- Uruguay 1-3 Costa Rica
- England 1-2 Italy
- Uruguay 2-1 England
- Italy 0-1 Costa Rica
- Italy 0-1 Uruguay
- Costa Rica 0-0 England
Uruguay's No.17 Rios and Costa Rica's No.17 Tejeda
COSTA RICA 3 URUGUAY 1
Date: 14/6/14 Venue: Fortaleza
I fell into the trap of thinking Group D was a 3 horse race with Costa Rica the unfortunate whipping boys. The great thing about football is the way it often springs surprises and Saturday’s middle game, played in scorching 32C heat, was one of those wonderful occasions that proves what you think you know is wrong. There was no clue as to how this match would turn out. Uruguay even gave a gutsier rendition of their anthem than Costa Rica who lined up with a seemingly unambitious 5:4:1 formation. Neither Suarez nor Gaston took any part in this match – are either of them fit?
- 1 Navas, 16 Gamboa, 6 Duarte, 3 Gonzalez, 4 Umana, 15 Diaz, 17 Tejeda, 5 Borges, 10 Ruiz (Captain), 7 Bolanos: 9 Campbell
- Subs: 22 Cubero for 17 (74), 21 Urena for 10 (82) and 11 Barrantes for 7 (88)
- 1 Muslera, 16 Pereira, 2 Lugano (Captain), 3 Godin, 22 Caceres, 11 Stuani, 17 Rios, 5 Gargano, 7 Rodriguez, 10 Forlan, 21 Cavani
- Subs: 14 Lodeiro for 10 (60), 20 Gonzalez for 5 (60) and 8 Hernandez for 7 (76).
I was looking forward to seeing Joel Campbell after being impressed by his performances for Olympiakos in the CL. Despite their nervous start Costa Rica soon found their #9 making intelligent runs and dragging defenders about. He linked well with Bolanos to engineer the first corner but play was stopped for a crass foul on Lugano. On 11 minutes another attack saw Ruiz send a tame header over the bar.
Uruguay’s attacks had been thwarted by overhit passes and offside decisions. On 14 minutes they worked a free kick to Godin. The Atletico defender neatly scored but another offside flag halted the celebrations. The next Forlan free kick then found Cavani who hit a dreadful sliced shot wide of the mark. The same player was put through on 16m but fouled Umanu as the defender tidied up.
On 21 minutes Tejeda commited the sort of foul that would earn a straight red here. Forlan curled the resulting free kick goalwards and Lugano was dragged to the ground by Diaz. Cavani converted the penalty to put Uruguay 1-0 ahead.
Despite leading Uruguay looked pretty poor. Their sole tactic was hitting long balls up to Cavani and most of these were woefully long. Then on 25 minutes they worked the ball to Forlan and he skied his shot. Costa Rica were still able to fashion their own chances and Campbell worried Muslera with a screamer that flew just past the post.
Campbell was a constant threat, willing to battle with his markers and bring team-mates into play. Costa Rica won a series of corners without ever threatening to score. On 39 minutes Forlan got another shooting opportunity but blazed wide again. The crowd responded with a Mexican wave to demonstrate the lack of entertainment on view.
Costa Rica’s passing was good, frequently getting them up the park but in their own half some of the tackling was agricultural. The match stats show they avoided any cards – all 4 that were shown were to Uruguayans. Godin was perhaps the luckiest defender as he constantly grabbed opponents’ shirts in his own box but was never punished.
On 43 minutes Forlan took another pot at goal. This time the ball looped off a defender’s leg and seemed destined to drop under the bar until Navas made a splendid save, tipping it over. There was still time for another effort at the other end when the increasingly adventurous Gamboa bombed down the right and his cross was met firmly by the head of Campbell and flew just over the bar. HT 1-0.
The first yellow card arrived on 49 minutes for Lugano’s cynical trip on Campbell. From the free kick Muslera was able to smuggle away Ruiz’s downward header and the follow-up missed the mark. Then Cavani strode forward but sent another effort horribly wide.
He was immediately given an example of shooting as Gamboa chased down a long ball and crossed for Campbell to kill the ball with his first touch and smash home an equaliser with his 2nd. The Uruguayan keeper was rooted - the score was 1-1.
Two minutes later Ruiz was fouled by Gargano who also earned a yellow. Balanos lofted his free-kick to the back stick where Duarte dived bravely past flailing boots to head back across and into the goal. Costa Rica 2-1 up.
