One player can change the 2014 World Cup.
Just ask Uruguay.
On Day 3, it was embarrassed by Costa Rica, losing by the score of 3-1 to a team tied for the worst odds to win the World Cup, according to Odds Shark. But Uruguay didn't have Luis Suarez, who sat with an injury. Healthy, he played on Day 8 against England, and Uruguay looked like a different team.
Thirty-nine minutes in, Luis Suarez scored the opening goal, putting Uruguay on top, 1-0. Uruguay couldn't afford a draw after losing to Costa Rica. While it wouldn't have eliminated them, odds would've been stacked against the Uruguayans.
Odds looked stacked against them when England's Wayne Rooney tied the game at 1-1 with a goal of his own 75 minutes in. But with five minutes remaining, Suarez slipped behind the defense and scored his second goal of the match, which proved to be the game-winner:
Suarez attempted all but one of Uruguay's shots on goal and single-handedly outscored England.
According to ESPN Stats & Info, England isn't eliminated, but it's close:
Suarez wasn't the only outstanding performer for Uruguay. Fernando Muslera finished with five saves. With these two performing at this level, Uruguay is more than capable of not only advancing to the knockout round, but advancing within it.
The first game of the day was actually Colombia vs. Ivory Coast. Neither team entered fearing elimination after opening match wins, so while the showdown held importance, no dire need to win existed.
Defense dominated for most of the match. After 63 minutes, the score remained knotted at 0-0. And then within six minutes, Colombia's James Rodriguez and Juan Quintero both scored a goal, building it a 2-0 lead.
Ivory Coast's Gervinho scored just three minutes after Quintero, but it couldn't complete the comeback. According to the Washington Post, the win marked the first time in Colombia history it had won two games in a single World Cup:
Colombia will now almost definitely advance to the knockout round. Ivory Coast needs some help, but it's still very much in it.
The final match of the day featured the least excitement. Japan and Greece stayed deadlocked at 0-0 for the entirety of the match. The most action-packed moment came when Greece's Kostas Katsouranis drew a red card.
The two teams combined for just eight shots on goal. And Japan managed only four, despite possessing the ball 74 percent of the match. Both teams' odds of advancing to the knockout round shrunk even more.
Here are the updated standings after Day 8's action:
|4||Bosnia and Herzegovina||0||-1||1||0||0||1||1||2|
David Daniels is a columnist at Bleacher Report. He tweets, too.
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