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World Cup Round Up: Match Day 13

Yesterday's games sure had some bite!

Mark Kolbe

So, I may as well begin with it then. LUIS SUAREZ HAS BITTEN ANOTHER PERSON.


What the hell is wrong with him? He's a world class footballer, probably the best striker on the planet, able to things with a football I can't even comprehend, but then he ruins himself with acts of utter lunacy, and this isn't even the worst thing he's done! Not by a long way. I just don't understand what he was thinking, what kind of person thinks of biting someone out of frustration, who isn't four years old?

Three times man, he's bitten a fellow human three times. Three.

He should be banned for the rest of the tournament.

That aside, Italy crashed out of the tournament after falling to a 1-0 defeat to Uruguay.

They deserved nothing more too, with only one shot on target all game: an Andrea Pirlo free kick which forced Muslera into action.

Gigi Buffon, was then called upon to deny Suarez, after he played a one-two with Lodeiro, and was then out quickly again to block from Lodeiro on the rebound.

Going into the second half, Claudio Marchisio was shown a red card for an over the ball challenge on Alvaro Rios. I'm still undecided if it was a red card personally, to me it did look as if Marchisio was trying to turn around and accidentally caught Rios, but I suppose it doesn't really matter if it was an accident or not.

Italy then had their goalkeeper to thank again, when Suarez broke through the defence and shot on goal, but Buffon got a strong forearm on the ball.

Not long after the biting incident, salt was rubbed in Italy's teeth shaped wounds when Diego Godin, who should have been suspended for the game, rose highest to meet Gaston Ramirez' corner and beat Buffon with a header that came off his back, with nine minutes to go.

Italy pushed for an equaliser, even sending Buffon up for a late corner, but there was a lack of any real urgency and the Uruguayan defence held resolute, to advance into the last 16.

This game would see international football wave a hearty farewell to Buffon and Pirlo, two players whose class and demeanour will surely be missed in tournaments to come.

Full Time: Italy 0-1 Uruguay

81 - Godin

MOTM: Diego Godin

Now, I'm going to be honest, I can't really be arsed talking that much about England, it's really quite depressing. We played a Costa Rica side who may as well have been on the beach supping Caipirinhas, because they were that laid back. But yet, for the first half they controlled a lot of the ball and brought the game right down to their nonchalant pace, they were actually unlucky not to go ahead when Joel Campbell's shot deflected just wide of the post and when Borges' free kick was tipped on to the bar by Ben Foster.

But that is just what England's problem has been this World Cup: they've been unable to control the tempo of a game and have been far too slow with their build up play.

Sturridge should have won a penalty when he was bundled over in the box but he also should have scored a couple of times, epitomising the lack of urgency in England's play when they were supposed to be putting on a show for the faithful England fans who followed them to Brazil.

Sturridge's form didn't improve into the second half either, after good work from James Milner and Adam Lallana, saw the ball land at Sturridge's feet, but his first touch was poor and Navas was soon out to block the ball, picking up a knock in the process.

Even though I disagree with his inclusion in the squad, Ben Foster was playing well, saving from Christian Bolanos after Phil Jones had given the ball away.

Sturridge had another opportunity which he should have scored, playing a nice one-two with Wilshere, but then bending his shot past the far post.

To their credit, England were moving the ball around nicely now, with Lampard, Milner and Lallana looks assured on the ball, Wilshere and Barkley were looking comfortable too, but nothing was really happening.

We then were treated to a some what poetic last swan song, when Gerrard came on to partner Lampard in midfield, just for one last time.

The last real opportunity England had was when Rooney attempted to chip Navas, from the edge of the area, but the impressive goalkeeper was having none of it, and tipped it other.

The game ended as a tepid 0-0, which crowned Costa Rica as winners of group D, who'd have thought it eh? It just goes to show that world class individuals are not essential when you have organisation and team spirit, and Costa Rica aren't the only team proving that to be true.

There would be no goals and no smiles for the departing Three Lions, and they left the World Cup feeling as if they'd gone to the best party in the World, but just sat in the corner.

Costa Rica 0-0 England

MOTM: James Milner

After a slow start to the day's football, the two late kick offs provided just enough drama and marvellous football between them to keep me going. First up, the colourful Colombia continued to be the most fun at the tournament by beating Japan 4-1, even after making eight changes to the starting line up, with some wonderful football and even better dancing.

The first goal came when Yasuyuki Konna hacked down striker Adrian Ramos, in the box and gave away a penalty. It would be Juan Cuadrado to take it, and he didn't disappoint, thumping the ball straight down the middle.

