Despite there being three more World Cup matches on Thursday, there was only really one match that we were all talking about – England v Uruguay.

A hugely important match after both sides lost their opening group fixture and therefore both needed to get the three points. The loser of the match would practically be eliminated already.

The other two fixtures saw Colombia face Ivory Coast and Japan come up against Greece.


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Colombia v Ivory Coast

The first half of the match was a relatively even affair, both sides created chances and played some good football.

It surprised me that Wilfried Bony was again preferred to Didier Drogba and after having little influence on the match Bony was replaced on the hour mark by Drogba.

Unsurprisingly Yaya Toure was involved in most of Ivory Coast’s good play and the one time Leeds and Leicester winger Gradel looked lively out wide.

Colombia looked dangerous when they went forward and I’m enjoying watching them so far, I may adopt them as my team should England fail to make the last 16.

Teofilo Gutierrez was a part of much of their attacking success and he had a great opportunity to put them ahead from eight yards but totally mistimed his shot. The two teams went in to half time level at 0-0 and I had a feeling that the match may end up finishing as a goalless draw.

In the second half it was Colombia who pressed on and looked the more likely to score. It turned out to be nine second half minutes which would be decisive, with three goals being scored.

James Rodriguez - having a superb tournament

Juan Quintero got Colombia’s second goal

Colombia were starting to test the Ivorian keeper Barry and he had to tip a Cuadrado shot onto the cross bar. Soon afterwards though Colombia did take the lead, with Cuadrado being involved again, this time he crossed the ball into the box from a corner and James Rodriguez headed the ball into the back of the net.

Six minutes later Colombia got their second of the afternoon when Gutierrez was able to dispossess Die and play the ball to Quintero who tucked the ball away.

The Ivory Coast weren’t prepared to go down without a fight however and it was Gervinho who gave them hope, he cut inside and beat a few Colombian defenders before reducing the deficit to a single goal in the 73rd minute.

Gervinho goal Colombia Ivory CoastGervinho has looked a much better player since leaving Arsenal and perhaps he is one of those players for whom it just doesn’t quite work out in the Premier League.

The Elephants could have equalised when Mario Yepes made a mistake which allowed Drogba to rush through on goal but keeper Ospina was able to clear up the danger.

The match finished 2-1 to Colombia with them looking a good side and one that England or Uruguay could face in the last 16.



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England v Uruguay

When the starting line-ups were announced it was good to see that Roy had stuck with the same 11 who had been unlucky against Italy but the more pleasing part for me was that Rooney had been moved into a more central role after not being able to get into the match in the previous game. We started the game relatively brightly however we did seem to be playing at a slightly slower tempo than we had done against Italy, as we allowed Uruguay to get a hold on the game and start to dictate the play.

We did however look the most likely to take the lead, with our attacking play being strong again. We were given a freekick after Godin handled the ball and the referee deemed it a yellow card offence. Rooney then hit a great curling effort which just narrowly missed the target. Rooney was to again come close to giving England the lead, again from a freekick but this time it was Gerrard who took the freekick, delivering it to the back post where Rooney leapt to meet it with his head but could only hit the crossbar and not the net.

A big talking point of the match was when we earned yet another free kick when Daniel Sturridge was elbowed to the ground by Godin but the referee didn’t see this offence as worthy of a second booking, much to the disgust of the England fans. Had Sterling decided to role around on the floor like we have seen from many of the South American sides during the tournament so far, Godin would probably have been sent off. This was made even more infuriating when Uruguay went on to take the lead…

APTOPIX Brazil Soccer WCup Uruguay EnglandIn the 39th minute Steven Gerrard gave the ball away in midfield and the ball found its way to Cavani who wasn’t closed down on the corner of the box by the England defenders, giving him time to deliver a world class and inch perfect cross into the centre of the area which Suarez ran on to head into Joe Hart’s goal. It was gutting and probably inevitable that it was Suarez who scored. He ran over to the sideline to celebrate with the medical staff.

Rather than let our heads drop we responded in just the right manner and went straight up the other end with Sturridge firing a shot at the near post which keeper Muslera had to knock behind for a corner. We failed to get the equaliser and went in at half time trailing by a goal to nil and feeling low.

The second half started with plenty of action with our defence looking very shaky and failing to clear the ball properly and with us being guilty of too many mistakes and gifting the ball back to Uruguay which created a few chances for them to extend their lead. Fortunately for us this time Suarez and Cavani both wasted their opportunities and we were able to cling on.

