Ghana in a 2-2 affair in Fortaleza.
There was nothing doing between the two through one half, but Mario Gotze put the Germans in front shortly into the final frame. It was quickly answered three minutes later from Andre Ayew—who scored his second goal of the tournament after netting one against the U.S.—to level it up at one apiece.
But one wasn't enough for Ghana, who kept pressing and found what looked to be the game-winner in the 63rd minute off a blast from Asamoah Gyan, per Footy Vines:
GOAL!!! Ghana take a 2-1 lead as Gyan finishes superbly!!! https://t.co/RD4wDefZFS— Footy Vines.com (@Footy_Vines_) June 21, 2014
Suddenly, Germany was on the verge of leaving Fortaleza with no points and no control over the group. Their offense tired and overwhelmed with Ghana's constant pressure, they needed a hero to save the day.
Enter Miroslav Klose.
The 36-year-old veteran is no longer a staple in the starting 11, but made the 23-man roster for moments like this. He's tailor-made for them.
Within two minutes of being substituted on, Klose cleaned up a corner kick at the far post and put his cleat to the ball and equalized as shown by ESPN FC:
WATCH Klose's record-equalling goal: http://t.co/TzSUXR74Jd— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) June 21, 2014
Klose's best days may be behind him, but he showed on Saturday in Brazil that he's still got it, per Squawka Football (spoiler alert—he ended the front-flip attempt on his backside):
Of course, Klose's goal was filled with historical significance.
Not only was it his 15th World Cup goal, which tied the all-time record set by Ronaldo, but Klose also became the third player ever to score in four World Cups, per ESPN Stats and Information:
Germany's draw means that the United States can clinch their spot in the knockout stage with a victory over Portugal. It also keeps the door cracked open for Ghana, who can make things interesting with a favorable result in their final game against the Portuguese.
But while U.S. fans will be excited at the prospect of advancing Sunday, it will be an uphill climb if they don't. Unlike most expected, Germany haven't clinched their spot just yet and will be gunning hard for a win against the Americans in a game that might decide the USA's fate.
In the final match of Saturday's slate, Nigeria eliminated Bosnia-Herzegovina from contention in a 1-0 victory in Cuiaba.
ESPN SportsCenter summed up the result:
Nigeria holds on! Peter Odemwingie's goal the difference in 1-0 win. Bosnia-Herzegovina eliminated from World Cup. pic.twitter.com/62WfNxWiUG— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 21, 2014
Controversy took center stage throughout the first half. A Bosnian goal in the opening minutes was disallowed on a phantom offsides call, and minutes later, Nigeria went ahead after a noticeable no-call on a Nigerian attacker who seemed to foul a Bosnian player while entering the box.
It wasn't called, and Nigeria held a 1-0 lead. That didn't change throughout the second half amid a slew of Bosnian opportunities to equalize.
As Bleacher Report UK noted, Edin Dzeko had a masterful chance in stoppage time that Nigerian goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama turned aside:
Bosnia-Herzegovina performed well at times in their first appearance in the World Cup as an independent nation, but were effectively eliminated from the knockout stage after opening with two losses.
Meanwhile, Nigeria now have four points through two games and can wrap up their spot in the knockout stage against Argentina on June 25.
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