RED: Rebic 89'
Group B Finale
Leroy Fer headed in off a corner in the 77th minute to hand the Dutch a goal they didn't necessarily need as they would have won the group with a draw, but which all but secured first place in the group stage by giving them a goal cushion to work with. In stoppage time, the pace of Arjen Robben ensured it. Robben streaked free down the left side all the way to the goal line then crossed to the box where Memphis Depay plugged the ball into the net.
Meanwhile, as expected Spain parked almost all their stars on the bench for their final pointless exercise against the Socceroos. Juanfran streaked down the right side and delivered a perfect cross to an unmarked David Villa for the game's first goal. It's Villa's 59th international goal for Spain, and his last as he bows out of international competition. Halfway through the second period, Fernando Torres made it 2-0 when he took a clean through ball from Andrés Iniesta and backheeled it past the outstretched leg of Matthew Ryan, who was again victimized by Juan Mata in the final ten minutes.
|GROUP B FINAL STANDINGS|
Group A Finale
Mexico and Croatia battled fruitlessly for over seventy minutes, each team having chances aplenty but unable to convert. But then Chicharito Hernández came on, and things changed. After winning a corner, Héctor Herrera delivered and Rafael Márquez headed in for the lead. Just three minutes later, Chicharito led a break, feeding Oribe Peralta; Peralta centered to Andrés Guardado and it was 2-0. Just seven minutes later, off a corner from Guardado, Marquez got his head on the ball but it sailed across; Chicharito himself was waiting and headed it in himself. For the next three minutes, Mexico was just a goal away from stealing the top spot in the group on goal difference. But Brazil scored over in Brasilia, and then Ivan Perišic sliced a shot in from a sharp angle left of the net to end Mexico's shutout streak and kill off any hope of El Tri claiming the group.
Brazil had no problem at all with Cameroon, starting early with a brace from Neymar surrounding a Joël Matip goal. Neymar's first came on a cross from Luiz Gustavo, where Neymar was waiting right in front of goal; his second was mostly his own work, taking a pass from Marcelo outside the box and making a nice move before drilling the goal home. In between, Henri Bedimo intercepted a bad pass from Thiago Silva and fed Allan Nyom, who got past Dani Alves and fired a cross to the goal mouth. Matip was waiting, and leveled. But from that point, all Brazil did was add to the damage. Just after the half, Fred scored on a cross from David Luiz; Fernandino ripped one in from the top of the box late to finish it.
|GROUP A FINAL STANDINGS|
|MATCH||TIME (CT)||NETWORK||GROUP||TEAMS / SITE||ANNOUNCERS||ODDS|
Costa Rica vs England
Estádio Mineirão, Belo Horizonte
Costa Rica 3:1
Italy vs Uruguay
Arena das Dunas, Natal
Greece vs Ivory Coast
Estádio Castelão, Fortaleza
Ivory Coast 1:1
Japan vs Colombia
Arena Pantanal, Cuiabá
Game 40: Costa Rica-England
Don't expect Jorge Luis Pinto to mail it in, as there's still the prize of winning the group and avoiding Colombia. As a result, the lineup is likely to remain as it has been. England, on the other hand, is replacing everyone but Gary Cahill and Daniel Sturridge. This could mean we'll get to see Frank Lampard's last World Cup appearance... and we may already have seen Steven Gerrard's last. As noted, Costa Rica is already through and require a point to ensure they win the group. England is done, and even with a win would require some help to climb out of last place. SB Nation's Jack Sargeant is on hand with the match preview.
Game 39: Italy-Uruguay
Daniele de Rossi is probably out for Italy, and the result may be that Cesare Prandelli will shift to a new alignment, making room to insert Ciro Immobile into the lineup. Uruguay, buoyed by their rebound win over England, are likely to stand pat. Italy advances with a win or a draw; Uruguay advances with a win. Very straightforward. SB Nation has not yet posted a preview for this one.
Game 38: Greece-Ivory Coast
Kostas Katsouranis is out for the Hellenes, having collected a pair of yellows in their match with Japan. Giorgos Karagounis is expected to make his 138th appearance for Greece as a result. The Ivorians won't make any changes, and will be playing with some emotion due to the Friday death of Ibrahim Toure, brother of Elephant nationals Yaya and Kolo. Ivory Coast can only claim the group with a win and a Colombia loss with the combined goal differential exceeding four. They're through with a win, or with a draw so long as Japan doesn't beat Colombia by two; Greece must win and hope Japan doesn't win by three. We're also still waiting on SB Nation's preview for this match.
Game 37: Japan-Colombia
Japan will likely stay with their lineup, though Shinji Kagawa might climb back onto the starting eleven. Colombia, on the other hand, is expected to rest some folks, including Mario Yepes and Juan Cuadrado. Carlos Bacca is also probably not ready to return, and with Colombia already through there's no point. Colombia only need a point or Ivory Coast to drop one to seal the group title. Japan will need to win and maintain their 2-goal difference lead on Greece while the latter beats Ivory Coast, or win by two or more while Ivory Coast and Greece draw. SB Nation's match preview, courtesty of Jack Sargeant.
This will be a much more interesting day than Monday, as every game has a storyline and all but one game has a direct impact on who advances to the knockout rounds. This is your Tuesday open thread; join us for all the excitement.