It's hard to imagine that 10 days of the 2014 World Cup are already in the rear-view mirror. It's even harder to fathom that more than three weeks remain of the action in Brazil.
With the latter groups finishing up their second games of the round-robin group stage, things are starting to take shape among all of the foursomes. Elite nations have already seen their names removed from the competition, while unexpected countries have already clinched their spot in the next round.
On Day 10, the surprising results that we've seen throughout the World Cup have only continued, and the action has not disappointed.
Let's break down all of the results from Saturday's slate of matches.
|Group||Team 1||Result||Team 2|
Argentina 1, Iran 0
Argentina's game-winning goal was late, but it was nevertheless great. Lionel Messi's rip from outside the box in stoppage time propelled the Argentinians to three points in a 1-0 victory over Iran.
Playing in their home continent, many have high hopes for Argentina in this year's World Cup, and they are certainly one of the favorites to win it all. They looked like it early on, controlling the possession and owning most of the quality scoring chances.
Still, the match carried on into the second half tied at nil-nil. At times in the final 45 minutes, it looked like Iran were closer to notching the winner than Argentina were.
Then, Messi reminded everyone why he's regarded as the best player on the planet.
The Barcelona star got the ball outside of the box on the right side, dribbled into his spot and drilled home a finesse shot that curled around the Iranian goalkeeper and into the net. ESPN FC captured it:
Argentina weren't slow into their stride, but the offense sputtered, and they were left without answers. That is, until Messi took over.
Argentina manager Alejandro Sabella was enamored with Messi after the match, per Goal.com:
'When you have Messi, anything is possible' - Sabella http://t.co/byajJZBTU2— Goal (@goal_intl) June 21, 2014
Through two matches, it's hard to say that Argentina look like runaway favorites to make a deep run. But then again, look across the landscape of this World Cup and it's tough to pick out any favorite who has been convincing with their early play.
Argentina are in control of their group with one match to play against Nigeria. That's frankly all they can ask for, with the troubles that some of their fellow elite nations have faced in Brazil.
Germany 2, Ghana 2
Many of the top contenders in Brazil faltered in their opening matches, but not Germany. The Germans topped Portugal, 4-0, to open up Group G but lost pace a bit Saturday by drawing Ghana, 2-2.
Group G was pegged as the "group of death," and after breezing by in their opening 90 minutes, the Germans learned why on Saturday. Ghana gave them all they could handle early on and throughout the match.
BBC's Michael Oti Adjei captured a quote from Germany coach Joachim Low that perfectly describes the match:
"The second half was an open exchange of punches": Germany coach Joachim Lowe— Michael Oti Adjei (@OtiAdjei) June 21, 2014
But it was Germany who struck first in the second half, when Mario Goetze finished off a cross from Thomas Mueller to give them a 1-0 lead.
In a flash, Ghana retook control of the match. Andre Ayew scored his second goal of the World Cup on a header to bring the Ghanaians level just three minutes after Goetze's goal.
After that, Asamoah Gyan did the rest with his 63rd-minute goal to put Ghana ahead, 2-1, as Footy Vines captured:
GOAL!!! Ghana take a 2-1 lead as Gyan finishes superbly!!! https://t.co/RD4wDefZFS— Footy Vines.com (@Footy_Vines_) June 21, 2014
With their control over the group slipping away, Germany answered with a championship response. And it didn't hurt that they had Miroslav Klose on the bench to turn to.
Klose was inserted into the match in the 69th minute, and two minutes later, he scored to put Germany level.
Ghana was constantly pressuring Germany while on defense, and it paid off, as Squawka Football demonstrated:
But in the end, it didn't pay off enough for Ghana to net a late winner and take the crucial three points. Instead, they'll enter their final match against Portugal with just one point and needing help to advance.
Meanwhile, Saturday's result means the Germans won't have things wrapped up after two matches. That means they will be a full go against the Americans on June 26.
Jurgen Klinsmann can't like the sound of that.
Nigeria 1, Bosnia-Herzegovina 0
After performing admirably despite no points in a 2-1 opening defeat to Argentina, Bosnia-Herzegovina needed some sort of result against Nigeria on Saturday to stay alive in the World Cup.
They didn't do so. Controversy surrounded a final result of 1-0 that saw the Nigerians claim an all-important three points and eliminated Bosnia from advancing to the knockout stage.
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
Bosnia looked to pull ahead in the opening minutes of play, but it was called back in controversial fashion.
Edin Dzeko broke through and finished to put Bosnia ahead 1-0, but even though he looked onside, the referee blew it dead, as Bleacher Report UK captured:
Nigeria was quick to take advantage with Bosnia reeling. Peter Odemwingie broke through in the box to finish home a cross from Emmanuel Emenike in the 29th minute for the match's only goal.
Bosnia-Herzegovina continued to press and press, knowing that no points would result in their elimination. They produced a plethora of quality scoring chances in the second half, but none were put into the back of the net.
The win was crucial for the Nigerians, who face Argentina next. With four points through two games, they might not even need a result there to advance to the next round.
Meanwhile, Bosnia-Herzegovina sees its first appearance in the World Cup as an independent nation end on a sour note. They will face Iran in their close-out match on June 25.
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