Thursday 2 February 2023 Dublin: 9°C
# Round-Up
Breakfast at Bebeto’s: All you need to know from the third night of World Cup action
We reflect on England-Italy, Costa Rica-Uruguay and the rest of last night’s action.

Soccer - FIFA World Cup 2014 - Group D - England v Italy - Arena da Amazonia Mike Egerton Mike Egerton

(England’s Steven Gerrard battles for the ball with Italy’s Andrea Pirlo)

On Day 3

MARIO BALOTELLI SCORED the winner as Italy beat England 2-1 in their World Cup duel in the Amazon on Saturday. AC Milan striker Balotelli nodded past former Manchester City team-mate Joe Hart on 50 minutes to decide the tense Group D encounter at Manaus’s sweltering Amazonia Arena. Italy’s Juventus midfielder Claudio Marchisio had fired the Azzurri into a deserved lead on 35 minutes, rifling home a low shot from outside the area after a well-worked corner routine wrong-footed the English defence. England struck back with a fine goal on the counter-attack. Raheem Sterling released Wayne Rooney down the left and the Manchester United star’s cross was buried by Daniel Sturridge. The Italian victory leaves Cesare Prandelli’s side in pole qualifying position from Group D.

Brazil Soccer WCup Uruguay Costa Rica AP / Press Association Images AP / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

Earlier in the day, Costa Rica kept the World Cup upsets going on Saturday with a shock 3-1 win over Uruguay. In yet another free-flowing, high-scoring match, minnows Costa Rica recovered from falling behind to an Edinson Cavani penalty to claim a surprise win at the Castelao Stadium in Fortaleza. That came just 24 hours after the Netherlands stunned and humiliated reigning champions Spain 5-1 in Salvador. Uruguay, the reigning South American champions, had initially looked to be on the way to all three points in the Group D opener after Cavani’s first-half spot-kick.

Brazil Soccer WCup AP / Press Association Images AP / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

Stylish Colombia started the day off by shrugging off the absence of star striker Radamel Falcao to hammer Greece 3-0 in Group C. With Falcao watching from the stands, his Monaco team-mate James Rodriguez emerged as the star of the match, scoring one and setting up another for Teofile Gutierrez. Pablo Armero was Colombia’s other scorer.

Brazil Soccer WCup Ivory Coast Japan Petr David Josek Petr David Josek

In the wee hours this morning, second-half goals by Wilfried Bony and Gervinho saw the Ivory Coast come from behind and beat Japan 2-1 in an enthralling World Cup Group C clash in Recife. Keisuke Honda had put the Asian champions in front with a rasping drive at the Pernambuco Arena, but the second-half introduction of Didier Drogba from the bench signalled the start of the Ivory Coast fightback. Bony and Gervinho were the goalscorers though, both heading in right-wing crosses from Serge Aurier to give the Elephants the ideal start to their World Cup campaign.


Brazil Soccer WCup Uruguay Costa Rica Bernat Armangue Bernat Armangue

Joel Campbell – The Arsenal player, who spent last season on loan at Olympiacos, was a revelation for Costa Rica, as they secured a surprise 3-1 victory over Uruguay.

The 21-year-old finished superbly to equalise for his team, before laying on a fine pass for the third goal, which effectively confirmed their victory.

The young attacker also scored eight goals in 32 appearances last season in the Greek League and stood out in Olympiacos’ Champions League 2-0 first-leg victory against Manchester United, while he was instrumental in getting his side back into the game during Costa Rica’s recent friendly encounter with Ireland.

While it’s far too early to give a definitive judgement on Campbell based on these few matches, the signs of late suggest Arsenal could have a potential star on their hands.

Exclusive Six
Nations Analysis

Get Murray Kinsella’s exclusive analysis of Ireland’s Six Nations campaign this spring

Become a Member


Brazil Soccer WCup AP / Press Association Images AP / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

Football hipsters – Many people suggested that Uruguay were the dark horses to win the tournament, but even such cautious optimism looked fanciful in the extreme on yesterday’s showing.

Deprived of a less-than-fully-fit Luis Suarez, the South American side looked ordinary enough, and with England and Italy still to play, their qualification chances are now hanging by a thread.

Moreover, their defence was continually exposed by the pace and intelligence of the Costa Rica attack, enabling the underdogs to secure a deserved victory in the process.

On reflection, perhaps this inept display is not quite so shocking though — after all, they were unconvincing in securing a place at the tournament, needing a play-off to reach the World Cup after failing to progress automatically in a South American qualification league that didn’t even include Brazil.

Joga Bonito

Andrea Pirlo’s unreal swerving free-kick deserved a goal, but unfortunately for Italy hit the woodwork instead.

What have we got to look forward to today?

  • Switzerland get their Group E campaign underway against Ecuador (5pm).
  • France will be hoping to overcome a potential banana skin in the form of Honduras (8pm).
  • One of the World Cup favourites, Argentina, are in action. They take on Bosnia, who looked impressive at times in qualifying, in the late kick-off game (11pm).

Additional reporting by AFP

World Cup hangout: Coming at you live from Brazil>

All the goals as Campbell-inspired Costa Rica stun Uruguay>

Your Voice
Readers Comments