World Cup 2014

Uruguay 2-1 England: Super Suarez all but eliminates England

England’s hopes of qualifying from Group D looked dashed due to to a brace from Luis Suarez either side of Wayne Rooney’s equalizer.

The Manchester United forward, 28, scored his first goal in a World Cup to level the scores with 15 minutes left when he tapped home a Glen Johnson squared pass to give England hope.

Rooney could have dragged England level earlier but shot straight at Fernando Muslera ten minutes into the second half after he knocked the ball past a La Celeste defender.

Suarez killed English dreams though when he tucked the ball past Joe Hart after Muslera’s goal-kick has flicked on by England Captain Steven Gerrard.

Suarez had earlier given Uruguay the lead when he scored a controlled header past Hart but the spine of the England team were largely at fault.

Gerrard and Jordan Henderson were caught out and allowed Nicolas Lodeiro space in midfield and teed up Edinson Cavini who easily lost Glen Johnson and FCavani’s cross was headed in by El Pistolero when Phil Jagielka failed to follow the runner.

Bolt from the Sky Blue: Star Suarez breaks England hearts.

Bolt from the Sky Blue: Star Suarez breaks England hearts.

England did show signs of promise in the first period though, Wayne Rooney curled a free-kick narrowly past the post after ten minutes and later hit the bar with a close range header from Gerrard’s free-kick.

Uruguay threatened themselves after quarter of an hour when Jagielka’s sliced clearance landed at the feet of Cristian Rodriguez who shot inches over from the edge of the box.

A low Luis Suarez corner was also blazed over from Cavani.

Daniel Sturridge had the last opportunity though when Rooney’s intelligent through ball found the Liverpool man who had his shot from a tight angle parried by Fernando Muslera at his near post.

Controversy overshadowed the match however as the stand in Uruguay Captain Diego Godin should have been sent off for putting his elbow up to Sturridge’s face in a body check. He had previously been yellow carded for a handball.

The Three Lions now need Italy to defeat both Costa Rica tomorrow and Uruguay next Tuesday while England must also beat Costa Rica themselves, relying on goal difference, to have any chance of making it to round two.

 

 

 

Colombia 2-1 Ivory Coast: Clinical Colombians cast aside Cote d’Ivorie

Colombia continued their 100% record in the 2014 World Cup with a 2-1 win over Ivory Coast. Goals from James Rodriguez  and Juan Fernando Quintero made Gervinho’s goal in reply only mere consolation.

Tricolor were slow to get out of gear but found full throttle after 64 minutes when Rodriguez headed in from Juan Guillermo Cuadrado’s corner.

Substitute Quintero doubled the lead six minutes later when Colombia accelerated on the counter attack. Teofilo Gutierrez had options left and right and opted right to Quintero who sealed the win.

Gervinho hit back soon after, just three minutes after the game looked dead and buried when he cleverly jinked past two Colombian defenders and then beat David Ospina at his near post.

Party time: Juan Quintero settles the tie and the celebration of the tournament ensues.

Party time: Juan Quintero settles the tie and the celebration of the tournament ensues.

The first half was a cagey affair with the only main chance coming to Gutierrez who spooned a shot wide when he was in space – a poor miss.

Despite increased pressure the Ivory Coast couldn’t find the much needed leveler and now face a crucial match against Greece to decide their fate.

Didier Zokora will miss the game through suspension however as he picked up his second booking in two games.

Colombia meanwhile play Japan knowing just a draw will cement themselves as group winners whatever happens in Japan’s game against Greece later on today.

Cameroon 0-4 Croatia: Indomitable Lions exit without a roar

Cameroon exited the World Cup at the group stage for the fifth time in a row following a 0-4 defeat to group A rivals Croatia with goals from Ivica Olic and Ivan Perisic along with a brace from Mario Mandzukic.

A bizarre red card from Alex Song summed up a miserable night for the Africans.

The Barcelona midfielder lashed out in an off the ball challenge with Mario Mandzukic, elbowing the Croatian in the back needlessly just before half time.

The Indomitable Lions were surprisingly domitable as Croatia run Cameroon ragged in the humidity of Manaus.

Croatia were already in front before the sending off thanks to Ivica Olic scoring a tap in following Ivan Perisic’s squared pass on 11 minutes.

