Keep calm and shock the world.
That seemed like a fitting motto for two different countries, for two very different reasons, on Friday, as the twists and turns at the 2014 World Cup continued to blaze a thrilling trail few of us expected to be traversing.
Below, we'll review the day's action, taking a look at the results, goals scored and Golden Boot watch. It was a day of ecstasy for some and agony for others. For the rest of us, well, it was just darn compelling.
|Group||Team 1||Result||Team 2|
Golden Boot Watch
|World Cup Scorers|
|Robin van Persie||Netherlands||3|
|Bryan Ruiz||Costa Rica||1|
|Lee Keun-Ho||South Korea||1|
|Joel Campbell||Costa Rica||1|
|Oscar Duarte||Costa Rica||1|
|Marcos Urena||Costa Rica||1|
|Stefan de Vrij||Netherlands||1|
|Wilfried Bony||Ivory Coast||1|
|Clint Dempsey||United States||1|
|John Anthony Brooks||United States||1|
|Friday scorers highlighted|
If you had Costa Rica as the first team to advance to the knockout phase out of Group D, well, go ahead and pat yourself on the back.
Oh, and stop lying.
Despite most people feeling Costa Rica were the weak link in a strong Group D, the CONCACAF squad dispelled that notion in two games, beating Italy on Friday, 1-0, winning their first two games and knocking England out of the World Cup in the process.
Of all of the shockers we've seen thus far in the World Cup, this has to be the biggest.
That sets up a pretty epic final group match between Italy and Uruguay, with the winner advancing and Italy moving on due to goal differential in the event of a draw.
But back to the game on Friday.
Just minutes after Joel Campbell was fouled in the box but wasn't awarded a penalty—to the chagrin of the Costa Ricans—Junior Diaz sent a lovely cross into the box for Bryan Ruiz, who headed it off the crossbar and into the goal.
The ball careened back out, but the goal stood. Here's the moment, via ESPN FC:
It shouldn't come as a surprise that Ruiz would provide the key moment for Costa Rica. He's their main man, after all, and has been in good form for his country, per WhoScored:
Who would have thought that Costa Rica could beat Uruguay and Italy? Who would have thought England would be eliminated from the World Cup before their final game? Who would have thought either Italy or Uruguay would be joining them soon enough?
It's enough to boggle the mind. But just in case you don't realize just how incredible all of this is, consider the following from Paul Carr of ESPN:
At least England lasted longer than Spain, right?
Meanwhile, if we were using movies to describe World Cup matches, France's dismantling of Switzerland would best be portrayed by "Gone in Sixty Seconds."
Olivier Giroud opened the scoring in the 16th minute with a bit of class on a corner. Take a look, via SportsCenter on Twitter:
Just 66 seconds later—yes, 66 seconds—France made it two, as Switzerland turned the ball over in the midfield and France pounced on the counter. Blaise Matuidi was the scorer this time around, as he sizzled a near-post shot past keeper Diego Benaglio (who, it can be argued, should have done better on both goals).
The French put the game away in the 40th minute on another counter, this time bursting forth after a Swiss corner. Giroud played the role of distributor this time around, as his low, tasty cross set up Mathieu Valbuena for the easiest of tap-ins.
Check it out for yourselves, via ESPN FC:
It could have been even worse for the Swiss, but Karim Benzema failed to convert a first half penalty for France, which would have pulled him even with the leaders in the Golden Boot race.
He'd make up for it in the 67th minute, however, as Paul Pogba's wonderful pass left Benzema free behind the defense. He did the rest, turning and hitting an inch-perfect shot through Benaglio's legs. That tied the Frenchman with Arjen Robben, Robin van Persie and Thomas Mueller for most goals at the tournament with three.
For good measure, Moussa Sissoko would make it five goals for France in the 73rd minute. The Swiss would show some spunk, as Blerim Dzemaili and Granit Xhaka would score late, but this one had long been done and dusted.
In the final match of the day, Ecuador survived a valiant effort from Honduras, winning 2-1. It was Honduras that opened the scoring off a blast from Carlo Costly, but an Enner Valencia brace—giving him three goals for the tournament—was the difference for Ecuador.
Here's the winner, via ESPN FC:
Yes, that puts Valencia in the running for the Golden Boot. Who would've thunk it?
Speaking of the Golden Boot, while the man who knocked England out of the World Cup, Ruiz, probably won't be a factor in the goalscoring competition, the man who almost single-handedly beat England the day before, Uruguay's Luis Suarez, has a very good chance to give the leading scorers at this tournament a run for their money.
Yes, Uruguay still have to beat Italy to advance. But with Suarez back and looking fit, they'll give Italy everything they can handle. And the win over England has certainly given them confidence, as their manager noted after the game via BBC Sport:
Uruguay manager Oscar Tabarez said 'the script of a movie could not have been better written' after watching his country record their first win over European opposition at a World Cup since 1970.
'This match for us was packed with symbolism and I think we proved we are not dead,' he said. 'This brings at least a temporary breeze, gives us tranquillity and lifts our self-esteem.
'Luis Suarez's team-mates really love him. We all love him. He is a wonderful person and a very important player for our team. We've been able to win against a European team and both goals were scored by a player who was unable to play a couple of weeks ago. So of course we love him—and I think he loves us.'
He's also one of the purest goalscorers remaining in the tournament. If Uruguay move on, it will be in large part because of Suarez. And rest assured, he'll have more goals in him in the knockout phase.
On the other hand, so will other players that seem likely to advance to the next round. Neymar, Robben, Van Persie, Muller, Lionel Messi, Benzema and even James Rodriguez will have a say in the Golden Boot competition.
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