Today’s matches saw the nations from Group C and D kick-off their 2014 campaign with the tie of the day seeing England play France. Also, Uruguay play Costa Rica, Colombia and Greece face-off, and the Ivory Coast start their campaign against Japan.
Colombia 3-0 Greece
Colombia swept aside a poor Greek side to go to top of Group D. Goals from Pablo Armero, Teofilo Gutierrez and James Rodriguez resulted in a comfortable victory for the nation, despite fears that the injury of star striker Radamel Falcao would result in a lack of goals. Greece on the other hand hardly threatened, with their best chance coming from Theofanis Gekas, who could only head against the bar with the goal looming. Colombia next play the Ivory Coast, while Greece would want to put in an improved performance against Japan otherwise their hopes of progressing will.
England 1-2 France
Uruguay 1-3 Costa Rica
Underdogs Costa Rica shocked Uruguay with a fantastic performance that saw them move to the top of Group C. The first half though was all Uruguay but their only reward came from Edinson Cavani’s penalty, even though they had many chances throughout the half. However, Costa Rica’s second half revival was no less than stunning, with Arsenal’s Joel Campbell at the centre of the comeback. He scored the first goal from a header following great work from Cristian Gamboa, then turned provider with a through ball that Marcos Urena converted for Costa Rica’s third goal. In between these was Oscar Duarte’s first international goal from a header. Uruguay completely capitulated in the second half, and it got even worse in stoppage time when Max Pereira was sent off for a needless challenge on Campbell. Costa Rica have shocked the more prestigious nations in their group by topping the table after the first round of matches, whilst Uruguay play England in a crucial fixture for both.
Ivory Coast 2-1 Japan
Ivory Coast came from behind against a battling Japanese side thanks to two goals in as many minutes. This fixture started at 2am in Britain but there were no signs of tiredness from Japan, who took the lead following a great strike from Keisuke Honda. The Ivory Coast were guilty of not taking their chances, which led to the introduction of veteran striker Didier Drogba in the second half. Whilst the reporter of this piece was resigned to bed at this point, the Ivory Coast did not lie down, and were rewarded when Wilfried Bony converted Serge Aurier’s cross. Immediately after, the same player who delivered the first cross struck again, this time finding Gervinho who made no mistake. Drogba himself came close twice towards the end, but Ivory Coast got the three points to boost their chances of progressing.