Wednesday 14 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 seven
Match one: Ecuador vs Costa Rica
Martinez is out for Costa Rica, replaced by Umana who immediately looks at home in a three-man defence. The rest of the team, however, look uninspired, and much of Costa Rica's play in the first half goes backwards - except when, against the run of play, a series of straight passes through the middle finds Wanchope. The striker snakes past two defenders and neatly tucks a shot under the Ecuador keeper to put his side ahead.
Ecuador start better in the second half, but are playing too narrow to trouble Costa Rica's well marshalled midfield. A few crosses go soaring into the box, and straight on to the head of a striker, but there's no quality in the finish. Finally, despite striker Borja performing a brilliant shot that really tests the keeper in the last minutes, Ecuador can't muster enough attacking spirit and suffer a dreary defeat.
PES predicts: Ecuador 0, Costa Rica 1
Above: Robinson is trapped behind his defender and can do nothing to stop Jones' back-header arching into the net
Match two: England vs Trinidad & Tobago
Look away England fans - it's a terrible result for what should be one of the best teams in the tournament. After threatening consistently with some excellent wide play, a mess up in front of the English goalmouth sees Trinidad & Tobago take the lead. A poor clearance from a cornerkick sees Lampard attempt to control the ball on his chest, but it drops to Trinidad's Jones, who leaps high and scuffs the ball over the helpless Robinson to score.
For the rest of the match England looks lost and rushed, rarely stringing together more than a few passes at a time before being caught in possession. Owen pulls a great chance wide, Beckham pings in a shot from 35 yards and Joe Cole just skims the post a few seconds before the whistle, and PES even decides to bring Rooney on for the dying seconds. But it's too late - England suffer an embarrassing loss.
PES predicts: England 0, Trinidad & Tobago 1
Match three: Sweden vs Paraguay
Paraguay's goalkeeper Villar is injured and out of the competition, replaced by Bobadilla. Despite this, Paraguay start brightly, bursting through Sweden's defence. But they don't have the pace to beat the Swedish players and each attack is efficiently mopped up. However, Sweden fail to hold on to possession and, despite Larsson lobbing over the keeper and striking the crossbar, they fail to threaten in the first half.
Another slow half sees only five minutes of true action - Santa Cruz has a storming shot saved by the Swedish goalkeeper before Wilhelmsson has his own blast palmed away at the other end. Sweden have by far the easiest chance to finish the game off in the last 10 minutes but Wilhelmsson sends a poorly judged lob into the box after brilliantly skinning his marker and, in the end, neither side deserve more than a draw.
PES predicts: Sweden 0, Paraguay 0