Monday 12 June 2006
Throughout the 2006 World Cup we'll be predicting each day's results - using Pro Evolution Soccer! We'll select the teams and let the game play out the action on its own, before posting a quick match report and the final, PES-predicted score.
2006 World Cup: Day four
Match one: Australia vs Japan
Kewell is a slight doubt for the Socceroos, and starts on the bench, while Japan are without winger Akira Kaji. Both sides play a highly attacking 3-4-3 formation, but Japan can only muster two shots on goal in the whole game. Australia, on the other hand, bangs in a few good tries but are ultimately unable to find the back of the net.
Bresciano, Kewell's replacement in the starting XI, has the best two chances, forcing some brilliant saves from Japan's athletic keeper. Australia should win this, but the final chance of the game sums it up for the team from down under, with Viduka's blinding header bouncing off both the inside of the crossbar and the upright before bounding clear of goal.
PES predicts: Australia 0, Japan 0
Match two: USA vs Czech Republic
The dullest game yet, this clash between Czech Republic - one of this World Cup's favourites - and the USA is played under a constant sheet of rain, which slows down any attacking moves. Despite breaking through the USA's brittle midfield defensive line, the Czechs are unwilling to have a blast at goal, with their best chances only coming from last-ditch shots deep into the opposition's box.
Meanwhile, America's strikers never stand a chance, left deserted by the players behind them. A plodding match, but USA shows some spark in the dying minutes, and only the sheer muscle of the Czech backline stops this game from becoming interesting at the last.
PES predicts: USA 0, Czech Republic 0
Match three: Italy vs Ghana
Both Zambrotta and Gattuso are out for the Italians, replaced by Oddo and Perrotta, respectively. The first half is all Italy and within 10 minutes they are ahead, gifted an early penalty by a reckless challenge from a Ghanaian defender in his own box. Totti steps up and smashes the ball straight into the net to put the Italians ahead.
After that, though, the chances dry up, with Toni getting the best of the game; raking a shot across the face of goal but watching the Ghana goalkeeper claw it away with an impressive save. The final 10 minutes sees Ghana step up the pressure, but they lack a cutting edge finish - striker Amoah twice looping a great cross way over the bar in under five minutes to seal Italy's victory.
PES predicts: Italy 1, Ghana 0
Day one, Day two, Day three