Uruguay responded with 2 substitutions and soon afterwards Maxi Pereira made a rare sortie into the box but his crossed was well blocked. Costa Rica went straight up the other end and the dangerous Campbell fired a long range effort that rattled the goal net as it flew by. A further foul gave Bolanos another chance to cross and Ruiz again climbed high but headed over.
Uruguay’s responses were becoming predictable with Cavani running onto long passes and regularly being caught offside. The shots count at the other end rose on 68m as Borges fired over. Then Uruguay created 2 chances in quick succession: Diaz was able to head Cavani’s cross clear but when the ball came back the forward’s header needed saving by Navas. Costa Rica survived the resulting corner.
Campbell continued to threaten each time the ball was played forward but the Uruguayan attacks became more desperate as time ticked away. Cubero became Costa Rica’s first substitute and Hernandez Uruguay’s last chance. The game ebbed and flowed until on 80m Caceres became the third name in the ref’s book. Urena came on for Ruiz and Navas took over the armband. Urena was sent up front with Campbell moved out to the right. The pair combined spectacularly on 84 minutes. Campbell’s fine pass sent Urena scampering into the box and his shot across the diving Muslera nestled in the far corner of the net: 3-1 and game over.
Uruguay still attempted to move forward but lacked the real quality to upset their now buoyant opponents. As the game moved into extra time, Costa Rica passed the ball at will and took the ball into corners – effectively taking the piss. On 93 minutes Maxi Rodriguez lost it. He was guilty of a wretched hack on Urena and rightly received a red card for his troubles.
Uruguay were short on ideas and failed to put their opponents under sustained pressure. Costa Rica grew in confidence the longer the game went on. Navas looked very comfortable in goal and their outfield players demonstrated admirable team spirit and no little skill.
Sound “there are no bad teams at world cup” KLAXON here.
Hardly needs saying but Joel Campbell was Man of the Match and England’s defenders will not relish facing him on this form.
- Cavani 24′ (pen)
- Campbell 54′
- Duarte 57′
- Ureña 84′
Ref: Dr. Felix Brych
- Costa Rica 44%
- Uruguay 56%
- Costa Rica9
- Costa Rica3
- Costa Rica5
- Costa Rica20
England vs Italy
Arena Amazonia, Manaus on Saturday June 14 2014
01 Hart, 02 Johnson, 03 Baines, 14 Henderson (Wilshere - 73'), 05 Cahill, 06 Jagielka, 11 Welbeck (Barkley - 61'), 04 Gerrard, 09 Sturridge (Lallana - 80'), 19 Sterling (Booked), 10 Rooney
07 Wilshere, 08 Lampard, 12 Smalling, 13 Foster, 15 Oxlade-Chamberlain, 16 Jones, 17 Milner, 18 Lambert, 20 Lallana, 21 Barkley, 22 Forster, 23 Shaw
12 Sirigu, 04 Darmian, 03 Chiellini, 16 De Rossi, 15 Barzagli, 20 Paletta, 06 Candreva (Parolo - 79'), 23 Verratti (Motta - 57'), 09 Balotelli (Immobile - 73'), 21 Pirlo, 08 Marchisio,
01 Buffon, 02 De Sciglio, 05 Motta, 07 Abate, 10 Cassano, 11 Cerci, 13 Perin, 14 Aquilani, 17 Immobile, 18 Parolo, 19 Bonucci, 22 Insigne
The evening started with the surprise news that Sterling would be starting ahead of Lallana, which more than anything showed up Hodgson’s intentions. Rather than rely on Lallana’s ball retention skills, he went for the pace of Sterling and a reliance on the understanding in attack between Gerrard, Sturridge and Sterling.
It indicated that Hodgson was going to go at Italy, in search of the early advantage, and indeed two early sights of goal drew long-range attempts from Sterling and Henderson, but the match soon settled into the expected pattern of patient Italian possession and build-up play, with England content to use the pace of Sturridge and Sterling on the break.
Pirlo played a free role, emerging wherever he was required in the middle of the field and leaving Verratti to play at the base. As their B team did against Fluminense in the build up, Italy did look vulnerable at times when passing the ball in their own half, but England were more content to get men behind the ball rather than use up valuable energy by pressing the opposition into mistakes.
