Yet another super power faces early elimination after a thrilling day of 2014 FIFA World Cup action.
Spain has already met their maker after two stunning losses, and now England are on the verge of suffering the same fate after losing a phenomenal match to Uruguay, who found new life with the return of their superstar striker.
It wasn't a bad day for everyone, though. Colombia will advanced to the knockout stage after upping their point tally to six with a key win over the Ivory Coast, while Japan and Greece played to a scoreless draw.
Let's take a look at the updated standings after Day 8.
|2014 FIFA World Cup Table|
Day 8 Results
Colombia 2, Ivory Coast 1
Colombia will travel beyond Group C after notching their second win of the young tournament, this time knocking off the Ivory Coast in a 2-1 victory.
The match started off mundane, entering intermission scoreless. Then James Rodriguez broke through at the 64th minute with the match's first goal, and Juan Quintero wasted little time adding an insurance goal at the 70th minute.
Gervinho cut the lead in half three minutes later, but the Ivory Coast couldn't answer for the second goal. SportsCenter's Twitter page captured Colombia's jubilation after emerging victorious:
Although the Ivory Coast controlled possession for 56 percent of the match and generated 12 shots on goal to Colombia's eight, they fell on the losing side, keeping their point tally to three with an even goal differential.
Colombia will advance to the next stage regardless of what happens against Japan on Tuesday. After Thursday's fixtures, the Ivory Coast still sit in second place with a 72.7 percent chance to advance, according to FiveThirtyEight.
Uruguay 2, England 1
Luis Suarez is back.
After missing Uruguay's opening match due to a small meniscus tear, the star Liverpool striker returned with a vengeance, scoring both of Uruguay's goals in his first match back. After the first score, he embraced team doctor Alberto Pan for helping him make a successful recovery, per 101 Great Goals:
Suarez reveled in proving skeptics wrong about his ability to help his team at less than full strength.
“I dreamt this,” Suarez said after the match per the Associated Press, via NPR. “I’m enjoying this moment, because of all I suffered, the criticism I received. So, there you go.”
ESPN Stats & Info charted the 27-year-old's World Cup production compared to opponent Wayne Rooney, who entered Thursday with a dubious scoreless streak.
But Rooney finally ended his World Cup drought, earning an equalizer late in the match in an attempt to salvage at least one point for England. Unfortunately for the Manchester United star, his time in the spotlight quickly ended, as Suarez once again found the net for a winner at the 85th minute.
Uruguay now have a fighter's chance entering their final group match against Italy. If the Azzurri and Costa Rica draw on Friday, Uruguay can secure a top-two finish with a win on Tuesday.
As for England, they'll need a tremendous amount of help to survive. In addition to demolishing Costa Rica in order to embellish their minus-two point differential, they'll have to rely on rival Italy to beat Costa Rica and Uruguay while damaging their higher point differentials in the process.
Japan 0, Greece 0
A short-handed Greece managed to escape with a draw despite many promising chances for Japan.
During the 38th minute, Greek captain Konstantinos Katsouranis was handed his second yellow card of the match after making a sliding tackle in the midfield. LiveFootball posted a shot of the penalty on Twitter:
Japan dictated the tempo throughout the contest despite receiving the same consolation point for their efforts. Per FIFA's match stats, they controlled possession for 68 percent of the match while completing 570 passes to Greece's 144.
They also knocked on the door many more times, compiling 62 dangerous attacks, more than double Greece's tally of 25. During the match, ESPN Stats & Info illustrated the vast difference between these two attacks.
Considering how the match unfolded, Greece should consider themselves fortunate to exit with a draw. While it keeps their hopes alive, they'll need a victory over the Ivory Coast in addition to Japan upsetting Colombia.
If they win but Japan falters, Greece must make up two goals in their differential. Due to stellar goalkeeping from Orestis Karnezis, they'll at least suit up on Tuesday in a meaningful match.
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