Not as many goals, but an extremely entertaining round of World Cup fixtures. Here’s our daily round-up!
Colombia picked up their second win in a match that saw chances from both sides before the game began picking up pace in the final half an hour. The loss puts Cote D’Ivoire in second place as they continue to stay in the tournament after surviving early dominance from their opponents.
The second half blew wide open when James Rodriguez scored a header for the South Americans to make in 1-0.
Six minutes later they made it 2-0 when Juan Quintero finished off a swift counter, but a few moments from kick off, Gervinho produced some magic on the left flank, drifting pass a few defenders before firing the ball into the net.
Drawing up to the final whistle, Ivory Coast were pilling on the pressure, but some great defensive work from the Colombian players made sure their side picked up all three points.
In a must win match for the two teams or risk being eliminated, it was Luis Suarez playing against five of his Liverpool teammates that stole the show. With club football not playing any role in this encounter, both sets of players gave everything they had in order fight back from their previous losses.
England started the game with a few good attacking forrays, but failed to convert the chances in the final third as Uruguay looked to exploit the English frailties at the back. Wayne Rooney had a free-kick curve inches wide and saw his header hit the bar as he searched for his first World Cup goal.
However, six minutes from the end of the first half, a perfect delivery from Edinson Cavani met the head of Suarez and sent the ball into the back of Joe Hart’s net.
Roy Hodgson’s team came out attacking in the second half as they saw a close opportunity from Rooney bring up a brilliant reflex save from Fernando Muslera. The England number 10 did manage to score the equalizer in the 75th minute before more defensive mishaps saw Suarez lose the back four to fire home a tremendous strike, ending the game with a 2-1 victory for the South Americans and putting the European side on the brink of elimination.
Japan and Greece competed in a much more tactical affair, but it’s the Europeans who will be the happier of the two when the final whistle blew in Natal. The Greeks had Kostas Katsouranis sent off in the 38th minute after picking up a second yellow, but Alberto Zaccheroni’s side were unable to break down a very stubborn back-line.
However it was Greece who threatened the Japanese goalkeeper more often, as Eiji Kawashima was forced into a few good saves.
The draw, and Colombia’s win, leaves both teams needing to win in the last game of the group stage in order to advance into the next round.