PIrlo was always available to receive the ball, though his cute passes were not penetrative in the early stages. Instead, the threat came from Italy’s right side of Darmian and Candreva, who were afforded the freedom of Manaus by Baines and Hodgson’s selection of Rooney on the left hand side. It was this threat that Hodgson was never able to deal with and it cost England the game.
Italy upped the intensity and ironically it was a moment when Pirlo did not touch the ball that created the chance for Marchisio to open the scoring. Pirlo’s step-over created space and Marchisio’s rifled shot arrowed through a crowded box and nestled in the corner. Italy were in the lead and totally in control of the tempo of the game.
But then, a brilliant counter from Sterling to Rooney and then to Sturridge had England back on terms. Each goal reflected perfectly how each team were playing the game; Italy’s inventive build-up versus England’s swift breaks, which had on occasion been incisive. These were two teams, with contrasting styles but each with a game plan, sizing each other up and attacking each other in a controlled manner.
Gaining confidence from the goal and sensing an opening, England pressed again but it was Italy that came back stronger, with a Balotelli chip cleared off the line and then a shot tipped onto the post by Hart. And finally, the referee blew the whistle to bring to a close a fascinating 45 minutes of World Cup football, and just in time for Hodgson to patch up his team’s left hand side which needed urgent attention. When the teams lined up for the second half, Wellbeck was given the job of assisting Baines in nullifying Darmian and Candreva. It didn’t work.
Italy switched the ball from left to right, the dawdling Wellbeck failed to spot the danger and allowed Darmian to maraud into space. Baines was exposed and Candreva delivered an excellent cross to the far post for Balotelli to nod home. It was a basic error from Wellbeck, and one that Hodgson cannot have failed to warn him of during the break. It was a moment of total indiscipline and lack of concentration from a player who is unfamiliar with playing that role. The manager had now tried two of his old favourites in that position and both looked out of their depth.
Now that Italy had their lead back they retreated a little, allowing England to gain more control of the ball, if not the match. Rooney went close with a long range shot and Gerrard had a rejected claim for a penalty as he was barged over in the box. Sensing the danger, Cesare Prandelli took Verratti off and moved Pirlo back to a more defensive position to deal with Rooney in the no10 role. Hodgson responded by removing Wellbeck in favour of Ross Barkley, who was preferred off the bench to Adam Lallana.
With Rooney relieved of his defensive duties, he stole the ball from the toe of Barkley, who was looking to find Sterling in a promising position on the right. Rooney wasted the opportunity. It was a moment that highlighted the fact that England’s incisiveness had been negatively affected by Hodgson’s need to get Rooney into the game. Sterling, England’s best player in his central role during the first half, was now isolated on the right wing, hugging the touchline and playing as a winger. Rooney in the central role was wasteful once again when he found space in the box. With the whole goal to aim at, the ball on his favoured right foot and the goalkeeper committed, he dragged his shot wide and England’s chances of winning the game were gone.
Unforced errors began to appear in England’s game while Italy were content to sit back and play on the break. Hodgson’s final throw of the dice was to remove Sturridge and replace him with Lallana, playing with no striker and Rooney in a false no9 position. England’s plethora of attacking midfielders swarmed forward but Italy’s defence remained comfortable. As the clock ran down, England’s attacks were plentiful but toothless without a fulcrum around which the attacks could be based.
The last ten minutes were crying out for the introduction of Rickie Lambert, someone who understands intrinsically how Hodgson was trying to play. But Hodgson had used up his substitutes through tactical replacements of his original selections. It was widely expected that the naivety of England’s young players would be England’s downfall, but instead it was the naivety of the manager; if Hodgson had not earlier been forced to replace the inadequate Wellbeck, he would have had a strategic switch up his sleeve to change the game in the last ten minutes.
Instead, Italy ran down the clock and England were left to contemplate good performances from the young lions such as Sterling and Sturridge. Barkley also looked capable of unlocking Italy’s defence. If England are to progress, Hodgson must stop trying to fit the square pegs of Rooney and Wellbeck into round holes. Against Uruguay, he will be presented with the opportunity to take advantage of space between the lines, and his selection must include players capable of using that space. It is the perfect opportunity to use Rickie Lambert in a withdrawn role, allowing him to dictate England’s attacking game to bring Sterling, Lallana and Sturridge into play around him.
But, whether for Lambert or one of England’s promising young attacking stars, is the manager brave enough to drop Rooney? He will need to be if England are to get the win needed to progress, for this England team showed against Italy that they are being held back by Wayne Rooney.
