World Cup 2014: Winners and Losers from Day 10
Day 10 of the 2014 FIFA World Cup was record-setting, entertaining and, not surprisingly, somewhat controversial.
Finally, the officials were at the centre of things in Cuiaba as Nigeria downed Bosnia-Herzegovina 1-0.
The following are the biggest winners and losers from another intriguing day in Brazil.
Winner: Asamoah Gyan, Who Scored a Fifth World Cup Goal
Before Saturday, only one African international had managed to score five World Cup goals.
Roger Milla accomplished the feat between the 1990 and 1994 tournaments, but with his 63rd-minute strike against Germany, Asamoah Gyan pulled level with the iconic Cameroon striker.
Gyan, however, refused to talk about himself in his post-match remarks.
“It was a great game and I would like to congratulate the team,” the 28-year-old told the BBC after the match. “We saw the real Ghana today. We were tactically perfect.”
Loser: Philipp Lahm, Who Gifted Ghana a Goal
Philipp Lahm is one of world football’s most highly regarded ball-distributors.
On Saturday, however, the Germany captain committed an error that quite nearly cost his side all three points against Ghana.
Shortly after the hour mark in Fortaleza, Lahm had a pass picked off by Sulley Muntari, who then proceeded to send Asamoah Gyan through to score.
The goal gave the Black Stars a 2-1 lead, but thanks to Miroslav Klose’s heroics just eight minutes later, Lahm’s mistake wasn’t as disastrous as it could have been.
Winner: Lionel Messi, Who Scored a Wondrous Winner Against Iran
It likely wasn’t all that fun to face Iran on Saturday.
Team Melli manager Carlos Queiroz set his side up to contain a high-octane Argentina outfit in Belo Horizonte, and until the 90th minute it seemed he had got his tactics spot on.
But no amount of tactical nous can defend against genius, which is what Lionel Messi conjured up with time ticking off the referee’s watch.
The Barcelona forward shifted the ball onto his left foot, and after teeing himself up for a long-range effort, he beat Iran goalkeeper Alireza Haghighi with a masterful shot.
Loser: Carlos Queiroz, Who Was a Sore Loser
Did Iran deserve a draw against Argentina? Perhaps. But they didn’t get one—a reality Team Melli manager Carlos Queiroz found difficult to digest at the final whistle.
“There was a clear penalty and the small details can make the difference,” the Portuguese remarked, as per ESPN FC. “In these 90 minutes we competed to honour the game, but the referee was not on the same level.”
Queiroz was incensed at the decision not to award Ashkan Dejagah a penalty after a perceived foul on the attacker by Pablo Zabaleta, but replays clearly showed the Manchester City right-back had touched the ball first.
Winner: Stephen Keshi, Who Swallowed His Pride on Saturday
Nigeria manager Stephen Keshi and Super Eagles attacker Peter Odemwingie have rarely seen eye to eye.
Keshi guided Nigeria to Africa Cup of Nations glory in 2013, having left Odemwingie off his squad for the tournament in South Africa. In an April interview with the BBC, Odemwingie admitted he had been in an “angry state of mind.”
But on Saturday against Bosnia and Herzegovina, Keshi swallowed his pride and restored Odemwingie to the starting line-up.
The 32-year-old, for his part, repaid his manager’s decision by opening the scoring in the first half, accounting for Nigeria's winning goal.
Loser: The Boatengs, Who Hardly Made for a Family Drama
One of the prevailing storylines coming into Saturday was the head-to-head meeting between brothers Jerome and Kevin-Prince Boateng—the former a Germany right-back and the latter a Ghana midfielder.
Their performances did not live up to the billing.
With Kwadwo Asamoah and Andre Ayew tormenting Boateng down Ghana’s left-hand side, Germany manager Joachim Low opted to withdraw the Bayern Munich man at the break in favour of Shkodran Mustafi.
Kevin-Prince, meanwhile, lasted only seven minutes after the restart before being replaced by Jordan Ayew.
Winner: Miroslav Klose, Who Tied Ronaldo’s Record
Miroslav Klose’s equaliser against Ghana was the Germany international’s 15th goal at a World Cup—a total that took him level with all-time record-holder and Brazilian great Ronaldo.
It also put Klose in the company of Pele and Uwe Seeler—the only other players to have found the back of the net in four World Cups.
Mike Wise of The Washington Post put an interesting twist on Klose’s introduction as a substitute that highlighted the player’s value to the team.
Writing on Twitter, Wise said: “How about bringing Klose off the bench. That's like hiding a healthy Kobe for the fourth quarter.”
Of most importance to his team, however, will have been the point he helped them earn in Fortaleza.
Loser: Peter O’Leary and His Officiating Crew, Who Robbed Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina should have taken a first-half lead against Nigeria when Eden Dzeko evaded his marker and struck a composed finish past goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama.
His tally failed to stand, however, as the linesman raised his flag for offside—denying the Manchester City striker a perfectly good goal.
Then, just a few minutes later, Nigeria's Emmanuel Emenike seemed to grab Emir Spahic from behind before setting up Peter Odemwingie’s goal. Even Emenike hesitated, anticipating a foul, before realising that referee Peter O’Leary had allowed play to continue.
Bosnia and Herzegovina went back down the tunnel at the break understandably aggrieved, and they never recovered.