2014 World Cup Match Day Preview: Day 8

Match day 8, will complete the second round of play for Group C and will see Group D rivals Uruguay and England go at each other, in a match that is undoubtedly the marquee fixture on the day. 

Colombia vs. Ivory Coast

Match Info

This match will be played at Estadio Nacional in Brasilia, which has a capacity of 69,432 people. This venue hosted the Ecuador versus Switzerland clash on Sunday.
Colombia and Ivory Coast have never met before in senior competition, but with both squads winning their first matches in the group, this should be a great starting match for match-day 8.

In their first match, Colombia put in a solid performance defeating the 2004 European champions Greece by a decisive 3-0 final score. Ivory coast concede early in their opening match against Japan, but put together a string of attacks in the second half to complete a come-back and win 2-1. Both teams will be looking to pick up the 3 points which will guarantee the winner a direct pass to the round of 16, without having to put too much emphasis on their third and final match in the group. If Colombia can recreate their performance from their first match, and Ivory Coast can find the energy to play the way they have in the second 45 minutes against Japan, this match should be a really entertaining one to watch.

Players to Watch

Teófilo Gutiérrez looked in the mood for the Colombian side in their first match and will be an interesting figure to watch against the Ivorians. The River Plate striker scored Colombia's second goal of the match against Greece. Even though Didier Drogba was not involved in the starting 11 for Ivory Coast, he surely seemed to inject his squad with the energy required to come from behind to win their first match against Japan. We will be watching him yet again, to see whether he can provide the same spark as he did in their earlier fixture.

Uruguay vs. England

Match Info

The second match of the day will be our marquee match and will see both Group D losing sides from their first matches Uruguay & England try to preserve their chances of qualifying to the next round at 4pm local time in Brazil.

The match will be played at Arena Corinthians in São Paulo, the same 61,606 capacity venue that hosted the first match of this World Cup between Brazil and Croatia.

This will be the eleventh competitive meeting between the two countries, with the Uruguay holding a slight advantage of 4 wins from the previous ten matches. While England won on 3 occasions and the teams also drew 3 times.

There is no doubt that this is a must win for both squads. Just as many experts in the football world predicted, this match is very likely to crown the runner-up of Group D. We must keep in mind however that England does hold a very slight advantage having lost to the tougher opposition in Italy, while Uruguay crumbled at the feet of the minnows from Costa Rica. With Uruguay still having to play the Italians they will surely look to snatch the full three points in this one, while the Three Lions would still have a very small chance of qualifying even if the draw this match. Nonetheless, neither team will want to leave things to chance and will likely come out "swinging" or maybe even biting (that incident will never get old). 

Players to Watch

Luis Suarez will no doubt be the player to watch on the Uruguayan side, as he was rested against the Costa Ricans due to injury but is now ready to start against an England side that contains many of his Liverpool teammates. Raheem Sterling put in a good performance for the English in their match against Italy, but it will be Wayne Rooney to keep an eye out in this affair, as it is rumored that he will be placed back at the "number 10" slot after being played out of position against the Azzurri. While many of the Liverpool footballer in the English squad are certain that they know how to stop Suarez, Wayne Rooney seems to be the one stopping himself from shining in recent years, so whether he performs well and gives his country a chance to qualify for the next round will be mostly up to him.

Japan vs. Greece

Match Info

Last match of the day will feature Japan and Greece from Group C. This game will be played at 7pm local time in Brazil.

This will be the third match at the Arena das Dunas in the city of Natal. The 45,000 capacity arena hosted the Mexico vs. Cameroon match, and most recently the USA vs. Ghana affair.

Japan and Greece met just once before, a match that saw the Asians come out on top by a score of 1-0

We would hate to disappoint you, but after the first two matches this one may very well be another case of Iran vs. Nigeria after the Germany match. Although we may actually see some scoring in this one, the quality of both the Japanese and Greek sides may prove to be a bore after the first two matches of the day. That said, there is a lot on the line for both squads which may be a factor to the entertainment value of this particular fixture. Both squads lost their opening matches and anything less than 3 points in this one could likely mean an early exit from the tournament. 

Players to Watch

Keisuke Honda must be the player to watch on the Japanese side as he not only scored the only goal for Japan in their first match, the AC Milan man was involved in almost every play the Japanese were trying to create. If Honda can positively involve the players around him, Japan could potentially come out victorious. On the Greek side it's a bit of a tougher choice, as it seemed that not one player could spark any kind of life into the team in their first match against Colombia. But since we have to pick, we would suggest keeping an eye on Panagiotis Kone, the 26 year old Albanian born attacking midfielder seemed to provide Greece with a more attacking style of play from the usually defensive one we are so used to seeing from the 2004 European champions. 

Match-day 8 - Staff Picks 

Pedro: Colombia 2-1 Ivory Coast, Uruguay 1-1 England, Japan 2-1 Greece
Kon: Colombia 1-2 Ivory Coast, Uruguay 0-2 England, Japan 0-1 Greece
Iain: Colombia 2-1 Ivory Coast, Uruguay 0-1 England, Japan 1-1 Greece



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