- Sturridge 37′
- Marchisio 35′
- Balotelli 50′
Ref: Björn Kuipers
- England 44%
- Italy 56%
- England 18
- Italy 13
- England 5
- Italy 4
- England 9
- Italy 2
- England 8
- Italy 11
Suarez heads the first of his two goals, which all but dumped England out of the 2014 World Cup
Uruguay v England
Thursday June 19 2014, Sao Paolo
- “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Albert Einstein.
01 Muslera, 22 Cáceres, 06 Pereira, 17 Arévalo Rios, 13 Giménez, 03 Godín (Booked), 20 González (Fucile - 78'), 14 Lodeiro (Stuani - 67'), 09 Suarez (Coates - 88'), 21 Cavani, 07 Rodríguez
02 Lugano, 04 Fucile, 05 Gargano, 08 Hernández, 10 Forlán, 11 Stuani, 12 Muñoz, 15 Pérez, 18 Ramírez, 19 Coates, 23 Silva
01 Hart, 02 Johnson, 03 Baines, 14 Henderson (Lambert - 87'), 05 Cahill, 06 Jagielka, 19 Sterling (Barkley - 64'), 04 Gerrard (Booked), 09 Sturridge, 10 Rooney, 11 Welbeck (Lallana - 71')
07 Wilshere, 08 Lampard, 12 Smalling, 13 Foster, 15 Oxlade-Chamberlain, 16 Jones, 17 Milner, 18 Lambert, 20 Lallana, 21 Barkley, 22 Forster, 23 Shaw
England’s supporters have far more to worry about than their manager’s sanity if he is to remain in charge of the asylum after England’s final world cup game against Costa Rica on Tuesday.
After errors in selection and tactics in the 2-1 defeat to Italy, Roy Hodgson repeated the same errors in this must-win match against Uruguay. If the news of an unchanged line-up was hardly surprising, the end result against Uruguay, a second 2-1 defeat of this World Cup, was also depressingly familiar.
Hodgson told us enthusiastically before the game that, although the line-up was the same, the setup would be a little different, with Rooney switching to his more familiar position in the centre. The press, as usual, had borne their influence on team selection and Raheem Sterling, England’s most influential player in the defeat to Italy, was reduced to the role of tricky winger, depending on dribbles out on the flank, which the uncompromising Perreira of Uruguay mopped up with relish.
Rooney and Hodgson, meanwhile, misunderstood what is required from a number 10, a role that takes as much discipline as that which Rooney lacked in the wide position against Italy. The number 10 in the 4-2-3-1 formation which Hodgson has chosen for this team is the pivot between defence and attack, the player that can transition seamlessly. A successful number 10 must take up positions between the lines, in the gaps, to receive the ball from the defensive midfielders and to move it forward accurately for the other attacking players to play facing the goal.
For the entirety of this game, with Rooney missing from his required position, England often reverted to long balls forward to an attack with its back to goal. Transitions were slow and laboured and gobbled up by Uruguay’s enthusiastic defence. Rooney, meanwhile, was everywhere and nowhere.
And this is the crux of the problem. For a while now Hodgson has taken the air of a man who does what he is told but doesn’t quite understand why. Just over a year ago at the Maracana, he threw out his favoured 4-4-2 after being overrun by Brazil in the first half, switching at half time to this new-fangled formation of 4-2-3-1 and he has stuck with it ever since. But that night at the Maracana he had Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in the number 10 role, a player disciplined enough to play the role well. It paid dividends. In Sao Paolo against Uruguay, Wayne Rooney, haunted by the ghost of David Beckham’s celebrity, took the number 10 role to mean that he could roam wherever he so wished, popping up where he thought he as an individual could look the best. Often, Baines had a helper in Rooney at left back, though arguably this was coming five days too late. Gerrard and Henderson must have appreciated his assistance alongside them in the engine room of midfield. And Sturridge, I’m sure, welcomed Rooney’s companionship up front. But rarely did the team benefit from having Wayne Rooney where they really needed him: in the spaces between midfield and attack.
And so, that area of the pitch was bypassed and as a result Uruguay were able to take control. Hodgson had lost the tactical battle because of a lack of understanding of the formation he was playing.
