Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Brazil WC 2014 - Costa Rica vs England and Italy vs Uruguay, DUAL LIVE COMMENTARY:

Hello again everyone and welcome to my latest blog post - where I have a dual live commentary from the remaining group stage fixtures in Group D, as Costa Rica play against England and Italy take on Uruguay.

Here is the current situation in Group D:

  • England are already officially out of the World Cup and are therefore playing for pride today
  • Costa Rica have already qualified for the knock-out stages after back-to-back wins over Uruguay and Italy
  • Italy and Uruguay are both on three points, having both beaten England
  • Whoever wins out of the Italy vs Uruguay match will join Costa Rica in the knock-out stages, but currently before kick-off the advantage is with the Italians, based on their positive goal difference
Here are the team line-ups and news ahead of both matches in Group D today:

Costa Rica vs England - 

Costa Rica: Navas, Gamboa, Duarte, Gonzalez, Miller, Diaz, Ruiz, Borges, Tejeda, Brenes and Campbell.

Subs: Pemberton, Acosta, Umana, Bolanos, Myrie, Barrantes, Francis, Granados, Calvo, Urena, Cubero and Cambronero.

England: Foster, Jones, Smalling, Cahill, Shaw, Lampard, Wilshere, Milner, Barkley, Lallana and Sturridge.

Subs: Hart, Forster, Johnson, Gerrard, Jagielka, Rooney, Welbeck, Henderson, Lambert, Sterling, Baines and Oxlade-Chamberlain. 

Italy vs Uruguay - 

Italy: Buffon, Chiellini, Bonucci, Barzagli, De Sciglio, Marchisio, Pirlo, Verratti, Darmian, Immobile and Balotelli.

Subs: Sirigu, Perin, Motta, Candreva, Abate, Cassano, Cerci, Aquilani, Parolo, Paletta, Insigne and De Rossi.

Uruguay: Muslera, Caceres, Gimenez, Godin, Alvaro Pereira, Gonzalez, Rios, Rodriguez, Lodeiro, Cavani and Suarez.

Subs: Munoz, Fucile, Gargano, Hernandez, Forlan, Stuani, Perez, Maxi Pereira, Ramirez, Coates, Lugano and Silva.

17:00 - So here is what I am going to be doing to ensure that I cover both Group D matches today. 

I will take it in turns to commentate over both games, starting with Costa Rica vs England for the first-half and changing over to Italy vs Uruguay for the second-half. 

17:01 - Both matches have already started, and I will have goal updates from both games when they occur. 

17:15 - Like I said at the start of the post, England are playing for pride today, having lost both of their last two World Cup matches against Italy and Uruguay. Mathematically they are unable to qualify, and are therefore going home after this match.

16: Not much to report in the Costa Rica vs England match; manager Roy Hodgson is giving some of the younger players some experience and Lampard captains the side in what will probably be his last international cap for England.

17: Barkley, Shaw and Joel Campbell have all looked bright in the early stages of the match - and despite a half-chance for Sturridge on the edge of the area, it has been quiet so far in Belo Horizonte.

18: Still 0-0 in the Italy vs Uruguay match also.

22: Great save by Foster to react quickly and dive high towards the crossbar and deny Costa Rica from breaking the deadlock from a deadly free-kick, which swerved over the wall and looked goal-bound by Borges. 

23: Costa Rica keep the pressure on their opponents as two corners are awarded in quick succession. 

24: Foster rushes off his line and catches the ball comfortably into his grasp, as England can get out of their half and look to go on the attack again.

25: Good through ball over the top of the Costa Rican defence by today's England captain and Chelsea legend Frank Lampard falls into the path of Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere who was inches away from having a shot on, but the danger is cleared away.

27: Half-hearted penalty appeal is waved play on by the referee as good dribbling from Everton young midfielder Ross Barkley to evade three challenges before the ball was switched into the path of Milner.

Milner crosses the ball into the box, Costa Rica fail to clear and the ball falls into the path of Sturridge who was adjudged to have been pushed down by the last defender from close range - England starting to have a few more chances now. 

29: Some news in the other game between Italy and Uruguay, Milan striker Mario Balotelli has been given a yellow card for a dangerous high lunge when trying to win the ball in the air.

30: Consequently, Balotelli will not be able to play in the Last 16 of the World Cup, IF Italy qualify. 

34: Another half-chance for England goes begging as a header at the far post is flicked on towards goal, but Sturridge's headed effort is over the bar.

36: As it stands, Italy and Costa Rica are through to the knock-out rounds. Costa Rica will play against Colombia or Ivory Coast in the Last 16, based on their results in their remaining game, both being played later tonight at 9pm (BST).

