Day 3: Colombia vs Greece, Uruguay vs Costa Rica, Italy vs England and Ivory Coast vs Japan

Yesterday, the World Cup provided surprises, twists and turns. The specialty for today was the amount of great goals that were scored.

Colombia vs Greece:

Starting Lineups:

Formation Switch Tactic: Jose Pekerman, the Colombian manager, has attempted to maximize the effect of his sides without Radamel Falcao. He has changed the formation to a 4-2-3-1 (from 4-4-2) to allow key playmaker James Rodriguez to pull the stops. Victor Ibarbo will hold the left wing, but he is also capable of drifting in, and that would add a second dimension to Colombia. This is fantastic by Jose Pekerman.

Made on Lineup Builder

Made on Lineup Builder

Greece used 4-4-2.

Made On Lineup Builder

Made On Lineup Builder

Match Highlights:


Assist Without Touching the Ball: James Rodriguez uses a great form of technique here. When Cuadrado is in the box, he passes it to James Rodriguez, who doesn’t touch it. Instead, he dummies the ball, and lets it roll to Armero, who slots it in. This has 2 aspects. The first is that he completely confuses the Greek defence. He is James Rodriguez, the star man, so of course he is going to be set up. By letting it go to Armero, he doubles the chance of scoring. The other aspect is pure, team play. James Rodriguez could have fired a shot, but he wanted the team goal more than his own. This is absolutely stellar by Colombia, and we see “assists without the ball” later today as well.

You can see, if you pause at 0:04 that James Rodriguez had a clear shot. He knows Armero is running in.

And, we’re back!

Greece almost equalised! A Great play is just wide!

Carlos Sanchez receives yellow for a challenge in the 26th minute.

Half Time; Colombia 1-0 Greece; Goals, Armero

Half Time Report: What a great start for Colombia! The Greeks have pressed more than we expected, but the Colombians remain formidable in defence.

The 2nd half starts.

In the 46th minute, Samaras breaks into the box and takes what looks like a dive. He actually gets up and apologizes without asking for a penalty. That’s some great sportsmanship from Samaras.

James Rodriguez makes a great break from far. He takes a huge blast but it is save by Karnezis. This is some exciting play to start the 2nd half.

There has been a yellow card to Sokratis for a dirty foul. The Greeks are very gritty in their style.

There is another yellow card in the 54th minute to Salpingidis. The Greeks are playing very rough. James Rodriguez curls a beautiful cross to Ibarbo, who can’t turn it past Karnezis. You can’t blame him though, he wasn’t in a scoring position. Exciting in the 50th minute.

Substitution: Salpingidis is coming off for Fetfatzidis.

Colombia wins a free kick. Cuadrado is quick to take it, and he wins a corner. GOAL! WHAT A GOAL! FELIPE GUTIERREZ! The James Rodriguez corner goes straight to his teammate, who taps it to Gutierrez! He puts it in! This is great play from Gutierrez and quick from the Colombians. Colombia 2-0 Greece

James Rodriguez: You must see that all this wonderful team play stems off James Rodriguez. This is absolutely fantastic, especially the set up. Gutierrez can’t miss.

SO CLOSE FOR GREECE! A beautiful cross is volleyed into the centre, and an open net header hits the BAR! The momentum is mind blowing here! James Rodriguez can’t create from the counter, even though he beats 4 Greek defenders.

Substitution: Aguilar is coming off for Mejia.

Subsitution: Goalscorer Armero is coming off for Santiago Arias in the 73rd.

Substitution: Gutierrez is coming off for FC Porto star Jackson Martinez.

Substitution: Panagiotis Kone is coming off for Greek legend Giorgios Karagounis.

SAMARAS! He got so close with a driver from just outside the box! In the 85th minute, it looks like Greece will not equalise.

NUMBER 3! James Rodriguez! What a player and what a match! A beautiful play from Ibarbo and Cuadrado means Rodriguez just needs to slot home. Colombiz 3-0 Greece, 90th minute

Full Time: Colombia 3-0 Greece; Armero, Gutierrez, Rodriguez; MOTM Rodriguez

James Rodriguez has been the best player on the pitch and the definition of Man of The Match. The best part about James Rodriguez is that he is the type of player that doesn’t need goals to perform, a la Mesut Ozil or Juan Mata. Expect this guy to really be something when he reaches his peak.