Perisic scored himself three minutes into the second half to confirm Cameroon’s casualty when he broke free of the defense before slotting home past former Liverpool Goalkeeper Charles Intandje after a fine solo run.

Want-away Bayern Munich striker Mandzukic made it 0-3 just after the hour when he headed in Danijel Pranjic’s corner.

Super Mario: Mandzukic confirms Cameroon's exit.

Super Mario: Mandzukic confirms Cameroon’s exit.

He added his second with 72 minutes on the clock when Intandje parried Eduardo’s shot straight to Mandzukic who beat the offside trap and had the simple task to tap home the fourth.

If he was more clinical earlier on, Mandzukic could have walked home with the match-ball but somehow fired wide when he looked odds on to score.

Croatia now head into next Monday’s clash with Mexico with confidence where the winner will qualify for the second round with hosts Brazil joining them if they can overcome a despondent Cameroon.

Spain 0-2 Chile: Horror for holders as Spain eliminated

Holders Spain crashed out of the 2014 World Cup in the group stages after a humbling 0-2 defeat to Chile. Goals from Eduardo Vargas and Charles Aranguiz sealed their fate and sent Chile through at their expense. 

Spain’s worst fears started to come into fruition with 20 minutes played as their leaky defense against Holland was exposed again. With Chile in a two vs one situation, Charles Aranguiz cut the ball back to Eduardo Vargas who nipped past Iker Casillas and despite pressure from Sergio Ramos, slid home the opener.

It went from bad to worse for the current world and European champions when Casillas fumbled a Arturo Vidal free-kick straight into the path of Aranguiz who capitalized on the Captain’s error.

Vicente Del Bosque’s side did show some promise in the second half, creating two early chances early on. The first, Diego Costa having a shot deflected wide when he was fed in the area.

Aranguiz wheels away as Martinez looks on

Aranguiz wheels away as Martinez looks on

They closer though when Costa’s imaginitive overhead kick across goal didn’t get the crucial touch from Sergio Busquets, showing why he’s never scored for his country.

Europe’s La Roja fizzled out after that though with the South American equivalent managing to hold onto a famous result.

Chile will now face the Netherlands in a winner takes all clash this time next week to decide who will win group B.

 

Australia 2-3 The Netherlands: Holland hopes grow with second successive win

Holland just managed to overcome a determined Australia side 2-3 with goals from Arjen Robben, Robin Van Persie and Memphis Depay. The result looks to have all but eliminated Australia from the 2014 World Cup.

Flying Dutchman Arjen Robben opened the scoring when he drilled past Matthew Ryan inside the area following a fine solo run from the halfway line after 20 minutes.

Tim Cahill leveled for Australia with perhaps the goal of the tournament so far a minute later when he hit a superb volley inside the box that thundered past Jasper Cilessen and went in off the underside of the bar from Matthew Leckie’s cross.

Australia took a shock lead eight minutes into the second half from a Mile Jedinak penalty that was accurately slotted to Cilessen’s right, the Dutch Goalkeeper guessing the right way but it was out of reach. Leroy Fer’s handball was the cause of the spot kick.

Much like Australia in the first half, Holland hit back soon after conceding, five minutes after Jedinak’s penalty, Van Persie smashed home the equalizer following Depay’s neat pass. The goal could have easily been prevented but Jason Davidson switched off from Australia’s defensive line and played the Manchester United forward onside.

Depay won the match for Holland on 68 minutes when his swerving shot from distance squirmed under Ryan who really could have done better.

It came just seconds after the Socceroos had a chance to win the game for themselves. Tommy Oar was clean through on goal with the chance to shoot but instead opted to cross to Leckie who, off balance, headed straight at Cilessen with the goal gaping.

The Netherlands’ win came at a cost though, Bruno Martins Indi, who played admirably in the 1-5 demolition of Spain was stretchered off just before the break after a clash with Cahill, who received a booking for his trouble. Martins Indi now has a nervous wait to find out if he has a tournament future.

Brazil 0-0 Mexico: Hosts held by mighty Mexico

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Mexico defied the odds to hold hosts Brazil to a 0-0 draw in Fortaleza, an outstanding performance by the Mexican goalkeeper will live long in the memory.

