Lessons ignored as big guns stumble
© Getty Images

If history always tends to repeat itself, then looking back to the past is usually the best way to prepare for the future. That was the lesson brought into focus by Day 8 in South Africa, and while some teams passed the test with flying colours, others failed spectacularly to take heed.

Serbia's Nemanja Vidic certainly seemed not to have learnt from the handball his colleague Zdravko Kuzmanovic committed against Ghana, as he too conceded a penalty for a handling offence against Germany. Likewise, Lukas Podolski failed to recall where Ghana's Asamoah Gyan had placed his spot-kick, choosing instead to aim his penalty exactly where Vladimir Stojkovic had opted to dive last time out and allowing the goalkeeper to pull off a save.

Delving deeper into the past, Germany missed the chance to draw a positive omen pointing to victory in South Africa. Die Nationalmannschaft’s three FIFA World Cup™ wins in 1954, 1974 and 1990 all featured a victory over Yugoslavia but this time they will need to bounce back from a loss to  Balkan opposition.

As for Slovenia, they noted that the United States conceded an early goal against England and set the early tempo against the Stars and Stripes, taking the lead with 13 minutes gone and then doubling their advantage just before the break. The European team nonetheless seemed to forget that their opponents never give up, as Clint Dempsey's equaliser against the Three Lions proved, and Bob Bradley's charges repeated the feat to draw level through Landon Donovan and his son Michael.

Lastly, Fabio Capello and Rabah Saadane both opted for changes between the sticks when their England and Algeria line-ups faced off in the evening encounter. Robert Green and Faouzi Chaouchi paid the price for errors in their teams' previous outings and it was David James and Rais M'Bolhi who took over on the night. Ultimately, neither custodian needed to pick the ball out of his net in a goalless stalemate that no doubt pleased the north Africans more than it did England, Algeria having kept a clean sheet for the first time in eight FIFA World Cup sorties.

Results
Germany 0-1 Serbia
Slovenia 2-2 United States
England 0-0 Algeria

Goal of the day
Germany 0-1 Serbia, 38 mins: Milan Jovanovic took maximum points for artistic interpretation as he controlled Nikola Zigic's header across the face of goal with his chest and rapidly followed up with a scissor-kick beyond Manuel Neuer. It was the first winning strike for Serbia on the world stage – and ended a run of five consecutive defeats for Serbian footballers at the FIFA World Cup dating back to Yugoslavia's 1-0 win over USA at France 1998. Moreover, it propelled the Plavi right back into the reckoning.

One to remember
USA coach Bradley deserves plaudits for his double substitution at half-time during the game against Slovenia, his alterations changing the face of a game that his side were losing 2-0. Switching the formation to 4-3-3 allowed Landon Donovan to operate further forward and troubled a Slovenia side that had looked comfortable for much of the opening 45 minutes. By the time the final whistle blew, Donovan and Bradley Junior had levelled the scores and the US could celebrate their second successive draw of the tournament, a result which leaves them in control of their own destiny as they prepare to tackle Algeria.

Quote of the day
"There are no easy games at a World Cup. Spain lost, France lost and Germany lost. There are no favourites any more and the old rules don't apply. You don't win by saying you’ll win," Milovan Rajevac, Ghana coach, after Serbia's victory over Germany and ahead of his team's match against Australia.

Stat of the day
39
- Aged 39 years and 321 days, England goalkeeper David James is the oldest player ever to make his debut in the FIFA World Cup finals. The Portsmouth player, who turns 40 in August, is also the seventh oldest player to take part in the game's showpiece event. James marked the occasion by keeping a clean sheet against Algeria.

Voice of the fans
"Even if they'd carried on playing for another three days, Germany would never have won that match. Everything went against them and they missed lots of chances, including their first World Cup finals penalty miss since 1974. Sometimes that happens, though, and it just wasn't to be our day," hrooney, FIFA.com user.

Have your say
Can England and Germany, the respective favourites in Groups C and D, still reach the last 16?