Sweden and England Advance with Draws; Argentina Eliminated
Group F, the so-called "Group of Death", concluded play with two draws today, sending Sweden and England through to the Round of 16 and killing the title chance of pre-tournament favorite Argentina, who are on their way home after three matches.
ENGLAND 0-0 NIGERIA
Coming into the game needing just a draw to advance from the group, England got what it needed and little more in its scoreless draw with already-elimintated Nigeria, who earned its first point with today's result.
The best opportunity for either side came in the 44th minute as a 25-yard shot from Paul Scholes was saved by goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama, who dove to tip the ball enough to make it glance off the goalpost and safely away. Enyeama posted the shutout in his World Cup debut today.
England advances as the second-place team in Group F and will face Group A winner Denmark in the Round of 16.
ARGENTINA 1-1 SWEDEN
Sweden played a conservative match against Argentina and got a free-kick goal from Anders Svensson that came against the run of play in the 59th minute, giving it some room to breathe. Argentina could not crack the Swedish defense as Magnus Hedman made some key saves behind a backline that did not give Argentina many open looks at goal, though the Argentines held a large majority of possession in the match. Argentina finally evened the score in the 88th minute as Hernan Crespo slotted home the rebound of a penalty kick by Ariel Ortega that Hedman saved. But Argentina would not get the win it needed and joins France as a popular favorite to win the tournament that is going home before the second phase.
Sweden advances as the group winner and will meet Senegal - the second-place team from Group A - in the Round of 16.