On Day 10 of the 2014 World Cup, every match was a nail-biter.
This surprised oddsmakers. Argentina entered its match against Iran an overwhelming 3-25 favorite, according to Odds Shark. But the showdown was anything but a cakewalk.
Beforehand, though, Iran captain Javad Nekounam asked for Lionel Messi's shirt during handshakes.
Anyway, after shutting out Nigeria, Iran goalie Alireza Haghighi had another outstanding outing. He finished with four saves, and despite the fact that Argentina possessed the ball 70 percent of the match and attempted over twice as many shots on goal as Iran, the scoreboard still read 0-0 90 minutes into the match.
But then in extra time, Messi happened, again. On Day 4, he put Argentina up by the score of 2-1 over Bosnia and Herzegovina with a goal in the 65th minute. And on Saturday, he put Argentina up 1-0 over Iran in the 91st minute.
Messi isn't quite on pace to win the Golden Boot award, but he's definitely in the discussion for the Golden Ball. Nekounam will vouch for him.
Without Messi, Argentina would be winless.
Germany faced a winless team, Ghana, in the second match of the day. And after Germany thrashed Portugal 4-0, a blowout seemed inevitable against Ghana. It entered a heavy 2-5 favorite to win, according to Odds Shark.
Well, so much for that.
Germany went into halftime against Portugal up 3-0. It went into halftime on Saturday tied 0-0 with a team that lost 2-1 to the United States. (To put what's wrong with this picture into perspective, Portugal is No. 4 in FIFA's World Ranking. The U.S. is No. 13).
Only 51 minutes in did Germany finally build a lead with a Mario Goetze goal. It didn't last long, though.
Just three minutes later, Ghana's Andre Ayew scored and had Germany fearing a draw. Then nine minutes later, Germany feared more than a draw after Ghana's Asamoah Gyan scored another, putting it on top 2-1.
Despite possessing the ball 59 percent of the match, Germany attempted nine fewer shots and four fewer shots on goal than Ghana on the game. In spite of its poor play, Germany's Miroslav Klose managed to tie the score 71 minutes in.
With the goal, the 36-year-old Klose tied Claro Ronaldo at 15 for the most goals by a player in World Cup history.
Now, while the first match of Day 10 got Messi, the second got messy.
Despite Thomas Mueller sacrificing his face for the team, Ghana held on to force a 2-2 draw.
The third match of the day looked headed for a draw. These were supposed to be Saturday's most evenly matched teams. They scored a combined one goal in their opening matches, and Bosnia and Herzegovina was only a 21-20 favorite, according to Odds Shark.
However, the fastest goal of Day 10 was scored by a team that hadn't scored in the World Cup yet, Nigeria. Peter Odemwingie scored 29 minutes in to give Nigeria a 1-0 lead.
In a matchup with little offensive firepower, the lead looked like it would hold. It did.
Bosnia and Herzegovina could've lost by more, though. Its goalie, Asmir Begovic, recorded a whopping eight saves.
Of course, it also shouldn't have even lost. First off, it possessed the ball 60 percent of the match, and it still attempted fewer shots on goal than Nigeria. This is reason to blame itself.
But more importantly, Bosnia and Herzegovina has reason to blame the referees. This would-be goal by Edin Dzeko didn't count because the ref mistakenly called him offside.
There goes Bosnia and Herzegovina's chance at advancing to the knockout round.
Here are updated standings after Day 10's action.
|4||Bosnia and Herzegovina||0||-2||2||0||0||2||1||3|
David Daniels is a columnist at Bleacher Report. He tweets, too.
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