It did not take Einstein to work out what was going wrong for England, though this seemed beyond Hodgson even when Uruguay’s first goal perfectly illustrated England’s frailties. Lodeiro, Uruguay’s number 10, picked the ball up facing the right way and immediately rode a challenge from Steven Gerrard. Spotting Cavani in space, he delivered a simple ball with the accuracy required to keep the move going forward. Cavani, crucially receiving it facing goal, shifted the ball to find the space to measure a perfect cross to Luis Suarez, who dispatched his header past Joe Hart with a brilliant inevitability. A swift and brutal transition from defence to attack.
Unlike against Italy, England were unable to find an immediate response so the half time whistle came and went while England took no notice. Indeed, it appeared that England failed to emerge from the dressing room at half time, with Uruguay spurning three excellent chances in the first five minutes of the second half. England finally settled, so Hodgson was able to repeat his substitutions from the Italy game. Firstly Barkley came on for Sterling, who had spent the game so criminally wasted in a wide position, and then Lallana joined the melee of disorganisation in place of Wellbeck.
But it was those old guards of Wayne Rooney and Glen Johnson who finally gave the England fans hope. Johnson, redundant as a defender because Uruguay directed all of their attacks through the middle, had been equally redundant in attack due to his lack of ability. But he somehow managed to squeeze the ball through to Rooney, who finally found the net with his third close-range sight of goal in the match.
Then came the first period of the match in which England began to dominate, but this was their undoing. With the game stretched and men committed forward, a long ball forward found Gerrard’s head, flicking it on to Suarez who found space to rifle the ball into the net. If this goal was conceived in Liverpool’s colours, it would have been breath-taking in its speed and simplicity. Instead, it dumped England and Gerrard out of the World Cup.
Hodgson wasn’t yet put out of his misery, for there was still time for further ineptitude. Playing his trump card, he brought Rickie Lambert on as a target man. Balls were lumped up to him and Lallana, Rooney, Sturridge and Barkley were expected to feed off the scraps. This was further mis-use of Hodgson’s chosen formation. If Lambert was ever to be used properly in this World Cup, it should have been as a genuine Plan B with him as a pivot and a licence to come deep and pick the ball up, bringing into play the other attackers. Playing Lambert as a target man, it left the feeling that Hodgson would dearly have loved to pick Andy Carroll instead. But the press told him to take Lambert, and so Rickie came on with the look of a man who’s fairy tale was finished.
The final whistle mercifully blew on England’s chances, and if the FA have any sense, also on Hodgson’s reign which promised much but delivered absolutely nothing. Time to put this team in the hands of a tactical innovator who will bring to the team a coherent way of playing and give youth its head.
- Suarez 39′, 85′
- Rooney 75′
Ref: Carlos Velasco Carballo
- Uruguay 37%
- England 63%
- Uruguay 8
- England 12
- Uruguay 2
- England 6
- Uruguay 7
- England 6
- Uruguay 17
- England 12
Ruiz scores the decisive goal
Italy v Costa Rica
20th June, Recife
01 Buffon, 07 Abate, 04 Darmian, 16 De Rossi, 15 Barzagli, 03 Chiellini, 06 Candreva (Insigne - 57'), 05 Motta (Cassano - 45'), 09 Balotelli (Booked), 21 Pirlo, 08 Marchisio (Cerci - 69')
02 De Sciglio, 10 Cassano, 11 Cerci, 12 Sirigu, 13 Perin, 14 Aquilani, 17 Immobile, 18 Parolo, 19 Bonucci, 20 Paletta, 22 Insigne, 23 Verratti
01 Navas, 16 Gamboa, 15 Díaz Campbell, 04 Umaña, 03 Gonzalez, 06 Duarte, 10 Ruiz (Brenes - 81'), 05 Borges, 09 Campbell (Ureña - 74'), 17 Tejeda Valverde (Cubero - 68' (Booked) ), 07 Bolaños
02 Acosta, 08 Myrie, 11 Barrantes, 12 Francis, 13 Granados Maroto, 14 Brenes, 18 Pemberton, 19 Miller, 20 Calvo, 21 Ureña, 22 Cubero, 23 Cambronero
“Costa Rica are dead in the water”. “The likes of Joel Campbell and Bryan Ruiz will hardly strike the fear of God into the opposition”. My own words came back spectacularly to haunt me as Ruiz, bundled out of Fulham even before they were relegated last season, headed the winner and Joel Campbell, perennial loanee from Arsenal, put in another effervescent performance to ensure that England’s faint hopes of qualifying were ended.