Uruguay vs Costa Rica:

Starting Lineups:

Uruguay is deploying 4-4-2 without Suarez:

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Made on Lineup Builder

The Ballon D’OR contender Luis Suarez misses out due to a bad injury, which is why Uruguay switched formation from their usual (that uses a “10”).

Costa Rica are using a defensive 5-4-1:

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Made on Lineup Builder

Match Highlights:

Costa Rican Mentality: In a press conference, Bryan Ruiz of Costa Rica said something along the lines of this. “What could be better than drawing 3 past winners? The fans would probably say beating one of them.” It is clear that this Costa Rican side, much like Japan, play with pure mentality. Can this spark a win against Oscar Tabarez’s Uruguay?

A great free kick from Uruguay in the 14th minute is headed in to Godin, who gets the finish, but is later ruled offside. This is promising from Uruguay.

CAVANI! Another free kick in the 15th gives Cavani a free open goal (other than Navas), but Cavani blows it over! That was very poor from Cavani, especially for his standards.

Uruguay are beginning to take control of the game, but Costa Rica’s defence is holding strong.

PENALTY! After a Forlan free kick, the ball appeared to hit Lugano’s hand. But the referee has called a penalty! Costa Rica are absolutely furious! Lugano has been held back, as shown in the replay. Cavani shoots… IN! URUGUAY IS IN! Uruguay 1-0 Costa Rica

From Times Union

From Times Union

Controversial Foul: Everyone was calling Lugano for a hand ball. The referee instantly gave Uruguay a penalty, even though it hit Lugano’s hand! When the replay was shown, the referee was correct, as Lugano’s man had both arms around Lugano’s waist, forcing him to throw his hands up. This is great officiating.

WHAT A STRIKE FROM JOEL CAMPBELL! It was very close, but just on the right side of the goal and Muslera. This play is absolutely mind-blowing considering he was almost 35 yards away.

A Free Kick has been given to Costa Rica as Joel Campbell is fouled. They are trying very hard to mark him out. The free kick is beautiful, and it is controlled back with a header for a shot that hits the side netting. They win a corner. The corner comes to nothing, and Costa Rica are still attacking. They win another corner. The curving corner curls too far and the ball goes out.

COSTA RICA! A beautiful corner but it skims over Gonzalez’s head as he is in an aerial duel with Muslera. It would’ve been a great goal!

COUNTER FROM URUGUAY! Forlan chips it over Navas and it was coming down into the net when Navas jumped back to save it. It was a beautiful shot from Forlan, but the popular Levante stopper was fantastic as always. That was an exciting 2 minutes as extra time approaches.

Half Time: Uruguay 1-0 Costa Rica; Goals, Cavani

Lugano gets a yellow card for a challenge on Campbell. The Ruiz free kick is close after a player reaches it, but Muslera saves and then the rebound cross doesn’t work out. Costa Rica are exceeding expectations.

GOAL! Costa Rica puts it level! Joel Campbell receives a fantastic cross from the top left of the box with his foot, and he takes a step before left footing it past Muslera. Costa Rica 1-1 Uruguay

Walter Gargano has been shown yellow for a challenge on Bryan Ruiz. Costa Rica is the better team at the moment.

GOAL!! Costa Rica go ahead about 2 minutes after the goal! Costa Rica 2-1 Uruguay The cross was coming in, and Oscar Duarte got the header into the goal, around Muslera as Godin’s cleat went into his head!

From The Training Ground: That was always going to happen. You never fling yourself at a ball like that, especially when a cleat is going to go into your face. This is commitment.

Substitution: Lodeiro is coming on for Forlan and Alvaro Gonzalez for Gargano. No Suarez at this point?

JOEL CAMPBELL FROM FAR AGAIN! He shoots it, and it just curls over. Muslera wouldn’t have gotten that one from 35 yards away.

Stopped by Keylor Navas! A fantastic corner from Uruguay curls to the target man, who heads it on target, only for Keylor Navas to hit it out. This guy is having a great match.

Substitution: Tejeda is coming off for Cubero

Substitution: Rodriguez is coming off for striker Abel Hernandez. Suarez will not be coming on.

A Yellow Card is handed to Caceres for a challenge studs up. That should’ve been a red.

