“Call me RamKING Sharma,” Omardath Maraj, a joint winner of this year’s Chutney Soca Monarch, jokingly said as our interview was about to begin.
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Germans withstand plucky Algeria
PORTO ALEGRE—Substitute Andre Schuerrle and Mesut Ozil scored in extra time yesterday to lead Germany over an aggressive Algeria 2-1 and into the World Cup quarterfinals.
Thomas Mueller provided a cross from the left flank that was slightly behind Schuerrle. The Germany forward dragged his left leg and backheeled the ball into the far corner in the 92nd minute, leaving goalkeeper Rais Mbolhi with no chance.
Ozil added the second in the 120th, and substitute Abdelmoumene Djabou pulled one back in injury time for Algeria.
Three-time champion Germany, which has now advanced past the second round at nine consecutive World Cups, will next face 1998 winner France on Friday at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro.
With the temperature a chilly 14 degrees Celsius (57 degrees Fahrenheit) and a light rain falling at times, the pace was high at the Estadio Beira-Rio but the goals didn’t come until the end.
Ozil thought he had put the result out of reach when he pounded in a rebound after a shot from Schuerrle was cleared off the line by defender Esseid Belkalem, but Djabou volleyed in a minute later to make the last seconds count.
Perhaps inspired by the “Disgrace of Gijon” at the 1982 World Cup, when Germany and Austria supposedly conspired to oust Algeria in the group stage, the northern African nation outmatched Germany’s intensity for long stretches in an entertaining match.
Algeria was playing in the second round of the World Cup for the first time and dominated early on. A goal from Islam Slimani was waved off for offside in the 17th, one of many opportunities for the Algeria striker.
At the start of the second half, Germany put Schuerrle on for Mario Goetze in an attacking midfield and came out better organized.
In the 55th, Germany captain Philipp Lahm unleashed a hard shot that an outstretched Rais did well to push wide with his fingertips.
Still, Algeria continued to produce dangerous counterattacks. In the 72nd, Neuer had to come out of his area to head away the danger with Slimani chasing.
In the 88th, Germany’s inability to find the target turned theatrical for a moment when Mueller appeared to fall during a free kick. (AP)
At a glance
France 2 (Paul Pogba 79, Joseph Yogo 90+1 og) vs Nigeria 0
Germany 2 (A Schurrle 92, Mesut Ozil 119) vs Algeria 1 (A Djabou 120+1)
Argentina vs Switzerland, Sao Paulo, noon
Argentina have had an average possession figure of 65 per cent so far at this tournament - the highest in this finals and their highest average at a World Cup finals since 1966.
Four of Argentina’s last seven World Cup goals have come from outside the box, including half of their six goals (3) at this tournament.
Switzerland have been knocked out in the second round in their two previous appearances at this stage (versus Spain in 1994 and versus Ukraine in 2006).
This will be the seventh international meeting between Argentina and Switzerland. Argentina are unbeaten in their previous six (W4 D2).
Belgium vs USA, Salvador, 4 pm
Belgium won all three of their group games at a World Cup for the first time. It was also the first time they had won three successive matches in the competition.
Only Iran (30 per cent) had a lower average possession figure in the group stage than Jurgen Klinsmann’s side (39 per cent).
The last six Belgian goals at World Cups have come in the closing 20 minutes of matches
No Matches tomorrow and Thursday
Matches resume on Friday
Quarterfinal: Brazil vs Colombia, Estadio Governador Aderaldo Castleo, 4
FIFA has suspended the spokesman of the Brazilian football confederation for one match over a confrontation with Chilean player Mauricio Pinilla on the sidelines during their World Cup match Saturday.
FIFA spokeswoman Delia Fisher said Rodrigo Paiva would be suspended for the quarterfinal match Friday in Fortaleza between Brazil and Colombia.
Fischer said “he had received a kind of red-card suspension during the game.” She gave no details of other possible punishment and said the investigation was “on-going.”
Paiva and Pinilla got into a shoving match as the teams headed to the dressing room at halftime of the second-round match in Belo Horizonte.
Pavia denied throwing any punches. Brazil advanced after a penalty shootout.