One of the 2014 World Cup scores from Day 8 should be plastered on the front page of every sports website: Luis Suarez 2, England 1.
An injury kept Suarez sidelined in Uruguay's opening match against Costa Rica. Costa Rica won 3-1. Suarez returned to the lineup against England on Thursday.
Uruguay won 2-1, and Suarez scored both goals. He first gave Uruguay a 1-0 lead 39 minutes in, and after Wayne Rooney tied it 36 minutes later, Suarez answered with five minutes remaining.
Without Suarez, Uruguay lost to a team with 5,000-1 odds to win the World Cup, according to Odds Shark. With Suarez, Uruguay nearly eliminated England from knockout-round contention and kept its own hopes of advancing alive. He has quickly established himself as one of the most valuable players in the World Cup.
So has Colombia's James Rodriguez, who scored and won man of the match again on Day 8. He led his team to a 2-1 victory over Ivory Coast.
Rodriguez also had help from Juan Quintero, who scored what ultimately became the game-clinching goal for Colombia. Quintero, who didn't play a second in the 3-0 win over Greece, came on as a substitute and scored just six minutes after Rodriguez to crush Ivory Coast.
According to ESPN's Paul Carr, Colombia has never won this many games in a World Cup before.
To avoid too much excitement, Japan and Greece decided their show would be a 0-0 draw. In the defensive battle, each goalie recorded four saves.
Having possessed the ball 74 percent of the match, Japan should have come away with the win, but it couldn't finish again. This was, understandably, Fox Sports' highlight of the match:
Here are the schedule and predictions for Day 9.
|Day 9 Schedule|
|Noon||Italy vs. Costa Rica||ESPN||2-1, Italy|
|3 p.m.||Switzerland vs. France||ESPN||1-1, Draw|
|6 p.m.||Honduras vs. Ecuador||ESPN||2-0, Ecuador|
All odds are according to Odds Shark*
Italy vs. Costa Rica
Which Costa Rica will show up against Italy? A team so underwhelming with talent that no one has worse odds to win the World Cup, or a team that can score three goals in a half like it did against Uruguay? Somewhere in between is a safe bet.
Despite Costa Rica's impressive opening match, oddsmakers still aren't fans. They have pegged Costa Rica as a 157-25 underdog to beat Italy. But given that Costa Rica trounced Uruguay, which beat England by the same score that Italy did, Costa Rica still seems to be underestimated.
Italy will win. It's far more talented from top to bottom, and the element of surprise coupled with Luis Suarez's absence aided Costa Rica on Day 3. But don't expect a blowout.
Switzerland vs. France
The first seed in Group E will be on the line in this match. France is a 50-59 favorite after defeating Honduras by the score of 3-0. Switzerland edged Ecuador, its main competitor for a spot in the knockout round, 2-1 in its opener.
No matter the outcome of this match, both sides will likely advance. France will be heavily favored over Ecuador in its final group-stage match, as Switzerland will be against Honduras.
Both teams displayed incredible defense thus far, allowing a combined one goal. When they meet, it figures to be a low-scoring affair. A win for either team wouldn't be shocking, but because they're each playing so well, a draw is most likely.
Honduras vs. Ecuador
Honduras is pitiful. Its 3-0 loss to France doesn't even do its pitifulness justice. Not only did Honduras lose by three goals, but it only mustered up two shots on goal the entire match.
An Ecuador loss would be the most shocking of the day. Honduras has the same odds to win the World Cup as Costa Rica, except Honduras has lived down to those expectations.
While Ecuador also fell in its opener, Switzerland needed 93 minutes to pull ahead. Ecuador can and will keep its knockout-round hopes alive with a convincing win on Friday.
David Daniels is a columnist at Bleacher Report. He tweets, too.
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