Friday, June 25, 2010

Schedule of Round of 16 of FIFA World Cup Football 2010

Group stage of FIFA World Cup 2010 has been finished today. There were 48 matches held over the last 14 days with minimum 2 and maximum 4 matches being taken place per day. Out of 32 participating teams, 16 have progressed to the knock out stage, while other 16 sides have been eliminated from the tournament.

There were 101 goals in 48 matches averaging 2.10 goals per match. Unfortunately, this is the lowest ever scoring rate in group stage since the number of participating teams was increased to 32 in 1998 World Cup. There were 5 matches that ended up without producing any goal. Portugal’s 7-0 win over North Korea was the highest margin victory.

Round of 16, the first stage of the knock-out round, begins from 26 June. There will be 8 matches in the space of 4 days- meaning 2 matches per day. The losing teams would be knocked out of the tournament, while the winning sides would reach the quarter final. So, round of 16 would see 8 more teams to be eliminated from the tournament.

If a match ends up in a draw after 90 minutes of playing, there will be 30 minutes of extra time split into two 15-minute periods. If the tie is still not broken, then penalty shootout would come into effect to break the tie between the two sides.

In penalty shootout, each team is allowed to take 5 penalties and the team with highest number of goals from those 5 penalties is declared winner of the match. However, if the match is still tied, then ‘sudden death’ is used to decide the winner.

Sudden death is a phase which comes into effect when penalty shootout fails to break the tie. In sudden death, each team is allowed to take just 1 penalty, and the process continues alternatively until the tie is broken.

Here is the time and schedule of round of 16 matches of World Cup Football 2010:

Uruguay vs South Korea – 26 June – 14:00 GMT - Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth

USA vs Ghana – 26 June – 18:30 GMT - Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg

England vs Germany – 27 June – 14:00 GMT - Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein

Argentina vs Mexico – 27 June – 18:30 GMT - Soccer City, Johannesburg

Netherlands vs Slovakia – 28 June – 14:00 GMT - Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban

Brazil vs Chile – 28 June – 18:30 GMT - Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg

Paraguay vs Japan – 29 June – 14:00 GMT - Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Pretoria

Spain vs Portugal – 29 June – 18:30 GMT - Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town

England-Germany and Spain-Portugal matches could be the highlights of round of 16 as the two fixtures would eliminate two tournament favorites. Brazil and Netherlands have got comparatively easy opponents in Chile and Slovakia respectively.

Ghana, the only torch-bearer of Africa, would face some stiff competition from USA, while Uruguay-South Korea match could present some mesmerizing show of football. Mexico could create some serious problems for in-form Argentina, while Japan and Paraguay are happy to get each other as their opponent in round of 16.

Despite the poor scoring rate in the group stage, there were some highly entertaining matches with a number of upsets being produced by the minnows. Elimination of defending Champion Italy and last tournament’s losing finalist France were the highlights of the group stage.

Slovakia, playing their first ever World Cup finals, made it to the round of 16 after creating an upset with a 3-2 win over Italy. France’s defeat to Mexico and South Africa were other notable upsets.

Moreover, Serbia’s 1-0 win over Germany, Switzerland’s 1-0 win over European champion Spain, New Zealand’s 1-1 draw with Italy, Algeria’s goalless draw with England, Slovenia’s 2-2 stalemate with USA, also created some buzz in the football world. Overall, the minnows like Slovakia, Slovenia, Algeria, New Zealand, Serbia and South Africa impressed with their performance.

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