*Colombia 2 Ivory Coast 1*
Colombia enjoyed another victory, their second of the Cup so far, and now sit contently at the top of Group C, with only one more match left to battle through: Japan. James Rodríguez had an outstanding game, heading in the first goal for Colombia from the Cuadrado corner at 64’ and setting up the second for Juan Quintero to slice in his first international goal at 70’.
Ivory Coast fought back soon after with a goal from Gervinho at 73’, after Serge Aurier’s near goal was punched back by keeper David Ospina. Ivory Coast have lost their center-back for their final game against Greece, Didier Zokora when he received his second booking of the tournament.
*Uruguay 2 England 1*
What was billed as the decisive game of the group ended in misery for a spirited but ultimately limited England team.
The chief architect of their demise was a player who plies his trade in England, and one who exposed the limitations of English defenders once again. Luis Suarez divides opinion more than any other player on the planet, not so much for his footballing ability, which, sadly for England, has never been in doubt, but more for the type of person he is. Controversy has followed Suarez since his career began. From his racial abusive of Patrice Evra, to his biting of Branislav Ivanovic’s arm, he has always been a hateable figure for any fan not supporting the team he plays for. He came into this tournament a slight injury doubt, but showed no signs of fatigue or discomfort as he scored two fine goals to all but end England’s hopes of qualification from the group.
England began well, lacked a decent final ball, and failed to turn possession into goals. So very little has changed then. Regular fans of England will be used to this kind of performance, and all of the pre-game predictions came to pass. Uruguay boast one of the best front pairings in international football, whilst England have a mix of young promise and experienced but underperforming veterans. The worry beforehand was that England would have more possession, but little cutting edge, whilst the Uruguayans would create little, but finish every chance they had.
And so it came to pass. Suarez opened the scoring after dreadful defending from “positionings” Glen Johnson. Ironically, Johnson was the source of England’s equaliser as he accidentally did something good and crossed for Rooney to tap in for his first (yes, first) World Cup goal. The deciding goal was one which could yet convince Graeme Taylor that he could still have a career in football management.
A goal kick from Muslera was expertly flicked on by Gerrard, as he momentarily forgot that after a season of playing together with Suarez at club level, that they don’t come from the same country. Suarez smashed the ball past Joe Hart and the game was won. England introduced former beetroot-packer Rickie Lambert at the death, but chances for England were thinner on the ground than discarded carpaccio made from Kate Moss and the game faded to an end all to familiar for England fans.
*Japan 0 Greece 0*
Japan wasted several chances to score and ended the game in a scoreless draw. Kostas Katsouranis was sent off late in the first half, leading Japan fans to hope that they would get the breakthrough goal they needed. Though CBS reports that Japan should have easily won, their failure to shine resulted in a disappointing tie.
*Friday’s games are Italy V Costa Rica (Group D), at 11 a.m., Switzerland V France (Group E) at 2 p.m., and Honduras V Ecuador (Group E), at 5 p.m. (All times in Peruvian standard time). Visit Peru this Week’s Sports blog each day at 8 p.m. for the day’s updates.*Keep up to date with the World Cup on Peru this Week’s Sports blog Daily updates at 8.pm.