FIFA World Cup

World Cup 2014: Best XI of Day 8 with Luis Suarez, James Rodriguez and Aurier

Karl MatchettFeatured ColumnistJune 20, 2014

World Cup 2014: Best XI of Day 8 with Luis Suarez, James Rodriguez and Aurier

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    Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

    On Day 8 of the World Cup, one team qualified for the knockout stages, a high-profile team neared elimination, and one of the tournament's stars came back from injury in spectacular fashion. 

    Colombia beat Ivory Coast 2-1, a result that gained them passage to the last 16 in conjunction with Japan's 0-0 draw against Greece. In Group D, meanwhile, Uruguay beat England 2-1 to boost their own chances of progression and leave England at the bottom after two games.

    Luis Suarez was the two-goal hero in that game; he takes his place in our XI of the day—but who else is with him? We line up this time around in a Chile-esque 3-4-3.

GK: Fernando Muslera, URU

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    Julian Finney/Getty Images

    Fernando Muslera was beaten once by a close-range tap-in after his defenders switched off for a moment, but that aside, he was excellent for Uruguay against England.

    He pulled off two very good saves from close range, controlled his area between goal line and penalty spot extremely confidently and took the ball in the air on numerous occasions.

    Muslera even contributed offensively. His long kick downfield led to the winning goal.

DC: Kostas Manolas, GRE

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    Petr David Josek/Associated Press

    Kostas Manolas formed one half of an impenetrable barrier at the back for Greece as they stifled the life out of Japan in the 0-0 draw.

    He was extremely consistent, dropping deep into his own box much of the time to prevent any chance of through balls or runners behind the back line, keeping a narrow gap between himself and partner Sokratis Papastathopoulos.

    Passing out of the back wasn't the order of the day at all, but Manolas cleared his lines every time the ball came near, and unlike almost every team-mate of his, he didn't commit a single foul during the 90 minutes.

DC: Yepes, COL

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    Adam Pretty/Getty Images

    Mario Yepes reached a century of caps for Colombia against Ivory Coast, and even at age 38, he was one of the most aggressive and determined players on the pitch.

    The centre-back made a number of clearances, was quick to close out Wilfried Bony and, later, Didier Drogba whenever the ball came to them outside the penalty box.

    Yepes generally made life extremely difficult for the CIV attackers.

DC: Jose Gimenez, URU

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Teenage centre-back Jose Gimenez has barely had any action this season, spent at Atletico Madrid as a squad player, but was called upon to play centre-back in the absence of Diego Lugano.

    The 19-year-old was excellent, dominant in the air when he needed to be and quick to track the runners into the penalty box in the second half when Uruguay were under more pressure.

    This side hasn't changed too much over the past few years, but if this performance is anything to go by, the defence certainly has a new lease of life ahead of it.

WBR: Serge Aurier, CIV

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    Adam Pretty/Getty Images

    Serge Aurier was again impressive for Ivory Coast, raiding forward with pace down the right flank and delivering balls from wide.

    His pace and aggressive attacking opened Colombia up at times in the first half, creating space to run into in the channels and linking just around the edge of the penalty box.

    Ivory Coast still have a chance of going through to knockout rounds. Either way, Aurier has increased his reputation considerably.

WBL: Yuto Nagatomo, JAP

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    Michael Steele/Getty Images

    Japan didn't really have many standout performers, being neat and reliable in possession but without enough cutting edge to find the win in a game they dominated against Greece.

    Yuto Nagatomo, however, was very good at overlapping down the left to create overloads or take advantage of space when Greece's narrow defence and hard-working midfield opted not to follow his runs.

    Nagatomo delivered a whole host of crosses from the left, not always finding his mark but being one of the Japanese players to make his pass quickly in the hope of catching the Greeks unaware.

DM: Egidio Arevalo, URU

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    Michael Sohn/Associated Press

    Uruguay's Egidio Arevalo was a massive presence in the centre of midfield, breaking up play and looking to crowd out England when they played through the middle.

    He rarely looked to get involved past the halfway line, but he protected the defence and was quick to pick up second balls in the deep midfield areas for his side.

AM: James Rodriguez, COL

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    Elsa/Getty Images

    Once again, James Rodriguez was pivotal for Colombia, showing great tenacity and creativity in the first half as the conduit for their fast-paced counters and transition play.

    There was a spell where he didn't impact the game much on either side of half-time—but he headed in the vital opening goal, forcing Ivory Coast to go on the offensive themselves and thereafter was once more in the thick of things.

    His decision-making is just as good as his end product, feinting to open up spaces and releasing the likes of Juan Cuadrado with regularity.

RW: Juan Cuadrado, COL

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    Gabriel Rossi/Getty Images

    And Cuadrado himself now.

    The right-sided player opened up Ivory Coast a number of times with his great acceleration, beating defenders at times just by pushing the ball ahead and outpacing them.

    He's far from over-reliant on his pace, though, being more than capable of beating a man by tricks and quick one-twos—and he almost scored himself with a searing shot that hit the woodwork.

LW: Gervinho, CIV

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    Christopher Lee/Getty Images

    Ivory Coast's best offensive player in the game against Colombia was Gervinho, who impressed from the left of the forward line.

    He was quick to try and beat defenders on the dribble, linked nicely with his attacking team-mates and, of course, scored one of the goals of the competition so far with his run past three defenders and finish inside the near post.

FW: Luis Suarez, URU

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    Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

    Not fit? Not world class?

    Luis Suarez made a mockery of the claims aimed at him before the game with a two-goal salvo to give his Uruguay side victory over England.

    His off-the-ball running was perfectly timed and deadly. Twice he escaped England's defenders to fire in goals, a header and a thunderous winner late on in the game. With that win, Uruguay are a big step toward qualification for the knockouts, with their biggest game to come against Italy on Tuesday.

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