40: There has been some questions asked as to whether manager Roy Hodgson should be sacked after this early tournament exit, but I think that it is unfair.

The England team has potential to do well, but the team line-ups were not exactly the best and there was too much of a defpendence on certain individuals to perform and they struggled as a result. 

41: Good inter-play between Wilshere and Barkley in the Costa Rica area results in the latter having an effort towards goal on the edge of the area - just wide from the Everton youngster.

42: Still 0-0 in Italy vs Uruguay, which will please both Costa Rica and Italy. You would expect the Italians to go on and win the match though. 

45: The referee blows his whistle to signal the end of the first-half, after a half-chance from Costa Rica is blocked and falls into the hands of Foster.  

17:45 - 

Costa Rica 0 England 0 
Italy 0 Uruguay 0 

Both Group D matches are currently goal-less at half-time, and it is the same situation in terms of the table as it was before the start of the match.

A draw is sufficient for the Italians, who have played better in their respective match while a weakened Costa Rica side are being held to a 0-0 scoreline against a second string look England team, who are already out.

Costa Rica are resting their key players for the knock-out round matches, and England still look vulnerable at the back on the counter attack but have not been able to take their chances, which has arguably been the story of the tournament for the Three Lions.

18:01 - The second-halves of the group stage matches are poised to start, and I will switch over to Italy vs Uruguay. 

45: Both sides are making one substitution after the break - 
Italy: Mario Balotelli OFF, Marco Parolo ON
Uruguay: Nicolas Lodeiro OFF, Maxi Pereira ON

46: Parolo replaces Balotelli, who was given a booking early on in the first-half and will miss the Last 16 match, if they get there ofcourse.

47: Yellow card given to Uruguay midfielder Arevalo Rios after a late challenge, arguably harsh decision from the referee.

48: Will be interesting to see how newly-announced Borussia Dortmund striker Ciro Immobile plays in this second period. 

The Italian forward was the top scorer in the Serie A this past campaign with Torino.

49: Good defending on the far side by Darmian to deal with the danger as Suarez is lurking next to him. 

50: Uruguay get forward and Pereira crosses the ball into the box, headed partially clear but headed back into the area.

Cavani is brought down by Bonucci in a tussle for the ball, and the PSG striker goes down easily - shouting for a penalty but the referee waves away his protests. 

51: Uruguay free-kick from 35 yards out is wasted by Suarez, instead of crossing the ball into the area he goes for goal but his shot is well wide over the bar and out for a goal-kick.

52: PSG young defensive-midfielder Marco Verratti is limping near the centre circle clutching his groin, he has picked up a knock.

53: Italy doing their best to frustrate Cavani, who looks flustered after being denied a penalty. 

54: Immobile tries to have a shot on goal, blocked and cleared away by the Uruguay defence.

55: 10 minutes gone in the second-half, still 0-0 in the Costa Rica vs England match as well as this one. Who would have thought it? 

56: There has to be some goals today, surely? Uruguay need to win, otherwise they are out of the World Cup and to be honest, they are not playing as if they know that.

57: Italian defence does look vulnerable under pressure, but the Uruguay players are not doing enough at the moment to warrant being ahead. 

58: As seen in the Uruguay vs England match, they only need one chance to score though - which makes the game unpredictable to say what will happen.

59: CHANCE! A great opportunity to break the deadlock for Uruguay! Great inter-play near the edge of the area between Suarez and Rodriguez, before the latter has an outside-of-the-foot shot which trickles wide of Buffon's goal. 

60: RED CARD! It's all kicking off now, as Juventus midfielder Claudio Marchisio is given a straight red card after a studs-up challenge on Arevalo near the centre-circle.

He protests his innocence, but the replays show that he did not win the ball and it could have injured Arevalo dangerously there. 

61: The referee could have given Marchisio a yellow, he could have just called for a foul. Red card, and he probably gave it as he was so close to the tackle itself. 

Marchisio is arguably unlucky to have been sent off for the challenge, and now Italy are down to ten men.

63: Uruguay SUB - 
Alvaro Pereira OFF
Christian Stuani ON

65: Good save by Buffon, who does well to parry a close range effort from Suarez after some good passing and movement from Uruguay as Italy struggle to clear the ball away.

66: They have the man advantage after Marchisio's dismissal, can they go on and win the game now?

67: Good defending sliding tackle by Gimenez to deny Immobile from getting a shot away on the counter attack after a good pass forward by Parolo.

69: Italy looking dangerous on the counter attack, as Uruguay have one less defensive-minded player in the team and there are clear gaps in defence. An attacking substitution has meant that they are vulnerable at the back.

