World Cup Daily Digest: Luis Suarez Leaves England on Brink, Colombia Roll on

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World Cup Daily Digest: Luis Suarez Leaves England on Brink, Colombia Roll on
Clive Rose/Getty Images

One good performance, one abject performance, two defeats.

England now have the same amount of points as Spain (well, we did always want to emulate the world champions!) but, unlike La Furia Roja, they have not been mathematically eliminated from the competition just yet. But it is surely only a matter of time.

On Thursday, England's age-old failings were on show once again for the world to see, with a few additional ones thrown in for good measure. Roy Hodgson's side were timid on the ball and uninventive going forward, while their defence was again exposed for its lack of quality at the very highest level.

To add insult to injury, it was a Premier League player who confirmed the defeat: a half-fit Luis Suarez scoring at the end of both halves to reignite his country's chances of reaching the knockout stages.

Coach Roy Hodgson was asked after the game whether he would be resigning, something of an over-reaction considering England still have one more game to play (who was going to oversee that one if Hodgson resigned?) and are not technically eliminated just yet.

But it was an indication of just how disappointing England have been that the question was raised so quickly.

"I've been really happy with the way the players have responded to the work we've tried to," Hodgson told reporters (per David Kent of the Daily Mail). "I'm bitter disappointed, of course, but I don't feel I need to resign, no.

"On the other hand, if the FA think I'm not the right man to do the job..."

That is unlikely to be the case, considering Hodgson's contract runs for another two years and there is a dearth of other obvious candidates to take his place. Hodgson has also done some good in improving the mood within the squad and modernising the tactical outlook, but clearly he still has some way to go to address England's more ingrained traits.

Having seen a number of countries with less high-profile players—Chile and Colombia, most prominently—come together to play in a smart, efficient style, it is painful to see England's well-known stars struggle to come together and do the same.

It may not have been as dramatic a demise as Spain, but at least they have won a few tournaments in recent memory. It will be 50 years since England won a major tournament by the time the 2016 Euros roll around, and England seem no closer to finding a way back to the summit.


Gabriel Rossi/Getty Images

 

Results in brief - Day Eight

Colombia 2-1 Ivory Coast
(Rodriguez, Quintero; Gervinho)

Uruguay 2-1 England
(Suarez (2); Rooney)

Japan 0-0 Greece


 

1. Notes from Day Two

Colombia give rivals food for thought... They were holding on a bit at the end, but Colombia kicked off Day Eight with a narrow 2-1 victory over Ivory Coast, their second win of the competition. Japan's subsequent draw with Greece means they are already through to the knockout rounds, with only the top spot in the group still to play for in the final game against Japan.

That could be important; however, the difference between facing Italy or Uruguay (or Costa Rica) in the last-16 is significant. With the attacking players they have at their disposal—Juan Cuadrado, James Rodriguez, Teo Gutierrez—they will be a fearsome opponent for any country (even if they perhaps don't quite have the all-round resilience of Chile). 

Indiscipline strikes again... Greece aren't out of the World Cup, but like England they are on the brink. They now need to beat Ivory Coast and hope that Colombia do not slip up against Japan. Ideally, they would have wanted to try and beat the Asian side on Thursday evening, but Kostas Katsouranis' early red card for a second bookable offence effectively forced them to sit back and try simply to retain the draw.

If they go out next week, that red card might have been a vitally important factor. 

Uruguay back from the dead... They still have work to do, but Uruguay can now realistically think about reaching the knockout stages, having looked dead and buried when they lost to Group D's presumed weaker partner, Costa Rica.

With Suarez back in and in goalscoring form, Oscar Tabarez's side will fancy their chances of getting the result they need against Italy. Beyond that, however, they may need a little more inspiration in midfield if they are to match 2010's memorable semi-final run.

 

2. Quote of the Day

For long periods of the game we kept him very quiet.

- England coach Roy Hodgson (per Reuters

Yes, Roy, but what about periods when you did not keep Luis Suarez very quiet?

 

 

3. Tweet of the Day

Honorable mentions...

 

4. Goal of the Day

His second goal was more important (and more emphatic), but Luis Suarez's first goal was the best of the day—involving as it did both great movement and great technique between him and Edinson Cavani to set up the clever finish.

 

5. A good day for...

Juan Quintero. The Colombian scored his first goal for his country to secure their victory over Ivory Coast on Thursday, in the process ensuring his country reached the knockout stages of a World Cup for the first time since 1990. The sort of stuff boys dream of doing.

 

6. A bad day for...

Steven Gerrard. He lost the Premier League title on a slip, and now the 34-year-old has seen his World Cup dreams effectively ended after his misdirected late header fell perfectly into the path of Luis Suarez, who duly went on and scored the winner. 

Gerrard really must be wondering who he offended to experience two slices of such bad luck.

 

7. Tomorrow's schedule

Vinicius Costa/Getty Images

Italy vs. Costa Rica (Group D: 5 p.m. BST/12 p.m. EDT)

All of England will be watching this one. Anything other than an Italy win and England are out of the World Cup with one game to spare. Fortunately, the form book would suggest Italy should win this one—but Costa Rica will doubtless be buoyed by their opening victory over Uruguay and should be respected.

Switzerland vs. France (Group E: 8 p.m. BST/3 p.m. EDT)

Both sides won their opening fixtures, albeit with differing levels of ease. Switzerland needed a last-minute goal to down Ecuador, while France were far too good for a dirty Honduras side. The French should again be favourites for this one considering the all-round talent at their disposal, but Switzerland have stars of their own, and now avoiding defeat will leave them very well placed to reach the knockout stages.

Honduras vs. Ecuador (Group E: 11 p.m. BST/6 p.m. EDT)

A must-win game for both sides, with the loser potentially going home if the earlier game in the group ends in a draw. Ecuador will be confident they have the quality to emerge victorious, although they may be demoralised somewhat by the manner in which they were robbed of a point in their opener with Switzerland. Honduras's aim will once again be to keep a clean sheet for as long as possible—after that, who knows?

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