Teams of Groups C and D contested four bids for the Round of 16, and adversarial situations developed in each of them. Matches simultaneously commenced in Group D at 8pm Moscow time. The Costa Rican team played against England, and Uruguay against Italy.
The Costa Rica vs. England match almost lacked intrigue. Way back in the previous series, Costa Ricans qualified for a playoff earlier than scheduled and the English, on the contrary, lost all chancesto continue the competition. The only thing that the team, trained by Roy Hodgson, could do was to prevent the opponents from rising to the top of the list in the group tournament table. However, in order to achieve that, they were to outperform them. In reality, the English team did not manage to slam the door: one of the most boring matches in the WCF ended in a draw 0-0, which enabled Costa Rica to place first in Group D without looking back at competitors.
The other confrontation in the Group turned out to be much more dramatic. A draw would have suited the Italians to qualify for a playoff resultant of the best goal average, whereas the Uruguayans needed to forge a victory. Pre-match set-ups directly influenced the course of the game.The Italian team as if intentionally appered on the field to play for a draw and fully concentrated their efforts on defense of the goal cage. The opponents started to look for ways and approaches to the goal cage from another other side. In the first half of the match, the Uruguayans failed to score 0-0.
However, the Italians will remember the second half of the match for long. A tangible adjustment to the game was made by the referee who, upon the expiry of one hour of the game, left the Italians undermanned. In the 59th minute, Claudio Marchisio was awarded a red card for hitting an opponent with a straight leg below the knee.
Subsequently, there occurred an event that is certain to be discussed for long even after the end of the World Cup in Brazil. In the 78th minute, Luis Suarez, an Uruguayan, in the penalty area of the opposing side, collided with Italian fullback Giorgio Chiellini, hitting his forehead against Chiellini's shoulder. Following that, both players fell onto the lawn. Later on, Chiellini and his team mates started vociferously to argue with the referee, seeking to prove that Suarez bit his shoulder. As a proof, the fullback showed traces of a bite. The referee dismissed the moment, although it was really seen in a rerun that Suarez teeth made a movement in the direction of the shirt of Chiellini who in retaliation hit the Uruguayan on the jaw with his elbow.
After the match, this topic exclipsed all others, even the final defeat of the Italians 0-1 and their dropping out of the World Cup, as well as the resignation of Cesare Prandelli from the post of the chief coach of Scuadra Azzurra. Diego Godin brough victory to the Uruguay in the 81st minute through an accurate shot after a corner kick.
As far as Suarez is concerned, FIFA, considering that this was not the first instance of the Uruguayan forward's inappropriate behavior, launched an inquiry into the incident. If it is established during the inquiry that Suarez really bit Chiellini, he would face disqualification for up to two years. The final standings in Group D are as follows:
1. Costa Rica (7 point; goal average 4-1);
2. Uruguay (6, 4-4);
3. Italy (3, 2-3);
4. England (1, 2-4).
The situation in Group C was slightly more intricate than that in Group D. There was also a favorite that solved the task of qualifying ahead of schedule - Colombia's team. Their opponents for the last series, Japan, also contended for qualifying for the Round of 16, unlike the English. However, main rivalry for a playoff developed in controntation of the teams of Greece and Cote-d'Ivoire in a match that began at mdinight simultaneously with the Colombia vs. Japan match.
The Colombian side effected a wide-ranging rotation of line-up and did not leave the slightest chance to the Japanese. Before the breather, Japan's team competed on a par and the score was even (1-1). After the break, the Colombians scored three unreciprocated goals. The scorers for the South American team were Juan Cuardado, from a penalty kick, James Rodriguez, and Jackson Martinez who registered a double.
A single goal for the Japanese side was scored by Shinji Okazaki following a pass from former CSKA player Keisuke Honda. The Colombia team also set a kind of record at the World Cup. Legendary goal keeper Faryd Mondragon, who had turned 45 over the recent days, was fielded as a substitute in the team trained by Jose Pequerman. Modragon became the oldest player ever participating in a World Cup match.
The Greece vs. Cote d'Ivoire match proved much more tense. The Greek footballers needed a win while the Ivorians would have been content with a draw. However, they also fought to the end. In the first half, the Greeks had to effect two enforced substitutions owing to players' injuries, one of which was sustained in the goal keeping position. However, the players of the team, trained by Fernando Santos, like courageous Spartans, endured all the adversities and surged ahead by the end of the first half. Andreas Samaris, fielded as a substitute, scored with the aid of a pass from Giorgios Samaras.
Subsequently everything was favorable for the Greeks until the 73rd minute when Wilfried Bony evened the score in a counterattack 1-1. It was essential for the Greeks to score again now but they were pressed for time. At last, when all were already preparing to congratulate the Ivorians, the Greek achieved their purpose. Samaras, when forcing his way to the opposing team's goal cage in extra time, stumbled in the penalty area of the opponents not without "help" from Giovanni Sio, and the referee immediately ordered a penalty kick. Celtic forward himself impeccably effected the 11-meter kick 2-1.
The standings in Group C are as follows:
1. Colombia (9 points, goal average 9-2);
2. Greece (4, 2-4);
3. Cote d'Ivoire (3, 4-5);
4. Japan (1, 2-6).
n the Round of 16, Colombia's team will play against Uruguay, and the Greeks are to meet with Costa Rica.
Russia's footballers, for their part, managed to find a slot in the tight schedule of preparations for a decisive match against Algeria, in order to visit the center for the disabled in Ito. The Russian players' gesture of goodwill shows that football is really a game for everyone.