Just as they did against Uruguay, Costa Rica pressed Italy to such a degree that even Pirlo, restored to his position just in front of the defence, could only find rare moments of quality. One of those came in the first half when he released Balotelli but it went to waste, just like most of the possession enjoyed by the AC Milan hitman slash nutter. He cut an increasingly frustrated figure before finally Prandelli put him out of his misery by hauling him off in a strop.
This was in stark contrast to Campbell at the other end, who should have earned Los Ticos the lead just before Ruiz’ goal. A jinking, diagonal run took Campbell into the penalty area before Chiellini crudely bundled him over. A characteristic of this World Cup has been some poor refereeing decisions, and the Chilean referee contributed to this when he waved play on. Pinto, the Costa Rican manager, looked like he was about to explode.
And minutes later, he did. Ruiz’ header cascaded against the bar and over the line and pandemonium ensued. With the bit between their teeth, Costa Rica pressed and pressed, allowing Italy barely a chance on goal, let alone to settle on the ball.
A feature of Spain and England, two early exitees from the World Cup, has been hurried and inaccurate passing, leading to slow build-ups and predictable attacks. In this game, Italy suffered from the same. They looked like a team who thought they were too good to be pressed into mistakes; that quality would prevail.
But this is the first World Cup of a new era, of a new type of football with high energy teams hunting in packs. Just as Atletico did in the Champions League, the underdogs have found a way to beat the big teams, and Costa Rica are the alpha male of the underdog pack in this World Cup. And just like Atletico, it is quite possible that one of these underdogs- Costa Rica or Chile- could go all the way to the final.
- Ruiz 44′
Ref: Enrique Osses
- Italy 61%
- Costa Rica 39%
- Italy 10
- Costa Rica 11
- Italy 4
- Costa Rica 5
- Italy 4
- Costa Rica 5
- Italy 10
- Costa Rica 23
Italy v Uruguay
24th June, Natal
01 Buffon, 04 Darmian, 02 De Sciglio (Booked), 03 Chiellini, 19 Bonucci, 15 Barzagli, 23 Verratti (Motta - 75' ), 08 Marchisio (Dismissed), 17 Immobile (Cassano - 71' ), 09 Balotelli (Booked) (Parolo - 45' ), 21 Pirlo
05 Motta, 06 Candreva, 07 Abate, 10 Cassano, 11 Cerci, 12 Sirigu, 13 Perin, 14 Aquilani, 16 De Rossi, 18 Parolo, 20 Paletta, 22 Insigne
01 Muslera (Booked), 20 González, 06 Pereira (Stuani - 63' ), 22 Cáceres, 03 Godín, 13 Giménez, 14 Lodeiro (Maxi Pereira - 45' ), 17 Arévalo Rios (Booked), 09 Suarez, 21 Cavani, 07 Rodríguez (Ramírez - 78' )
02 Lugano, 04 Fucile, 05 Gargano, 08 Hernández, 10 Forlán, 11 Stuani, 12 Muñoz, 15 Pérez, 16 Maxi Pereira, 18 Ramírez, 19 Coates, 23 Silva
For one night only, leaving my beloved group g, to come over to the goings on in group d,.I've done no research into this group, other than watching both these sides beat England,
Uruguay went into this game knowing only a win would see them through, but it was Italy who started the brighter of the two sides. Identifying the main danger, Italy played with three centre backs, one with the sole job of staying tight on Suarez.
The first half consisted of lots of free kicks for minor trips and pushes and it was no surprise when the first booking came. Baloteli tries to protest his innocence but, as he made contact with someone's head, it has to be dangerous.
After 35 minutes came the first decent goalmouth action, Buffon makes a fine double save, but in reality, this really is a dreadful game. A Uruguayan defender tried a shot from his own half but it went miles wide. The game seemed to be played entirely in 20 yards either side of the half way line and consist of a free kick every 3 minutes. I'm left hoping the second half will have some excitement.
Half time Italy 0-0 Uruguay
In the second half Italy took off Baloteli. It seemed sensible, as Uruguay knowing he has been booked, had been trying to wind him up.
Within 30 seconds we had a foul, and the second half continued like the first, free kick after free kick, with rare bits of football breaking out between stoppages. Goal chances? You must be joking. Italy, knowing a draw would be enough, were content to just hold the ball.
On the hour Suarez, who I'd forgotten was playing, played a great ball through to Rodrigues with just the keeper to beat, but put the ball well wide.