They even looked most likely to score for the majority. Hector Herrera came closest in the first half when his pile driver was tipped over the bar brilliantly by Julio Cesar, the referee failed to award a corner though.

There was an even better save a minute later however when Guillermo Ochoa produced the save of the tournament so far, clawing away a Neymar header when it looked certain to ripple the net. Some Brazilians likening it to Gordan Banks’ iconic save against Pele’s in 1970 on Twitter.

Ochoa was also equal to a David Luiz effort from close range just before half time.

The out of contract Ajaccio stopper superbly kept out a Tiago Silva header five minutes before the end with a reaction save after Neymar’s flighted free-kick, Ochoa could well have attracted the attention of a number of clubs following tonight’s display.

Miguel Herrera’s plucky outfit really took the game to Brazil in the second period, Jose Juan Vazquez and Oribe Peralta both fired over ten minutes after the break.

Andres Guardado curled an effort over from a tight angle in added time before Marco Fabian volleyed low after setting himself up but Cesar got down to punch it clear.

Brazil’s nearest miss came when Neymar curled a free-kick wide on 63 minutes.

Neymar had dyed his hair peroxide blonde before the match and may be thinking of changing it back following a below par performance.

Controversy reared its ugly head for Brazil again like it did in their opener against Croatia. First Silva was perhaps fortunate to avoid a red after taking out a Mexican forward and then Marcelo went down in the box with an embarrassing dive. Unlike Fred in Sao Paulo though, a penalty was not awarded.

 

 

Belgium 2-1 Algeria

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Algeria gave Belgium a scare in their Group H opener but two super subs from Marc Wilmots turned the tie around for his young side.

Marouane Fellaini dragged an under-performing Belgium level when he headed in Kevin De Bruyne’s cross twenty minutes before the end.

Belgium took the lead ten minutes later when Dries Mertens smashed home from the edge of the box after Eden Hazard set him up on the counter attack.

Algeria opened the scoring though when Sofiane Feghouli was felled in the area by Jan Vertonghen, one of three Tottenham players in the Belgium line-up. Feghouli dusted himself down and sent Thibaut Courtois the wrong way for 0-1.

Axel Witsel came relatively close for Belgium in the first half when he chested down a ball before striking it on the volley, Rais M’Bolhi produced a fine save to keep it out though.

Nacer Chadli should have brought the scores level when De Bruyne teed him up but he hit a weak shot that dribbled into M’Bohli’s arms.

Wimots’ third sub Divock Origi could have earned himself a place on the score-sheet himself when he burst through the Algerian defense with pace but his shot was saved well on 66 minutes.

Belgium were not as efficient as many had expected but were nevertheless worthy of their three points and will look to truly kick on with their campaign now and prove why they are many people’s dark horses for the tournament.

Ghana 1-2 USA

A very early goal from Clint Dempsey and a very late goal from John Brookes Junior won the United States of America their first match of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Jurgen Klinsmann’s side could not have started better, after just 29 seconds they were ahead. USA burst forward through Clint Dempsey who darted past John Boye with a tidy nutmeg, taking one more touch and then firing low and hard past Adam Kwarasey in off the post.

It was the fifth fastest goal in World Cup history, 19 seconds slower than Hakan Suker’s strike for Turkey in 2002.

Dempsey became the first American to score at three successive World Cups.

Ghana leveled eight minutes before the end thanks to Andre Ayew scoring with the outside of his boot following a Sulley Muntari set-up with a cheeky back heel.

John Brookes Junior scored the dramatic late winner with a powerful downward header with four minutes left on the clock. The German born defender with his first International goal to send USA level on points with his native country in Group E.

USA were dealt a blow after twenty minutes though when Jozy Altidore was stretchered off with a strained left hamstring he picked up while running that put the rest of his tournament in serious doubt.

Goalscorer Dempsey was clattered soon after – taking a boot to the face – a nosebleed followed but, unlike Altidore, could carry on.

Star Spangled Start: USA score in seconds.

Star Spangled Start: USA score in seconds.