There was a bit of a scare at one point when Pereira slid onto Sterling’s knee and lost consciousness but then demanded to remain on the pitch which the Uruguay coaching and medical staff allowed to happen and he played the full 90 minutes.

We had a wonderful opportunity to get the equaliser when Rooney managed to wriggle away from a couple of Uruguay defenders inside the box after a great first touch and with the chance to shoot at goal from close range he managed to hit a shot on target straight at the keeper, anywhere else and it was a goal. With Rooney having now missed a few chances it was starting to look like he was never going to get a World Cup goal and we were wishing some of the opportunities had fallen to our number 9.

Rooney goal England UruguayWith 15 minutes of the match remaining we were given something that was to make the eventual defeat even harder to take – hope. Sturridge did excellently to turn away from a couple of defenders and played the ball out wide to Glenn Johnson who was rushing forward, he then did superbly to carry the ball into the box and play a ball along the floor across the face of the goal which Rooney ran onto and tapped in from close range, YESSSS!!! GET IN!! Come on then England, fifteen minutes left let’s see if we can win this!

With Barkley and Lallana both now on the pitch and looking lively we kept pushing forward and were looking likely to get another goal and go onto win the match. Alas it wasn’t to be. Uruguay keeper Muslera hit the ball long upfield and unfortunately Gerrard missed his header, whether he mistimed the jump or something I’m not sure but the ball hit his shoulder and this then released Luis Suarez through on goal who powered a shot past Joe Hart to seal the victory for Uruguay. It was hard to watch as Suarez looked overcome with emotions and there was a mass pile on near the corner flag with even the substitutes getting involved. Hodgson tried everything he could, throwing Rickie Lambert on to the pitch too but it was all too late and the referee blew his full time whistle with the score at 2-1.

From minutes of such hope and promise and that wonderful feeling after Rooney had equalised we were left feeling at rock bottom and Jagielka’s interview showed that the players felt how much this hurt them too. It doesn’t look good for England as we are now practically out of the tournament as we need to rely on Italy to get two more victories to do us a massive favour and then we must beat Costa Rica in our final match, who certainly won’t be pushovers after the way they played against Uruguay and I’m sure they’d like nothing more than to say they knocked England out.

Jagielka Rooney England UruguayJust to add to the doom and gloom I saw the stat that no side has ever progressed to the last 16 after losing their opening two group matches. Fantastic.

I am however happy with how we’ve played in this tournament, blooding youngsters along the way and looking promising and exciting when we attack it has just been our defence and mistakes that have cost us and unfortunately when you’re competing in a World Cup you have to be clinical when you get an opportunity, something we haven’t done despite our impressive build up play.



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Japan GreeceJapan v Greece

In all truth I was feeling pretty low whilst watching this match and it didn’t do much to cheer me up with it being a pretty dull 0-0 stalemate.

Neither side looks likely to make the last 16 as they don’t offer enough going forward, with both sides wasting chances.

Greece will be more satisfied with the draw as they were playing with 10 men from the 38th minute onwards as Katsouranis managed to earn himself two yellow cards in the first half.

One of these sides could actually make it through to the last 16 but it would be a huge shame if they were to do so as it would be far more entertaining to see Ivory Coast make it, especially with some of the talented players that they have amongst their squad.



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Luis Suarez of Uruguay celebrates scoring a goal after making it 1-0Player of the Day: LUIS SUAREZ – The controversial character showed clinical finishing to be Uruguay’s match winner, scoring both of their goals and putting in a man of the match performance.

Suarez started the match and despite not being at full fitness he was able to single-handedly beat England and play almost the entire match. His linkup play with the Liverpool captain proved to be just as lethal to the England backline as it has to Premier League defences all season. If Suarez can remain fit then who knows how far Uruguay could go.


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GROUP D – Italy v Costa Rica (5pm, BBC)

GROUP E – Switzerland v France (8pm, ITV); Honduras v Ecuador (11pm, ITV)

In the 5pm  kick off we can watch Italy take on Costa Rica and hope that they get the victory to give us a slight chance of making it past the group stages. I’d fancy Italy to win but perhaps luckily for me I’m not going to be able to watch this one as I’m at work.

Switzerland then take on France, and I look forward to seeing what France look like in this game after they impressed me in their opening fixture. Benzema in particular was superb. I’d be lumping money on France to score and definitely looking at Benzema getting at least another goal.

The 11pm kick off sees Honduras take on Ecuador and I’d probably be tempted to have a bet on Honduras getting a few bookings and maybe a red card, especially with their style of kicking players in an attempt to stop them playing!


world cup Brasil emblem 01

Owls Alive
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