If you had looked at the FIFA rankings Saturday morning you would have expected that day three. Columbia beat Greece, Italy beat England and Ivory Coast beat Japan. The big upset was when Costa Rica beat Uruguay 3-1 in a stunning upset.
Without their talisman Luis Suarez, watching from the sidelines, Uruguay looked a shadow of the side that reached the World Cup semi-finals four years ago and they saw their 1-0 half-time lead disappear in a span of three minutes as the CONCACAF side exposed the soft underbelly of the Uruguay defense.
Uruguay’s defeat, combined with Italy’s 2-1 win over England means that Thursday’s match between Uruguay and England is a must-win game for both sides. Lose and your World Cup dreams are over.
Deep in the jungle, Italy overcame the heat to beat England 2-1 and take control of Group D. After Daniel Sturridge had quickly cancelled out Claudio Marchisio’s 35th-minute opener, the Azzurri hit the front again through Mario Balotelli’s header five minutes into the second period and this time there was no way back for the three lions.
England and Italy met two years ago in the Euros, and Italy dominated the game. While England came up short again, the introduction of the likes of Sturridge, Sterling, Welbeck, Barkley and Lallana showed that England are improving. Just not in time for this competition.
In the early game Greece were outplayed and outclassed by a Colombia side full of vim and vigor. Greece’s lack of firepower in front of goal came back to haunt them once again, while Colombia, cheered on by a large contingent of their fans, showed that they will rival Ivory Coast for the top spot in the group.
In the late game the Ivory Coast come from one goal down to overhaul Japan. Japan controlled the game for long periods of time but the introduction of Didier Drogba in the second half changed the game around and once Japan went behind they seemed to lack the energy and wit to grab an equalizer.