Italy faced Uruguay and England played Costa Rica as Group D reached its conclusion.
URUGUAY AND ITALY meet today in a loser leaves town match, while England will be looking to restore some pride against Costa Rica.
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Hello, and welcome to our liveblog of today’s early games.
The team news is coming up in a moment…
So firstly, a reminder of what’s at stake.
- Costa Rica are already through to the last 16 but must secure a draw to guarantee top spot, while England need to win to have any hope of avoiding the ignominy of finishing last.
- Meanwhile, Italy take on Uruguay knowing a draw will be good enough to send them through, as they’re level on points with the South American side but have a marginally better goal difference.
Here’s confirmation of how it stands (credit FIFA.com):
Here are the teams…
ITALY: Buffon, De Sciglio, Chiellini, Darmian, Marchisio, Balotelli, Barzagli, Immobile, Bonucci, Pirlo, Verratti.
URUGUAY: Muslera, Godin (c), Pereira, Rodriguez, Suarez, Gimenez, Lodeiro, Arevalo, Gonzalez, Cavani, Caceres.
COSTA RICA: Navas, Gamboa, Duarte, Gonzalez, Miller, Diaz, Ruiz, Borges, Tejeda, Brenes, Campbell.
ENGLAND: Foster, Jones, Smalling, Cahill, Shaw, Lampard, Wilshere, Milner, Barkley, Lallana, Sturridge.
Kobe Bryant’s nailed his colours to the mast!
4 mins – The crowd in the Costa Rica came are currently singing “England’s going home.”
The fans appear to be backing Roy Hodgson despite England’s disappointing tournament.
6 mins – Italy have started nervously.
Buffon has just unconvincingly parried away a free-kick he should be catching.
11 mins – This time it’s Uruguay looking nervous — Pirlo fires a free kick just in and the keeper cautiously tips it over.
Meanwhile, in the England game, Daniel Sturridge has struck a shot from the edge of the box just wide.
It’s been a quiet enough opening in both games, so here’s a hilarious marriage proposal to keep you amused:
18 mins – Italy are looking the stronger side at the moment, but their final ball — unusually for such a technically proficient team — has been pretty poor.
That said, Uruguay are always going to be very dangerous on the break with Suarez and Cavani well capable of nicking a goal.
Meanwhile, Balotelli has just been booked for stupidly jumping into Arévalo Ríos. He’ll miss the next match should Italy progress.
24 mins - Ben Foster has had to make an excellent finger-tip stop from Celso Borges’ powerful free-kick.
England then break, but their attack ends owing to a bad pass from Barkley.
27 mins - A free-kick is knocked into the path of Sturridge, however Duarte nudges him off the ball somewhat riskily, preventing him getting a shot on target in the process.
England have certainly matched Costa Rica so far on the balance of play.
32 mins - Chance for Uruguay, as Suarez is played through, but Buffon does well to get off his line quickly and smother his attempted cross-shot.
Italy certainly aren’t playing an overly attacking game, which is a risky strategy to adopt.
34 mins - Sturridge heads just over after Phil Jones heads a corner back in his direction.
England look the far more threatening side right now.
Suarez makes a mistimed tackle on Pirlo and then reacts in his usual overly expressive way.
Both star players in question have been relatively quiet so far.
Neither game has been particularly entertaining, but the Twitterati have been particularly scathing about Italy-Uruguay.
It’s even been drawing comparisons to the godawful England-Algeria game from 2010.
45 mins - Brenes gets in behind the England defence following a routine punt up field, but he can’t quite finish.
Evidently, all the changes haven’t meant a drastic improvement for England at the back.
HALF-TIME: ENGLAND 0-0 COSTA RICA
HALF-TIME: ITALY 0-0 URUGUAY
This sums up England’s creative ineptitude better than anything else.
Dunphy says Hodgson “deserves the sack” and jokes that he gets paid “8.6 million an hour or something.”
Meanwhile, Liam Brady reckons Balotelli could “lose the head”.
Italy are making a substitution — Marco Parolo is on for Mario Balotelli. Big call from Prandelli.
Both games are back underway…
You can’t say they don’t have a sense of humour.
(Thanks to TheScore.ie reader ‘Solemn Colm’ for sending us the pic.)
49 mins - A Shaw shot falls to Sturridge, who can’t quite control the ball and the keeper Navas gathers it.
England continue to look the more dangerous team.
55 mins - Still not much of note happening in either game.
Barkley and Lallana getting booked for cynical tackles is about the height of the excitement.
60 MINS: RED CARD FOR MARCHISIO!
The Italian gets a straight red for a nasty challenge on Egidio Arevalo.
Here’s a look at that challenge which has hampered Italy’s chances significantly.
63 mins - Great interplay from Sturridge and Wilshere, before the Liverpool man curls a shot inches wide.
Meanwhile, for Italy, Pirlo has just uncharacteristically balooned a shot well over.
Seconds later, Suarez finds space in the box, but Buffon gets down well to make the save.
68 mins: Sturridge, who is increasingly prominent of late, finds himself through on goal, before going down theatrically under a light challenge.
The referee rightly ignores calls for a penalty.
70 mins: Italy substitution: Cassano is on for Immobile for Italy.
Meanwhile, Steven Gerrard replaces Jack Wilshere for England. This may well be the Liverpool man’s final appearance at international level.
74 mins: Thiago Motta comes on for Verrati, as the clock ticks on.
This is a classic Italian defensive display.
Costa Rica fans in fancy dress in the stands.
GOAL! Uruguay 1-0 Italy (Godin, 81)
The defender heads in from a corner to put Uruguay in control.
Unbelievable scenes, it looks like he’s done it again…
Here’s a look at that Suarez moment…
And here’s the Godin goal…
Suarez argues with the referee.
90 mins: Italy still passing it about patiently but no sign of an opening.
FULL-TIME: ENGLAND 0-0 COSTA RICA
A late free-kick for Italy. Buffon is up…
FULL-TIME: URUGUAY 1-0 ITALY
Balotelli is heartbroken…
Right, that’s all from me.
Thanks for reading and commenting, and stay tuned for more reaction as well as our liveblog of tonight’s games.