70: A tense 20 minutes to follow, as Italy are preparing to make another substitution.

71: Italy SUB -
Ciro Immobile OFF
Antonio Cassano ON 

72: Immobile limps off the pitch grimacing as he is replaced by Cassano, clearly still feeling the effects from the sliding challenge by Gimenez a few minutes earlier. He has looked dangerous on the counter attack but he will feel that he could have scored today.

73: Still 0-0 in both matches being played today, as both sides are preparing subsitutions. Verratti has gone down after being accidentally whacked on the leg by Juventus defender Martin Caceres on the follow-through when trying to clear the ball.

74: Italy SUB - 
Marco Verratti OFF
Thiago Motta ON

75: Verratti has been instrumental in midfield today, but is unfortunately replaced by the more experienced Thiago Motta after suffering another knock in the last few minutes.

Hopefully he is okay, as he is taken off as a precautionary measure with a stretcher from the Italian physio.

76: Uruguay are pushing men forward now as they go in search of the opening goal, crossing the ball into the box and Italy are desperately trying to scramble the ball clear.

77: If only Italy had scored earlier, they would not be under so much pressure. De Sciglio is booked for upholding the run of Pereira on the flank to stop him from winning the ball.

78: Uruguay SUB - 
Christian Rodriguez OFF
Gaston Ramirez ON

79: CONTROVERSY! Wow. Suarez in trouble again, this time as Uruguay get forward into the area, he appears to have bitten Chiellini's shoulder as he was being upheld.

Stupidity: Suarez is at it again - involved in an incident with Chiellini, biting the Juve defender
Luckily for him, the referee did not see it but he would have been sent off there, watch out for the news after this game I tell you. 

80: Chiellini has reacted angrily to the challenge, and as Suarez is clutching his teeth, the Juventus defender is jogging towards the referee and showing his arm - as if there is a bite mark on his shoulder.

81: GOAL! Uruguay are in-front! Diego Godin with a header from close range! 

Italy fail to take their chances and now they are trailing, with less than 10 minutes plus stoppages to play! Poor marking in the area, and Atletico Madrid defender Godin takes advantage to head past Buffon into the bottom corner of the net. 

83: 1-0 to Uruguay, as it stands they have the victory to take them into the Last 16.

Meanwhile, there seems to be an argument down on the touchline between a member of the Italian staff and the officials, he has been sent to the stands and it's been a dramatic last 20 minutes to watch. 

84: Italy have a free-kick from 25 yards out, hit low and hard by Pirlo goal-wards, but his effort is deflected by the wall and the resulting corner is cleared away.

85: Uruguay counter attack with not many Italian players back behind the ball, but De Sciglio does well with a sliding tackle to halt the oncoming run of Suarez on the flank. 

86: And now the cameras and the spotlight are firmly on Uruguay supporters in the ground, who are understandably overjoyed at their team's performance against 10-men Italy. 

87: It's not over just yet though, Italy leaving it late to realise that they need to score.

88: Suarez goes on the counter attack with Cavani waiting in space, but he delays his pass and Italy defenders track back in-time to stop the attack. 

90: The fourth official on the touchline has signalled for 5 minutes of stoppage time to be played, as goalkeeper Muslera is booked for time-wasting.

90+1: Italy keep up the pressure, as Pirlo and De Sciglio get on the ball on the edge of the area. Nice inter-play, but a low cross into the box is cleared away. 

90+3: Motta passes across to Pirlo, trying to set up some patient build-up play but Uruguay are eager to clear the ball away as they panic-clear.

90+4: Barzagli evades the challenge of Cavani to get forward, before Gonzalez concedes a free-kick. Suarez has an ambitious effort wide as the clock ticks down, Buffon sprints as fast as he can to get the ball and they have one last chance. 

90+5: Buffon gallops up the pitch in a last-gasp attempt to help his team to equalise, but Uruguay clear the danger. 

The referee eventually blows the whistle, and it's full-time.

Italy 0 Uruguay 1 -
The South Americans leave it late to qualify for the Last 16 thanks to a headed effort from Atletico Madrid defender Diego Godin, as Italy were poor for the majority of the game and acted as if they were content to play for a draw, which is always risky. 

Meanwhile in the other Group D match, Costa Rica drew 0-0 with England in what could have been named as an international friendly given the completely different situations for both teams.

England and Italy are joining the likes of Spain, Australia and Cameroon by exiting the tournament in the group stages - while Uruguay and Costa Rica will play in the knock-out rounds, which start this Saturday.

Stay tuned for more World Cup action! 

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