Admit it---you've missed me.
And there's no better evidence than the whopping 1 comment in the last post.
Took me a little longer than promised, but I'm back and intact, at least as much as I can be after watching the US win it at the death against Algeria this morning. Absolutely breathtaking stuff, and a continuation of some fascinating moments in the past week of the World Cup.
Last week when I posted I gave the run-down of the different Liverpool internationals in action, and having anticipated a return to full strength on Sunday, I neglected some deciding games that have occurred in the past couple days. So let's get all caught up on the Liverpool players at the World Cup, and then we'll get to all that juicy news about nobody because nothing has actually happened.
Thursday, June 17
Argentina 4, South Korea 1: As reported last Thursday, both Javier Mascherano and Maxi Rodriguez were in the starting eleven as Gonzalo Higuain netted a hat-trick to ease the eventual Group B winners past South Korea.
Greece 2, Nigeria 1: At the time of writing on Thursday Kalu Uche had just given Nigeria a 1-0 lead, but Sotirios Kyrgiakos and Greece fought back to earn all three points in a 2-1 victory.Kyrgiakos played a full 90 and, at least from what I saw, kept it together in a tight affair.
Friday, June 18
England 0, Algeria 0: Undoubtedly one of the more disappointing matches involving three of Liverpool's highest profile players at the World Cup. Steven Gerrard, Jamie Carragher, and Glen Johnson all played a full ninety in the scoreless draw. Algeria proved exceptionally difficult to break down, but England looked out of ideas and extremely frustrated.
Milan Jovanovic and Serbia got past Germany 1-0, with Jovanovic netting the winner in the 37th minute. Not official Liverpool business, though, as the pre-contract agreement has now been cast into great doubt because Jovanovic told someone what the terms were. Gasp!
Saturday, June 19
Netherlands 1, Japan 0: Another match in which the Dutch had some difficulties but managed to get all three points and secure their place in the round of 16. Dirk Kuyt once again started and played the entire match, and while he didn't get on the score sheet, he had a typically industrious performance in complementing Holland's "Fab Four." No appearance for Ryan Babel, who is clearly deep down the pecking order off the bench for Bert van Marwijk behind Eljero Elia and Ibrahim Afellay.
Denmark 2, Cameroon 1: Better result for Daniel Agger and Denmark as they fought back from a 1-0 deficit after Samuel Eto'o's 10th minute opener. Agger was less than pleased with the performance, but goals from Dennis Rommedahl and Nicklas Bendtner gave the Danes a lifeline to advance and condemned Cameroon to a first-round exit.
Sunday, June 20 (the day I entered my late 20s)
Paraguay 2, Slovakia 0: Unfortunately for Martin Skrtel and Slovakia, they mirrored my gradual fading into oblivion by falling to a solid Paraguayan side. Not the best of days for Skrtel, who was lucky to escape a booking on a number of occasions, most notably a bad challenge on Roque Santa Cruz in the 65th minute. They're not completely out of it, though, as a win against an underwhelming Italy combined with a New Zealand loss would see them through. But let's be honest, we're all rooting for New Zealand to somehow move forward.
Monday, June 21
Spain 2, Honduras 0: The Euro champions started to look like themselves again, even with a number of missed chances by Liverpool's Fernando Torres. He was able to work himself into time and space a handful of times, but the final touch was lacking and he was replaced with Juan Mata in the 70th minute. Even with the spurned chances, I'd expect Torres to again feature as the point man when Spain take on Chile in Friday's final Group H match, mostly in hopes that he's starting to find his legs again after a long lay-off.
Tuesday, June 22
Argentina 2, Greece 0: In one of only a handful of matches in the group stage that saw Liverpool squad members face off, Maxi Rodriguez helped send home Sotirios Kyrgiakos and Greece. Argentina had already secured their progression to the round of 16, allowing tactical idiot savant Diego Maradona to give Javier Mascherano the night off. Disappointing for Kyrgiakos and Greece, who had to be riding high after the comeback against Nigeria. Argentina cemented themselves atop Group B and will face familiar foe and Group A runners-up Mexico in the round of 16 on Sunday.
Wednesday, June 23
England 1, Slovenia 0: It was heartbreak for Slovenia, who saw a number of chances go begging in the match and then had to watch as Landon Donovan slotted home the match and group winner against Algeria. Jamie Carragher was suspended, but both Steven Gerrard and Glen Johnson played a large part in seeing England escape what would have lived on as an infamous failure. Jermain Defoe's goal in the 23rd minute proved to be enough, and England move on as the second team out of Group C to face Group D winners Germany.
Milan Jovanovic and Serbia just finished a dramatic 2-1 loss to Australia which leaves both sides on the outside looking in. Obviously more to come regarding Jovanovic as the summer slogs along.
So now we find ourselves with only two days and eight matches left in group play, with plenty yet to be decided in all four groups. It's been a fantastically quick few weeks, and as the knockout rounds approach all eyes will continue to be on South Africa.
As usual, should anything concrete develop, you'll find it here. In the meantime, I truly hope you're enjoying a World Cup that, for me at least, has started to live up to the hype.
Follow all of Liverpool's internationals during the World Cup at World Cup Blog.