England On The Verge Of Elimination
A double from the Uruguay talisman Luis Suarez in either side in Corinthians Arena left England on the verge of an early exit from the world cup.
The Liverpool striker was making his return after a month out following knee surgery and it proved a bad timing for the Three Lions as his brilliance was the difference in a do or die encounter.
Suarez put Uruguay ahead with a first-half header then scored a superb winner six minutes from time after Wayne Rooney's first goal at a World Cup had given England hope of progressing to the last 16.
Roy Hogson’s men will make history if the miracle they expect happens as no team has ever before arrived at a World Cup, lost their opening two matches, and gone on to qualify through the group stage.
England must beat Costa Rica in their final match by many goals and pray that Italy beat Costa Rica and Uruguay for them to finish second place on goal difference.
Any result will mean the Three Lions cannot match the point totals of either of the sides from the America.
After the match Luis Suarez admitted that his two goals were a sweet revenge for all the critics he has received while playing in the English Premier league.
“I dreamt this. I’m enjoying this moment, because of all I suffered, the criticism I received. So, there you go,” said Suarez.
Last world cup saw the Liverpool and Uruguay striker shown a red card for blocking Ghana’s Asamoah Gyan’s ball with his arm.
In his career in England, Suarez was once banned for racially abusing Manchester United’s Patrice Evra and for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic.
Despite the loss, England boss said he’s not planning to quit his job.
“I'm bitterly disappointed, of course, but I don't feel I need to resign, no. On the other hand, if the FA thinks I'm not the right man to do the job that will be their decision, and not mine,” said Hogson.
In an early kickoff, Colombia clinched a last 16 place after beating Ivory Coast 2-1 to secure a second consecutive win in Group C game.
Colombia, highly feared for their dangerous counter attacking game, went ahead through James Rodriguez header before Juan Quintero extended Los Cafeteros’ lead after Serey Die was caught in possession.
Ivory Coast exerted some more pressure that saw Gervinho skip past three Colombia defenders and powered in a shot to give Ivory Coast hope.
There was more and more pressure but Colombia was able to survive and held on to a win.
In a late kickoff Japan were forced to settle for a goalless draw against Greece despite them playing against 10 men for more than 50 minutes following the dismissal of Kostas Katsouranis.
In matches to be played today, Friday, Italy will face Costa Rica in Arena Pernambuco in one of the matches that will determine England’s fate.
If Italy wins, it will be the first time for the Azzuri to win their opening two World Cup matches since winning the first five in 1990.
Leading striker, Mario Balotelli who has scored 11 of his 13 goals for Italy in competitive matches will lead the Azzuris up front in the match that will involve goal keeper Gianluigi Buffon who missed the opening match.
On the other hand, Costa Rica can make history by becoming the only non-European country other than Brazil and Argentina to beat two former winners at a single tournament.
In the second match of the day, France will play Switzerland in Arena Fonte Nova, Salvador at 10:00 pm (EAT)
Either of the two will qualify for the last 16 with a win provided Ecuador falls to Honduras.
The last and only time France won their first two group matches in 1998, they went on to become world champions.
Honduras will take on Ecuador in Arena da Baixada, Curitiba at 1:00 am (EAT) in their first competitive fixture.
Honduras which has never won a world cup match will be without suspended midfielder Wilson Palacios.
Ecuador on the other hand have gone six matches without keeping a clean sheet with their only victory in their last eight matches coming against Australia in March.
Italy vs. Costa Rica (Arena Pernambuco, 7:00 pm)
France vs. Switzerland (Arena Fonte Nova, Salvador, 10:00 pm)
Honduras vs. Ecuador (Arena da Baixada, Curitiba, 1:00 am)
By Morgan Mueke
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