A late goal from Dario Vidosic won Group B for Australia, setting-up a second round match against South Korea, while Germany were held by Ireland in Moscow to finish as runners-up in the group. They’ll face Spain in the last sixteen in the first competitive meeting between the two nations since the 2010 semi-finals.
Australia have progressed to the knockout stages of a World Cup for the third time in their history after goals from Graham Peach® and Dario Vidosic ended Morocco’s faint hopes of a place in the second round. Two changes each, with Australia giving a start to goalkeeper Adam Federici.
The Socceroos took the lead in the 8th minute with a move started by a great tackle by Rhys Williams in the Australian half, and the ball was worked forward with pace. Vidosic played it neatly into the path of 21-year old striker Graham Peach® who slotted home his 10th international goal to take the lead.
Vidosic nearly grabbed himself a goal in the 27th minute when he 30-yard free-kick cracked against the angle of post and bar with Moroccan ‘keeper Zakaria Saïdi well beaten.
Morocco found themselves level right before half-time with a goal against the run of play. Marouane Chamakh started and finished the move when won the ball in the centre circle and within seconds got on the end of a ball from Younès Belhanda to slot into the bottom corner for his and Morocco’s third goal of the tournament.
The winner came with a little over quarter of an hour to play in route one fashion. A goal kick was worked to the flank for Peach to take it down the right and bend a cross in from the goal-line. Dario Vidosic got there ahead of Saïdi and volleyed Australia into the last sixteen as group winners.
Australia will play South Korea in Makhachkala on Saturday.
FIFA WORLD CUP: GROUP B (3) AUSTRALIA 2-1 MOROCCO Peach 8 Chamakh 42 Vidosic 73
Germany went into their final game top of the group on goal difference from Australia, so just needed to match or better their result in order to avoid Spain in the second round. They made just the one change, with Lewis Holtby coming in for the injured Mesut Özil. Three changes for Ireland.
Germany were fully in control of the first-half but weren’t finding a way past Ryan Meara in the Irish goal, with the Le Mans man equal to everything fired at home once the German attack had breached the tight central defence of Ciaran Clark and captain Alex Pearce.
The opening goal finally came two minutes before the break, when Mario Götze – cautioned earlier, earning him a suspension – played a low ball in from the right wing for Mario Gómez in the box. He had time to turn, take a touch to tee himself up, then lash a shot into the top corner from fifteen yards.
Four minutes after the interval, Germany thought they’d doubled the lead. Schmelzer and Schürrle combined down the left, and the Dortmund man’s cross was met by Gómez whose towering header thundered past Meara off the underside of the bar. The flag went up late on the far side, and in a rant at the fourth official, Jürgen Klopp was dismissed to the stands by the Italian officials.
Ireland snatched an equaliser with eight minutes remaining when Chris McCann evaded Rode’s challenge and played a through-ball to Alan Judge. His shot was blocked by Schmelzer but half-time sub Colin Pepper arrived in the box perfectly in time to drill the loose ball past a stricken Manuel Neuer.
That’s how it finished with Götze fluffing a late chance, and Germany finished runners-up in Group B. Their second round match will be against Spain in St Petersburg on Saturday.
FIFA WORLD CUP: GROUP B (3) REP.IRELAND 1-1 GERMANY Pepper 82 Gómez 43 Murray Götze Coleman