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Two More Groups Complete First Round World Cup Play


Two more groups have completed first round play at football's World Cup in Germany. Italy and Ghana emerged from Group E to advance while Brazil and Australia are the top two nations from Group F.

Italy beat the Czech Republic, 2-0, Thursday in Hamburg to win its group. Italy scored in the 26th minute and again in the 87th minute while the Czechs played the second half with 10 men.

Ghana turned out to be the big surprise in its first appearance at the World Cup, getting a second straight victory with a 2-1 win over the United States in Nuremberg. A controversial penalty call led to the game winner by captain Stephen Appiah in the second minute of first-half injury time.

Five-time and defending champion Brazil had already qualified for the second round, and eliminated Japan with a 4-1 triumph in Dortmund. Ronaldo scored twice to tie German Gerd Müller for the all-time World Cup scoring record with 14 goals.

Australia and Croatia played to a 2-2 draw in Stuttgart. The Aussies finished second in Group F with four points while Croatia was eliminated with two. Italy will play Australia in the single elimination second round while Brazil and Ghana will meet.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.
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