World Cup: Recaps

Keeping up with the Cup: Groups C and D

Surprises all around as Italy, England, Japan and the Ivory Coast are going home. The two matches that mattered were not decided until the last ten minutes, and Greece needed an injury time penalty to sneak into the knockout rounds.

England 0-0 Costa Rica

Roy Hodgson dropped all but 2 starters from England’s disappointing loss to Uruguay, and… got exactly the same type of tepid performance. England’s highly touted young midfielders underperformed to a man, with Raheem Sterling the only first-timer to leave much of an impression in Brazil. Ross Barkley, Adam Lallana, Jack Wilshere, and Jordan Henderson all took hits to their burgeoning reputations while Costa Rica and Italy found strong contributions from unlikely sources.

That’s the full summary from this game. It was pointless and boring.

Takeaways

Stop trying to make Wayne Rooney happen.

In Daniel Sturridge, England should have a world class striker for at least one more World Cup. This has not happened in a while. Can they make the best of it?

Stop trying to make Danny Welbeck happen.

How good is this Costa Rica team? They have a very good shot at making it into the final eight.

Uruguay 1-0 Italy

England can take solace, however, in likely being the last team to see Luis Suarez at his immaculate best on the international stage. The Liverpool striker faces a lengthy spell in the press box after he bit an opposing player for – unbelievably – the third time in his career. As usual, the bite was unprovoked, sudden, absurd, heinous, and, ultimately, difficult to understand. The closest you may come is this piece by Wright Thompson, which gets about halfway there before self-indulgence sets in.

Suarez was something less than stellar against Italy yesterday, but the man who should be challenging for Uruguay’s player of the year came through in the clutch. Diego Godin’s late header sent the Italians home early, and deservedly so. Italy played for a tie, using Marco Verratti in the hole behind Ciro Immobile for much of the second half.

Takeaways

Suarez. Biting. Nothing else comes close.

Ivory Coast 1-2 Greece

A penalty call… but was it a penalty? Did Giorgio Samaras trip over his own feet or did Giovanni Sio clip the Greek big man? Greece won’t care, and for the Ivory Coast it was the final blow for the country’s best generation. Didier Drogba, along with Yaya and Kolo Toure, are done on the international stage. And they were booted out by a Greek team that, for once, tried to be proactive. They were not very good at it, but the attempt was more than could have been expected.

Takeaways

Didier Drogba’s political future is that much closer.

Greece has not played great soccer, but Japan and the Ivory Coast were much, much worse.

Remember when Gervinho was a dangerous winger for Arsenal? No, nobody does.

Colombia 4-1 Japan

James Rodriguez, the extremely talented otherColombian that Monaco acquired the summer they paid the moon for Radmael Falcao, has just hit the big time. The playmaker was already having a standout tourney when he entered at halftime and added two assists and a goal to his 2014 resume.

Colombia was clearly the best team in the group, and they should have a very good chance of getting through their first knockout round match against a very-likely-undermanned Uruguay.

Takeaways

Japan did not have the defense or the offense to compete in this World Cup.

Colombia just did their group dirty without one of the top five strikers in the world. Can they keep it up against stiffer competition?

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