Also, Luis Suarez is crazy good. Or crazy and good.
1. Colombia is through to the round of 16. Regardless of the result of its final opening-round game (against Japan), Colombia will be joining Holland in the next stage. Despite concerns that the Colombians would hurt for goals without Radamal Falcao, they seem to be doing just fine.
2. Group C is still wide open. With one team already eliminated from Group A and two from Group B, it’s nice to know that at least one group will go into the last game with everything still on the line. Japan will play an already qualified Colombia, while the Ivory Coast and Greece will face off. Even with qualification secured, Colombia will want to take the top spot (which only the Ivoirians could steal from them), so they probably won’t give Japan an easy ride. Only a win will do for Greece. Now, if Greece and Japan both win, and in such a manner that their goal differences are equal…I actually have no idea what happens then. Anyway, watch Gervinho’s goal.
3. England is still alive…somehow. England was very good while losing to Italy in the first game. England was pretty terrible on Thursday, Wayne Rooney’s well worked goal aside. Even with two losses, though, England could still make it through to the round of 16 in a couple of scenarios. The two first-game winners in the group, Italy and Costa Rica, play each other today. If the match ends in a draw or a Costa Rica win, England is eliminated. If Italy wins, England will need to beat Costa Rica by enough to compensate for the goal difference, and also hope that Italy can beat Uruguay. Slim hope, but none of it inconceivable. It would be pretty funny if England did its part only to have Uruguay’s Luis Suarez burn them again.
4. Suarez is an exceptionally talented psychopath. In fairness, Suarez has cleaned up his act in the last year, but…he first came to world attention due to his intentional handball in World Cup 2010. His shrugging acknowledgement that he’d cheated didn’t endear him to many. Nor did his racist abuse of Patrice Evra (who’s hardly the most likable character)…nor did the time he bit a player…nor the other time he bit a player. Suarez clearly has issues, but he is also possibly the best pure striker in the game right now. And there is no shortage of comedy in the fact that it was his Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard that gave him an unintentional “assist.”
5. Lack of strikers dooms Greece and Japan. Just as Suarez was almost single handedly able to elevate Uruguay above England, the lack of a quality striker for Greece or Japan, with all due respect to Kasuki Honda, meant that this game was going to be a draw. Even when Greece was down to 10 men, there was no real indication that the Japanese were going to break through (and no one parks the bus like the Greeks). A dull nil-nil final to close the day, but it will set up a thrilling conclusion.
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