Substitution: Costa Rica’s Bryan Ruiz is coming off for Marcos Urena. Keylor Navas has taken the captain’s armband.

GOAL! COSTA RICA! The substitute Marcos Urena! Uruguay have lost now for sure! What a goal! Campbell makes the play for Urena to slide it past a Muslera that is off his line! Costa Rica 3-1 Uruguay

Urena's Goal, From The Guardian

Urena’s Goal, From The Guardian

Substitution: Barantes is coming on for Bolanos.

Terrible challenge from Maxi Pereira on Campbell. Uruguay and Costa Rica are fighting. Maxi Pereira is shown red! Uruguay are down to 10 men in the 90th!

Full Time: Costa Rica 3-1 Uruguay; Goals, Campbell, Duarte, Urena, Cavani; MOTM Campbell

What a game! This will be as pivotal as the Spain game yesterday. Can this pave the way for an unlikely England or Costa Rica progression?

England vs Italy:

Starting Lineups:

Italy are using 4-3-3. Buffon is injured and Salvatore Sirigu of PSG will take his spot.

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Made on Lineup Builder

England are playing 4-2-3-1.

Made on Lineup Builder

Made on Lineup Builder

Match Highlights:

STERLING! In the first 3 minutes, Sterling drills a shot into the side netting! I thought it was in the net!

HENDERSON! The 5th minute, he drives a shot like Sterling’s. Sirigu saves this time, and hits it out!

Italy is dangerous! Holding possession, they control inside the opposition box.

WELBECK! Another longshot from England that is dangerous! This one is just off to the left!

Welbeck down the touchline! Paletta’s defence is good. England’s counters are fantastic.

Johnson takes a shot in the 15th! It is wide to the right. These English shots are getting worse as time goes.

CANDREVA! He bursts a shot from far and it goes off Joe Hart and out. Hart should’ve caught that.

STERLING! He bursts past Darmian, and unleashes a cross. Sturridge can’t get to it.

Balotelli shoots over the bar in the 22nd.

WELBECK! That one would’ve been a goal! The Italian defender slide tackled it and it went over Sterling’s rebound header on an open net. The corner has Rooney on an open net! He isn’t quick enough. Another corner. Leighton Baines takes it, Sirigu saves it, but barely. Italy regains possession.

Gerrard free kick! He crosses it, but it curls too far into the hands of Sirigu.

Balotelli header! It goes into the hands of Joe Hart…

GOAL! Marchisio! Italy is ahead! The corner is passed, and all the way back to Pirlo, who fakes as it rolls to Marchisio, who stops and unleashes a beautiful shot into the bottom corner! Goal of the day so far! Italy 1-0 England

Assist Without Scoring: Pirlo does something very similar to James Rodriguez earlier. This time, the finish has to be stellar, and versatile central midfielder Marchisio makes it just that. All the goals were absolutely stunning in this match.

GOAL! Daniel Sturridge! Assisted by none other than Wayne Rooney! Sprinting up the left wing, he crosses it to Sturridge at the back post, who slots into the top corner! That is tied for goal of the day so far! England 1-1 Italy

There is an injury but they are blocking the player! It doesn’t seem to be a player from the field actually! It is not, it is an English physio named “Gary Lewin”.

JAGIELKA CLEARS OFF THE LINE! Balotelli brings Hart out, and from an almost impossible angle, he chips it to Hart! Coming down and in, Jagielka headers it off the line! On the corner, Italy hits the post! Sterling is fouled, but it is half time.

Half Time: Italy 1-1 England; Goals, Marchisio, Sturridge

Half Time Report: Italy have been as fantastic as expected. England on the other hand, have impressed greatly, and are particularly dangerous in the final third. Rooney has been quite good in dictating attacking play, along with getting back.

STURRIDGE from far! Saved by Sirigu and pushed out!

GOAL! ITALY GO UP! BALOTELLI! Candreva runs up the goal line and unleashes a cross to Balotelli who heads it down into the net! Beautiful play from Balotelli, and I am having a hard time deciding goal of the day, but that one looks like 2nd overall so far to Robin van Persie’s! Italy 2-1 England

ROONEY! So close from far!

Gerrard goes down in the box in the 56th! No penalty awarded, and Gerrard made sure there was contact on purpose. That is outright disrespectful.