On the next foul, Italy have a man sent off. On first showing it looks no different from the other 300 fouls in this game, but the replay shows the ref has got it right, Marchisio had put his studs down the Uruguayans leg.
Uruguay needing a win and now with one extra man, started to gain control, Buffon makes a brilliant save from Suarez, but Italy looked good on the break. At last the game was becoming decent.
On 76 minutes, Gastón comes on, his first job is getting involved in a goalmouth clash between Suarez and Chiellini, the replay seems to show that Suarez has bitten yet another player !!
After 81 minutes a corner from Gaston finds the head of Godin who puts a fine header into the corner of the net, Italy 0 Uruguay 1.
The last 10 minutes saw lots of moaning from the Italian bench, the Italians pushed forward to get the equaliser, but left large gaps at the back, but despite goal chances at both ends, no further goals came.
Uruguay go through, but all the talking is going to be about Suarez, it looks fairly conclusive that he did bite the Italian, which must mean the end of his World Cup, and without him I can't see Uruguay getting any further than the last 16.
On Thursday 26th June FIFA found Suarez guilty of misconduct for biting Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini and he has been suspended from all football-related activity for four months.
Suarez has also been banned for nine international matches, ruling him out of the rest of the World Cup.
- Godín 81′
Ref: Marco Rodríguez
- Italy 57%
- Uruguay 43%
- Italy 9
- Uruguay 14
- Italy 1
- Uruguay 5
- Italy 3
- Uruguay 3
- Italy 19
- Uruguay 19
Bye bye England. Who is that bloke on the left?
Costa Rica v England
24th June, Belo Horizonte
01 Navas, 16 Gamboa, 15 Díaz Campbell, 19 Miller, 03 Gonzalez (Booked), 06 Duarte, 10 Ruiz, 05 Borges (Barrantes - 78'), 09 Campbell (Ureña - 65'), 17 Tejeda Valverde, 14 Brenes (Bolaños - 59')
02 Acosta, 04 Umaña, 07 Bolaños, 08 Myrie, 11 Barrantes, 12 Francis, 13 Granados Maroto, 18 Pemberton, 20 Calvo, 21 Ureña, 22 Cubero, 23 Cambronero
13 Foster, 16 Jones, 23 Shaw, 07 Wilshere (Gerrard - 73'), 05 Cahill, 12 Smalling, 17 Milner (Rooney - 76'), 08 Lampard, 09 Sturridge, 21 Barkley (Booked), 20 Lallana (Booked) (Sterling - 62')
01 Hart, 02 Johnson, 03 Baines, 04 Gerrard, 06 Jagielka, 10 Rooney, 11 Welbeck, 14 Henderson, 18 Lambert, 19 Sterling, 22 Forster
With elimination guaranteed, Roy Hodgson dropped his usual useless twats and replaced them with another bunch of useless twats. Given the fact that some of these useless twats are about to finance a huge spending spree for Southampton, I decided to take an interest and watch this game instead of the far more important and likely far more entertaining clash between Italy and Uruguay.
But French TV had different ideas. While England hoofed and sliced their way through the first half, I was forced to sit in a pavement café with a 1664 in hand and one eye on Prandelli’s men playing for a draw- a foolhardy tactic, given that a draw was their minimum requirement for qualification.
The other eye was steadfastly on my phone, refreshing avidly as Jimmy and Moeen Ali finally put up a fight against the Sri Lankans. I would have got very good money on those two batting past the end of the football.
During the second half, Hodgson substituted his new bunch of useless twats to revert back to the old bunch of useless twats. Predictably it didn’t make any difference, for the game petered out for a draw just as the Italy Uruguay game got exciting. Firstly Gaston came on, then Suarez got all bitey, and then Gaston provided the first meaningful contribution by any Saints player to this World Cup. His corner came off Godin’s back and Buffon was not able to stop it.
Uruguay were through and, like a very bad murder mystery party, we finally knew the victims of the Group of Death. Italy, the preening egos, and England, the useless twats, were dead. Hodgson’s 2014 World Cup campaign limped to its sorry end, finally put out of its misery with a 0-0 draw.
Twenty minutes after the final whistle, Jimmy’s heroic resistance finally gave in with just two balls to spare. What I would have done for an England draw.
Ref: Djamel Haimoudi
- Costa Rica 44%
- England 56%
- Costa Rica 4
- England 8
- Costa Rica 2
- England 1
- Costa Rica 3
- England 7
- Costa Rica 18
- England 16