Colombia 2-1 Ivory Coast
Thursday 19th June 2014
Colombia goals: J.Rodriguez, Quintero
Ivory Coast goal: Gervinho
Colombia vs Ivory Coast: Colombia coach José Pékerman is becoming a national treasure in the South American country after he lead Colombia to their first World Cup finals in 16 years and it was revealed last week that in the recent Presidential elections in Colombia that there was an unofficial campaign to make their manager the president of the country! There is a strong feeling of pride and happiness in the country and this is signified in the passion shown by all of the stars in their two strong performances at the World Cup. The match was one of the most anticipated fixtures of the week as the result would determine the confirmation of one of the nation’s reaching the Round of 16 but also because of the stars on show.
Although Colombia are without their star man Radamel Falcao, the likes of James Rodriguez, Teófilo Gutierrez and Juan Cuadrado have stepped it up and flourished in Brazil and the confidence in the side was emulated in their showing against Ivory Coast. It was a close game which seemed that Ivory Coast were looking like they could just edge it and although the statistics shown that they had more shots/shots on target it was always looking like Colombia would be the closer country out of the two to win the game. The scoring was opened on the 64th minute by their prolific attacking midfielder James Rodriguez who has presented his outstanding talent to the world this summer as he has put in two strong games after he headed in from a corner to put Colombia ahead and this was followed with a Juan Quintero goal which seemed to round up the win but it was a nervy last 10 minutes after a superb individual effort by Gervinho seemed to put a spanner in the works but Colombia had enough just to hold on.
One of the star men included central defender Mario Yepes who is experiencing this World Cup at the age of 38 years old! It is expected that this will be his last World Cup but I’m sure it will be one of his most memorable tournaments as a player as they have now successfully made it to the next round. Whoever they face from Group D will have a strong team on their hands while Ivory Coast need to beat Greece next week and expect a bigger performance from their big stars such as Yaya Toure, Wilfried Bony and Salomon Kalou as players with their talent are very capable to change a game in seconds but had great difficulty to get past the Colombian defence.
Uruguay 2-1 England
Thursday 19th June 2014
Uruguay goals: Suarez x2
England goal: Rooney
It had to be him – he’s done it again. Luis Suarez, one of the men that has received the most criticism from the British public/press over the last few years took his revenge as he produced a one-man show that prevented England from a realistic chance of progressing into the next round of the World Cup. There was great build-up to the game of how this was a ‘must-win’ game for both nations but it seemed that Uruguay had one attribute which had defeated England on the night, it wasn’t just the quality of Luis Suarez but the desire to win. It was evident how they had felt deeply affected by the loss to Costa Rica in the first game and there was a stark contrast in comparison to the England setup which seemed to feel a sense of confidence going into the game after a ‘decent’ performance against Italy.
There had also been a lot of criticism surrounding Wayne Rooney which was overshadowing the ‘poor’ performance which seemed to give the England camp a sense of ‘overconfidence’ going into the game believing that they would easily defeat Uruguay but it was clear of Uruguay’s intention from the start. The formidable pair of Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez was lethal, the linkup play between the two was world class as the highly rated PSG striker played in an inch-perfect cross for Luis Suarez who was never going to miss from 8 yards as his header went straight into the back of the net.
England had their chances to get back in the game as Rooney continually came close with opportunities such as Rooney’s free-kick going wide and Wayne hitting the post from an incoming cross by Gerrard but they didn’t seem a threat to the Uruguay defence in contrast to Cavani and Suarez who seemed to scare both Cahill and Jagielka. England with 15 minutes to go found an equaliser when Wayne Rooney latched onto the end of Glen Johnson’s cross but to tap it in to make it 1-1 but typically England couldn’t hold on as Luis Suarez slotted past Joe Hart after another defensive error by Gerrard allowed the Uruguayan to easily get past Jagielka (who could’ve also done better) to make it 2-1. A disappointing performance from England rounded off another awful World Cup for England, Hodgson’s side face Costa Rica in the last game on Tuesday night while Uruguay play Italy which looks to be an exciting encounter.
Japan 0-0 Greece
Thursday 19th June 2014
A game which screamed out for individual class and skill was required between Japan and Greece and with the talent on show there was no reason why this couldn’t have been an interesting game, but honestly it was anything but. In a tournament which has seen a variety of goals and performances, it was expected that there would be a few dull performances and after Iran vs Nigeria, any neutral would of thought that no game could have topped how boring that match was but it’s fair to say that Japan vs Greece comes very close.
The encounter saw both teams needing a victory to sustain any true belief that they could finish in 2nd place behind Colombia in Group C ahead of Ivory Coast who had just been defeated by the South American side but you wouldn’t have thought that there was any desire and intentions of winning the game. The match saw Greece on the back foot throughout after Katsouranis was sent off after a poor challenge which lead to Greece defending for all of the game and considering Japan’s tremendous talent upfront in Keisuke Honda and Shinji Okazaki who played for most of the game before Kagawa and Endo entered as substitutes you would expect them to have challenged Karnezis a lot more but it seemed an easy point for Greece.
Japan were a lot more dominant as they continually pushed for a goal but the brand of football wasn’t the most exciting, it was very predictable as Greece seemed to deal with them fairly easily. Georgios Samaras described the game before the match as a ‘must win’ match but it seemed that Fernando Santos was only interested in the Ivory Coast game that was next to follow as the only positivity from the match was Greece’s defensive showing. The negativity that surrounded the result emulated the game as a whole, poor display by both teams, Japan on the brink of going home, Greece still in with a chance but Samaras should be describing the next game as ‘must-win’ as it literally is their last chance.