Just before that however Ghana started to threaten, first Christian Atsu curled wide and then Asamoah Gyan stung the palms of Tim Howard with a shot from long range on 32 minutes that Everton stopper did well to keep out

The second half started how the first finished – with Ghana on the front foot. Muntari wasn’t far off with a powerful drive and Gyan headed over soon after.

Gyan was largely wasteful throughout, screwing another chance wide on the hour mark.

The Black Stars will feel a slight sense of misfortune at full time as they had 21 shots to America’s eight but they just were not clinical enough and were duly punished.

America meanwhile go into a crucial match against Portugal knowing they are capable of winning games without particularly playing well and may take confidence from the 2002 in South Korea/Japan where they overcame Portugal’s so called “Golden Generation 3-2. A side that included the likes of Luis Figo, Rui Costa and Sergio Conceicao.

 

 

Germany 4-0 Portugal: Germans ease past Portugal.

A typically ruthless Germany side cast aside Portugal 4-0 but the game was overshadowed by a moment of madness by Pepe.

The Brazilian born defender was involved in an innocuous challenge with Thomas Müller who threw himself to the floor with minimal contact. Pepe took exception to this in typical Pepe style and aimed a headbutt at the Bayern Munich forward while he was down and was sent off.

Germany struck an early lead when Mario Götze was brought down in the box by João Pereira the spot-kick was dispatched by Müller with ruthless German efficiency to Rui Patricio’s right for the first of his three goals. Pereira only received a yellow card for his offense but probably should have seen red as he denied a clear goal-scoring opportunity.

Sami Khedira could have struck gold for Germany before that when after eight minutes, a dreadful clearance by Patricio landed at the feet of the Real Madrid midfielder but he shot just wide from a long way out.

The second wasn’t too far away though. A magnificent pass from Toni Kroos found its way to Mesut Özil who cut it back to Götze whose shot was deflected wide by Bruno Alves.

Kroos’ resulting corner was powerfully headed in by Mats Hummels in the 32nd minute.

Spot on: Müller puts Germany ahead.

Spot on: Müller puts Germany ahead.

It was 3-0 soon after when, following the red card, Portugal were exposed at the back, Müller took a touch before firing past Patricio’s from twelve yards after another Kroos delivery.

Müller bagged his hattrick twelve minutes from time when substitute Andre Schürrle’s cross shot was parried by Patricio into the path of Müller who had the simple task of prodding home from all of about four yards.

Portugal were disappointing throughout and Cristiano Ronaldo did little to inspire his colleagues and had limited service, even less so when they were down to ten men.

He did however test Manuel Neuer with one his trademark free-kicks in added time but could not get his goal.

A truly miserable day for Portugal was compounded with Fábio Coentrão tearing a muscle when going in for a challenge, he was subbed straight away and his tournament future looks in doubt.

 

Argentina 2-1 Bosnia & Herzegovina

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A magical moment from Lionel Messi was the high point of an otherwise average encounter that saw Argentina run out 2-1 winners in Bosnia & Herzegovina’s maiden World Cup match.

The game itself was not as exciting as many had expected but the 65th minute saw the moment the footballing world had been waiting for. Lionel Messi picked up the ball twenty yards from goal and jinked past several defenders and then delicately curled the ball out of the reach of despairing Asmir Begovic.

It was a goal worthy of gracing the stage that is the Maracana, made even sweeter by the fact that Messi had been largely uninspiring before his moment.

Bosnia’s first World Cup could not have got off to a worst start though. After just three minutes Messi’s free-kick was inadvertently turned in by Sead Kolasinac as he tried to clear but the ball deflected off the wrong part of his leg and into the net.

In a half with very little goalmouth action, Javier Mascherano came closest for Argentina with a speculative shot that Begovic dealt with easily.

Senad Lulic provided Bosnia’s best chance when his powerful header from Martin Pjanic’s corner was saved well by Sergio Romero.

Izet Hajrovic did his level best to equalize at 1-1 for the Bosnians but he could only shoot straight at Romero twice, first from a free-kick and then from twenty yards out.

They did however score their first ever World Cup goal when Lulic played an itelligent pass to Vedad Ibisevic who nutmegged Romero to claim the historic honour with five minutes to play.

The Golden Lillies just couldn’t find a leveler though and Argentina held on to claim their first three points.