Match day 3 at the World Cup 2014 served the first round of matches for Group C and Group D. Group C comprises of Colombia, Greece, Ivory Coast and Japan while Group D, the group of death, has Uruguay, England, Italy and Costa Rica.
The first match of the day was Colombia versus Greece. The pre-match analysis was all about the missing Falcao and everyone wanted to see how the Colombians would cope without their star man. On paper, both teams looked evenly balanced but the Colombians were touted as the favorites to win the game considering they were playing so close to home.
Colombia was quick out of the block with the first goal coming in the 5th minute from Armero, who scored only his second international goal. After that it was a balanced game as both teams went on the attack but Greece failed to find any way past the Colombian defense. The game thus went in to the break with the Colombians with the one goal lead.
The beginning of the second half was like the end of the first, with some end to end flowing football before the Colombians doubled their lead through Gutierrez. It seemed over for the Greeks as they didnâ€™t look like they would mount any comeback and the icing was placed on the cake by the industrious Rodriguez in the dying minutes of the game.
The second match of the day had Uruguay take on Costa Rica in the first of the Group D matches. With Uruguay missing out on their star strike, Luis Suarez, the weight of the attack was placed on the capable shoulders of PSG striker Edison Cavani. The Uruguayans were favorites to win this match having been come into the tournament as the South American champions but with football anything can happen.
Uruguay took the lead from the penalty spot as Edison Cavani didnâ€™t make any mistakes to put the ball into the back of the net. The game went into the break with Uruguay in the lead.
It looked like everything would go as predicted but Costa Rica were not to make it so easy as they drew level after Arsenal striker, Joel Campbell, made the best of the chance afforded to him.
From then on it was Costa Rica all the way, as the Uruguayans looked a shadow of their 2010 selves. With goals from Duarte and super sub, Urena Costa Rica made sure they caused the first upset of the tournament beating Uruguay three goals to one. Everyone was now looking forward to the match between Italy and England to try and get a bearing of how things would play out in this group.
The match between Italy and England kicked off at 10 pm local time. Both teams had a point to prove after a disastrous showing in the 2010 world cup. Italy had been rocked by injuries going into this match but still had a very good first eleven.
It was however the English who started this game on fire with Raheem Sterling giving the Italian defense a lot to worry about. His shot from long range hit the side netting but it was a warning sign to the Italians that the English were here to play, and win.
However it was the Italians who took the lead after a fine corner move and a genius of a dummy from Pirlo to give Marchisio space to shoot from outside the box and send the ball in between the English defense and past Joe Hart.
England were on fire though and replied after two minutes with Sterling putting Rooney through and his cross was put into the net by Liverpool striker, Daniel Sturridge. England were back in the game and as the teams went into the half at one one it looked like they would mount a comeback and win this game.
After the 15 minute half time break the teams were back on the pitch but this time the Italians looked more composed and starved the English midfield off the ball. Italian strike, Mario Balotelli came into the world cup with a point to prove having come from a poor season by his club AC Milan. Thus it seemed like part of the script that he would be the one to score what would be the winner in the 50th minute to put the Italians in the lead. Why always him you ask?
With the victory the Italians go into the second round group matches at second spot behind Costa Rica and will hope to get all points as they face the Central American team and all but seal their progress from the group stages. As for England, it will be a tough mountain to climb as they face Uruguay on Thursday with both teams needing nothing short of a win.
The last game had the Ivorians face off with Japan. After the loss suffered by Cameroon in the second day matches, it was up to the Ivorians to put in a good show on behalf of Africa.
Japan took the lead thanks to a wonderful finish by Keisuke Honda and went into the break with the one goal advantage. It looked like the second of the African teams would disappoint too but two goals in two minutes by Winfred Bony and Gervinho gave the Ivory Coast team the lead which they held onto till the final whistle.