ROONEY! Open net! He shoots it wide to the left, just barely!

ROSS BARKLEY! He beats the defence on the right, and releases a shot that is curling in! Sirigu hits it out to Sterling, who can’t finish.

England are so exciting to watch! They are taking chance after chance!

CANDREVA! He blows a shot from far out! It just curls out… English fans are on their toes here.

Substitution: Balotelli is coming off for Dortmund’s new star in the making Immobile.

Substitution: Jack Wilshere is coming on for Jordan Henderson.

Sturridge is injured after a Chiellini challenge.

Substitution: Candreva is coming off for Parolo.

Substitution: Sturridge is coming off for Lallana.

England have lost that level of tempo and solidity since Welbeck came off. The current scoreline looks inevitable.

ROONEY IN THE 86TH! He blows it way over…

Sterling shoots, but it is cleared for a corner by Barzagli. Sirigu couldn’t judge it, and it was going in.

Sterling gets a yellow card for a challenge on Parolo.


Full Time: Italy 2-1 England; Goals, Marchisio, Balotelli, Sturridge; MOTM Candreva 

Rooney and England suffer a loss, because of that 1 play. Rooney was England today. He created everything, and despite that miss, he created their only goal.

Ivory Coast vs Japan:

Starting Lineups:

Japan are using the 4-2-3-1.

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Made on Lineup Builder

Ivory Coast are going with 4-2-1-3 with Drogba on the bench.

Made on Lineup Builder

Made on Lineup Builder

Match Highlights:

GOAL! WHAT A FINISH FROM HONDA! HE PLAYS AROUND 1 DEFENDER, SHOOTS PAST THE OTHER! Barry couldn’t do anything! This is absolutely stellar from Honda.

Boucabar Barry is forced into 2 great saves! This is brilliant play from Japan in full momentum!

Yoshida gets a yellow card for a bad challenge. Yaya Toure will take the free kick… it is just over the bar!

A great shot from far for Ivory Coast! Kawashima can’t control it and he is down as he releases the ball to Bony, who doesn’t shoot fast enough before the Japanese defence marked it. Bony hit the post on his late shot.

Ivory Coast have dominated for the rest of this half, but the “weak” Japanese defence has proven too strong.

Half Time: Japan 1-0 Ivory Coast

Half Time Report: Japan have had better finishing and the Honda goal was clearly Yaya Toure’s fault. He was flat footed, which allowed Honda to get past him and score.

We are back with the 2nd half.

In the 47th minute, Bony gets a header after a beautiful set of play, but the chance is messed up when the cross goes off a Japanese defender. Bony is unable to convert.

Japan regain tempo just as they did in the first half.

Substitution: Hasebe is coming off for Endo.

There is a yellow card for Bamba for an absolutely reckless challenge on Okazaki. Bamba actually hurt himself on the challenge. Honda to take the free kick.

Yaya Toure goes down for a reckless challenge, but no penalty is given. Zokora complains about it and receives a yellow card.

Substitution: Serey is coming off so Drogba can play as an extra striker. Can he spark a win?

Drogba makes a great play, but they take too long.

Morishige receives a yellow card.

GOAL! BONY! Aurier’s cross goes to his header! And Ivory Coast have it after all that! Ivory Coast 1-1 Japan


This is, hands down, the best game today. Aurier has 2 assists on the night. This is a bright place to spark a career for the versatile right-back, who can also play right wing, centre-back and sometimes left back. The introduction of Drogba really put Ivory Coast over the edge, and both of these sides could upset Colombia.

Uchida is in, but he is offside.

Boka is injured, so he is stretchered off the pitch and replaced.

Goalscorer Bony is now coming off in the final substitution for Ivory Coast.

Drogba almost gets a third but the shot is just wide! It has deflected off a defender.

Extra time was very controversial, as a sub got injured and went off the field, most likely in an attempt to waste time. Worse than that, he came back onto the field during extra time after being stretchered off, and got injured again!

Full Time: Ivory Coast 2-1 Japan; Goals, Gervinho, Bony, Honda; MOTM Drogba

Today, Switzerland take on Ecuador, and France take on Honduras in Group E. Second favourites for the World Cup Argentina take on Bosnia, who have a very talented squad coming into their first ever World Cup.



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