A walkover for Colombia, an absolute stunner for Costa Rica, a high-profile win for Italy and a second-half comeback victory for Ivory Coast. Yeah, Day 3 of the World Cup was wildly entertaining.
Here’s how it all shook out:
Colombia 3-0 Greece | Full Recap
Colombia put on a show in Belo Horizonte, delighting the passionate, incredibly pro-Colombian crowd with a 3-0 victory over Greece. Los Cafeteros didn’t waste any time going ahead, with Pablo Armero scoring in the fifth minute to launch this awesome celebration:
Teofilo Gutierrez put Colombia up 2-0 in the 58th minute, launching another great celebration, this one from RSL’s Colombian contingent Olmes Garcia and Sebastian Velasquez.
Colombia put the icing on the cake in the 93rd minute, when James Rodriguez found the back of the net to make it 3-0 for the South American side. Colombia will face Ivory Coast next, while Greece will take on fellow Group C rivals Japan. Both matches will be played on Thursday.
Uruguay 1-3 Costa Rica | Full Recap
Costa Rica pulled off the finest moment in their soccer history on Saturday, putting in an incredible second half performance to beat 2010 semifinalists Uruguay 3-1 in Fortaleza.
Watched from the stands by injured RSL and Costa Rican national team striker Alvaro Saborio, Los Ticos fell behind in the first half, going down 1-0 after Uruguay forward Edinson Cavani buried a penalty kick in the 24th minute. Costa Rica didn’t really threaten for the rest of the first half, prompting ace Fox Soccer reporter Kyle McCarthy to tweet this:
Costa Rica desperately misses Saborío as an option up front when chasing the game. No one to hold the ball or provide an aerial threat. #CRC— Kyle McCarthy (@kylejmccarthy) June 14, 2014
Costa Rica turned things around in the second half, coming out like gangbusters and equalizing in the 54th minute through Joel Campbell, who looks poised to be one of the breakout players of the tournament. Costa Rica defender Oscar Duarte pulled Los Ticos ahead just three minutes later, bravely diving for a header that he tucked home from close-range. Substitute forward Marcos Ureña sealed things up in the 84th, rolling an excellent Campbell pass home with his first touch.
Costa Rica has Italy up next on Friday. Uruguay will look to keep their World Cup hopes alive against England on Thursday.
England 1-2 Italy | Full Recap
Italy turned in a truly professional performance to top England, getting a first half goal from Claudio Marchisio and a second half strike from “Super” Mario Balotelli to beat the Brits 2-1 in Manaus.
Things started off wide open, with both sides pushing up-and-down the pitch to generate chances. Italy took the lead in the 35th minute, with Marchisio collecting a pass off of a short corner outside the top of the box and rifling home inside the left post. The whole thing was set up by a truly wonderful dummy by the majestic Andrea Pirlo, one of the most masterful players in all of international soccer.
England hit back almost immediately, with forward Danny Welbeck slotting home a Wayne Rooney cross in the 37th minute to make it 1-1. Balotelli nearly gave Italy the lead at the stroke of halftime, but saw his cheeky chip shot cleared off the line by England center back Phil Jagielka.
Balotelli wasn’t so unlucky in the 50th minute, when he headed home an Antonio Candreva cross at the left post to give Italy the 2-1 lead.
The world kept waiting for England to hit back after Balotelli’s strike, but the Three Lions never got off their haunches, melting in the Manaus heat and not really threatening at all before the final whistle.
England will return to action next week, taking on Uruguay in a do-or-die match for both sides on Thursday. Italy will resume play on Friday, facing off against Group D leaders Costa Rica.
Ivory Coast 2-1 Japan | Full Recap
Japan controlled led for a large stretch of this one, but it was Ivory Coast that came out on top, scoring two goals in two minutes in the second half to top Japan 2-1 in Recife.
Both of Ivory Coast’s goals came shortly after the introduction of legendary forward – and national hero – Didier Drogba, whose mere presence seemed to propel the Elephants onward.
Keisuke Honda opened the scoring in the 16th minute, collecting the ball at the top of the area before taking a touch inside and driving a 15-yard left-footer into the top-right corner. After knocking on the door for much of the first half and into the second, Ivory Coast finally found its equalizer in the 64th, when Wilfried Bony headed home a Serge Aurier cross to make it 1-1. Gervinho gave the Elephants the lead just two minutes later, heading home another Aurier cross for the game-winner.
Both sides will return to action on Thursday, when Ivory Coast will take on Colombia in a battle for Group C supremacy and Japan will fight Greece in a must-win match for both sides.
Haven’t had enough yet? Good, because we’ve got three more World Cup games tomorrow.
Switzerland and Ecuador will kick things off with some Group E action at 10 a.m. MT; France and Honduras will continue Group E play at 1 p.m. MT. Argentina and Bosnia-Herzegovina will close out the day, kicking off Group F play in Sunday’s headliner. All three of Sunday’s matches will be broadcast live on ESPN.