Enner Valencia 34 65 – Carlos Costly 31
The two teams exchanged chances with Enner Valencia and Victor Bernandez missing good chances for their respective countries. Before long Carlos Costly found an opening in between Ecuador’s central defenders and shot past Alexander Dominguez. Three minutes later a slightly deflected cross allowed Enner Valencia to poke the ball in and tie the game. Just before half time Carlos Costly thought he had a goal. The referee, but not the assistant, called it back for offside. Replays showed that referee was right. The second half had several less than half chances until Enner Valencia scored yet another goal by easily heading in a free kick. More chances but not so close calls and Ecuador got the three points they really needed.
Switzerland 2-5 France
Blerim Dzemaili 81 Granit Xhaka 87 – Olivier Giroud 17 Blaise Matuidi 18 Mathieu Valbuena 40 Karim Benzema 67 Moussa Sissoko 73
MOTM Karim Benzema
The Swiss started the two goal scoring subs, Haris Seferovic and Admir Mehmedi, from the Ecuador game. French looked livelier to start and it paid off. The first goal came from a strong Olivier Giroud header and the second followed immediately when Valon Behrami passed behind him without looking. The French took the ball and Blaise Matuidi finished from a tight angle. The Swiss woke up and game opened up. The Swiss came close on two occasions but it was a Benzema run that resulted in a penalty. The replays showed contact but the penalty questionable. Diego Benaglio jumped correctly to stop the penalty and Yohan Cabaye hit the post instead of the wide open goal on the rebound. A third came after a French counterattack and good final Karim Benzema pass to Mathieu Valbuena. The second half featured a few Swiss half chances and some of the best attacking movement of the World Cup so far by Benzema, Giroud, Valbuena et al. France’s fourth came when Swiss sub Philippe Senderos didn’t deal with the ball properly and the French cross fell to Benzema. Late Switzerland efforts consisted of long range free kick squeezing in via the middle of the wall and a nice pass and quick shot.
Italy 0-1 Costa Rica
Bryan Ruiz 44
MOTM Christian Bolanos
A relatively uneventful start featuring several Italian offsides began to change with a couple of Mario Balotelli shots on Keylor Navas and Christian Bolanos testing Gianluigi Buffon, having started the game. Late in the half Giorgio Chiellini lost the ball and seemed to take down Joel Campbell but no penalty was given. As far as a lead goes Costa Rica got theirs moments later when a cross was headed over Buffon and off and down the crossbar by Bryan Ruiz. Antonio Cassano replaced Thiago Motta at the half and so the midfield three featuring Motta, Andrea Pirlo and Daniele De Rossi didn’t last for long. The game didn’t change much early in the second and Lorenzo Insigne soon replaced Antonio Candreva and a bit later Alessio Cerci replaced Claudio Marchisio. Italy were poor in possession and passing and Costa Rica played and fought well and certainly well enough to win their second in two matches. The result meant that England were eliminated early.
Japan 0-0 Greece
MOTM Keisuke Honda
The match was a likely candidate for the least interesting of the day and it delivered. Both teams had lost their opening match and needed a win. Any chance Greece had was dampened when Greece captain Konstantinos Katsouranis received two yellows and was gone within 40 minutes. Shinji Kagawa only came on in the second half as Japan tried to take advantage of being a man up but a high number of passes and chances were wasted in the effort to score. Yoshida, Uchida and Endo were most guilty. Greece wasted a few chances of their own and the end result was unsatisfactory for almost every fan and neutral.
England 1-2 Uruguay
Rooney 75 – Luis Suarez 39 85
MOTM Luis Suarez
Luis Suarez announced he is healthy and started the match. The matched featured numerous hard tackles and fewer efforts. For the first goal Suarez evaded both English central defenders and curled the ball past Joe Hart. In the second half England tried to equalize but most of their attempts failed to generate danger. Finally Rooney ran on to a cross and shot past Fernando Muslera for his first World Cup goal. As England tried to go for the win there was a goal on the other side as a long shot made its way to Luis Suarez and he shot strongly over Hart. The long shot would have been offside but it went off Steven Gerrard before getting to Suarez.
Colombia 2-1 Ivory Coast
James Rodriguez 64 Juan Quintero 70 – Gervinho 73
MOTM James Rodriguez
Ivory Coast had Didier Drogba on the bench once again. The game started relatively quietly but picked up as time went by. Colombia often looked like a young team on the verge of becoming a goal machine. Both teams started getting chances with Colombia’s Teofilo Gutierrez having the one notable big miss. The second half featured some good tackling and defending by Mario Yepes and some good runs by Serge Aurier. Man of the match James Rodriguez opened the scoring and substitute Juan Quintero added another beautiful goal but the best goal of the match belonged to Gervinho whose solo effort added some life to Ivory Coast who then tried but failed to equalize.