2014 FIFA World Cup: Day Three Recap

Costa Rica are glowing after a stunning win (Getty)

Striker’s Absence, Greek Defense Can’t Slow Columbia

Greece just couldn’t make anything happen again a flashier, speedier Columbian team Saturday. Despite holding the majority of possession and creating more chances than their opponents, Greece’s attack was just too patient and deliberate to make any headway—their only two quality chances turned away by Columbian keeper Ospina and his crossbar, respectively. Columbia, on the other hand, was all energy and pace on the attack, earning a trio of goals for their efforts. Armero led the way with a timely drive in just the fifth minute, then sped to the sidelines to lead his team in a raucous celebration. Teo Gutierrez stuck his foot on the end of a low corner kick threaded through the box to claim his first World Cup Final goal. Finally, man of the match James “Just Call Me James” Rodriguez was rewarded for a top-notch performance with a goal just before the referee’s final whistle.

Costa Rica Shock the World with Upset of Uruguay

The first half belonged to Uruguay, but Costa Rica stood up to their opponents, putting three second-half balls in the back of the net for a stunning 3-1 victory. Even with star Luis Suarez out of the lineup Uruguay were heavily favoured to win, so a penalty goal by Edinson Cavani—perhaps the first properly earned penalty shot of the tournament—was according to script. Costa Rica turned the tables in the 53rd minute, as man of the match Joel Campbell took a perfect cross and filled the back of Uruguay’s net. Just four minutes later, defender Oscar Duarte’s first international goal, a header that redirected a free kick past a frozen Uruguayan keeper, put Costa Rica ahead for good. Marcos Urena shoveled a ball into the goal less than two minutes after entering the game as a substitute to seal the deal. Uruguay’s frustrations boiled over in added time as midfielder Maxi Pereira was red-carded for felling Campbell with a solid kick to the legs, exacerbating an already unsightly loss.

England Shows Lion’s Heart in Loss to Italy

England were much more capable than many would have expected leading up to the World Cup, but failed to take advantage of a number of strong chances and left a very winnable game in Italy’s hands. Italy broke the ice with a brilliant scheme, Andrea Pirlo feigning a play on the ball as Claudio Marchisio took possession and drove a laser-guided shot past a crowd of Italians. Just two minutes later, though, Wayne Rooney set the table with a brilliant cross that Daniel Sturridge only had to run into to even the score. After halftime, mercurial Italian striker Mario Balotelli showed why he’s one of the world’s most dangerous men, surgically inserting a header into the England goal and a dagger in England’s heart. Fatigue eventually set in and a cannonade of desperate English shots fell far and wide of Italy’s goal, but with Uruguay’s loss to Costa Rica the English may still find a way through their group and into the next round.

Cote d’Ivoire Use Their Heads to Overcome Slow Start

He didn’t figure in either of his team’s goals, but it’s hard not to think Didier Drogba’s mere presence on the pitch changed Cote d’Ivoire’s fortunes. Before entering the game in the 62nd minute, Drogba’s mates couldn’t seem to make use of dominant possession or a wealth of chances, but within minutes of his arrival they turned the game on its head, stunning their Japanese opponents. Japan took an early lead on a powerful shot from star Keisuke Honda in the 16th minute, then stifled the Ivorian attack to halftime and beyond. But Cote d’Ivoire found their scoring touch, delivering two perfect headers—by Wilfried Bony and Gervinho, respectively—from two perfect crosses, both by Serge Aurier and separated by less than two minutes.

Tags: World Cup 2014

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