Japan came back into the game with Shinji Kagawa, testing Ospina, after he'd wrong footed a defender and shot on goal, but the Colombian 'keeper was equal to it.

Japan were finding some joy going forward, due to a reserve Colombian defence not being completely up to the task, and they found an equaliser on the cusp of half time. Kensuke Honda got the better of Pablo Armero and crossed into the area, his ball was met by Shinji Okazaki, who got in front of his marker and steered the ball home with his head.

Colombia didn't have to wait too long into the second half to restore their lead, when Jackson Martinez finally got himself a goal. James Rodriguez, one of the best players of the tournament, received the ball on the edge of the area, his perfect first touch took him away from the Japanese tackler and his second laid off Martinez, who swept the ball into the bottom corner.

Japan should have equalised after good play from Uchida and Okazaki, resulted in the right back putting a dangerous cross into the six yard box, but Okubo could only hit the volley over.

Japan had much more possession than Colombia and even had eleven more shots than them, but they couldn't make their dominance count and Colombia made them pay for it. James Rodriguez was again the catalyst for the goal, his pass found the run of Martinez, who did a quick dummy before dispatching a bending effort into the far corner.

I think it's fair to say, this World Cup has had nearly everything, and it provided us with yet another heart felt moment soon after. Colombia took of their goalkeeper Ospina, and replaced him with 43 year old Fayd Mondragon, who came on to the pitch with a massive grin on his face and thousands chanting his name, as he became the oldest player to ever play at the World Cup.

The misery wasn't over for Japan either, as the star of the show, Rodriguez, got in on the act in spectacular fashion. Jinking his way past Maya Yoshida, tying the poor defender up in knots, then effortlessly chipping over the goal keeper. Beautiful play. He ran to the corner in celebration, soaking in the atmosphere as thousands of fans cheered and celebrated.

To top the whole game of, Mondragon made a brilliant save in the last minute to deny a Japanese consolation goal. This World Cup, man.

So Colombia top the group having won all three games, and having been so fun to watch in the process. They'll play Uruguay in the next round, which will be an interesting clash of styles and one I can't wait to see.

Team Colombia!

Full Time: Japan 1-4 Colombia

45 - Okazaki 17 - Cuarado (P)

55, 82 - Martinez

89 - James

MOTM: James Rodriguez

So then, Colombia provided the goals, and Greece provided the drama! Somehow, they've managed to sneak through and qualify from the group stage.

The Greeks started the game at the bottom of Group C, and their slim chances of qualification got slimmer when they lost both midfielder Kone and goalkeeper Karnezis, with in the first 24 minutes to injury. But, they did have the best chance in the first half: a quick counter attack saw Georgios Samaras feed Jose Holebas, the left back's shot from the edge of the area smacked off the cross bar.

After little action for most of the half, you know how Greece are, the Greeks actually managed to take the lead, scoring only their third goal in three World Cups. Chiek Tiote was lazy in possession and his short pass was cut out by Samaris, who played a quick one-two with Samaras, then lifted the ball over the Ivorian 'keeper to take the lead.

In the second half, Ivory Coast went on to dominant large spells of possession, with out doing that much with it, Tiote forced the Greek goalkeeper to catch the ball with a drive from distance, and both Kalou and Bony shot wastefully wide.

Greece weren't completely out if it though, and were playing better with the possession they did have than the Elephants did with theirs. Salpingidis' powerful strike stung Barry's palms and captain Karagounis hit one off cross bar from distance.

On the 74th minute however, Ivory Coast drew level. A nice ball was played into Gervinho, who laid off the ball to Bony, who fired into the bottom corner.

The drama of the game came in added time, Samaras pulled back his boot to pull the trigger, but as he brought it back down he kicked the turf and fell to the floor. The ref thought he'd been fouled and gave a penalty to Greece.

Samaras picked up the ball and managed to keep his composure to stick the ball in the back of the net and send Greece to the last 16. Despair for Ivory Coast, but unimaginable joy for Greece. We even got a pile on.

So Greece go through and good on them! They know they're not the best football nation in the world, but they embrace that and play to their strengths, and this time its served them well.

This sets up a last 16 tie between Costa Rica and Greece, who on Earth would have predicted that at the start?

I bloody love this World Cup.

Full Time: Greece 2-1 Ivory Coast

42 - Samaris 74 - Bony

90 - Samaras

MOTM: Georgios Samaras