From Ground Zero: Uruguay sends Italy home, Greece sneak into last 16

Zee Media Bureau/Shobhan Saxena from Brasilia

The 13th day of the World Cup was not behind in terms of emotion and broken records as compared to previous tournaments. On Tuesday, one of the most favorites team to win the cup said goodbye to the competition at the group stage. Just like Spain and England, the four-time world champion Italy was defeated by Uruguay by 1-0 and will return home now, repeating the bad campaign that they had in the last World Cup.

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FIFA 2014: Uruguay vs Italy, won 1-0, Match 37»

The goal, which came in the 35th minute of the second half, was scored by Godin. It was an excellent goal and Italy, till then playing a defensive game, failed to equalize. A draw would have sent Italy into the next round, but Uruguay needed a win.

The clash was also marked by an ugly incident when Uruguyan striker Luis Suarez bit Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini on his shoulder. While the Mexican referee Marco Antonio Rodriguez, who didn’t see the incident, did not give Suarez any card, FIFA can punish the Uruguayan. Now, he runs the risk of not even playing in this World Cup.

FIFA will investigate the Liverpool player. If punished, Suárez can get away lightly (one or two games) or may get a severe punishment and stay out until the end of the World Cup. The disciplinary committee is likely to meet before the next match of Uruguay, on Saturday at the Maracana.

But Uruguyan captain and defender Diego Lugano, said Chiellini is `snitch` and that there was no bite by Suárez.

In another important game in Fortaleza, Greece beat Ivory Coast by 2-1 and won the second place in Group C of the World Cup. Colombia finished as leader of the group by defeating Japan by 4-1. Samaris opened the score for the Greeks after 42 minutes in the first half. But the Africans equalized in the 28nd minute of the second half. As the game was heading towards a draw, Samaras, converted a penalty in the final minute of the game and took his team to the next round.

In the pre quarter-final, Greece, which only scored two goals in the first round, will face Costa Rica, which has first rank in Group D after beating Uruguay and Italy and a drawing with England. The Greeks ended the group phase with 4 points (one win, one draw and one defeat).

The match against the Costa Ricans will played be on Sunday in the Pernambuco Arena in São Lourenço da Mata. Both Ivory Coast and Greece had never passed the stage in World Cup history.

Greece fell in the first round in the World Cup 1994 (U.S.) and 2010 (South Africa). The Africans were eliminated in 2006 (in Germany) and also in the last World Cup.

In another game of the same group, James Rodriguez scored a brilliant goal and set up two more for Jackson Martinez as Colombia routed Japan 4-1 to confirm top spot in Group C and eliminate the Asian champions from the World Cup. Already assured of a place in last 16, Colombia guaranteed first place with its third straight win, setting up a second-round match against Uruguay.

The Colombians started with a virtual second-string lineup but still went in front when Juan Cuadrado — one of the few regular starters — drilled in a 17th-minute penalty. Japan equalized with the last touch of the first half through Shinji Okazaki`s header but Martinez scored in the 55th and 82nd minutes — both from superb passes from substitute Rodriguez — to put the result beyond Japan’s reach.

Rodriguez capped it off with his stunning solo goal in the 89th, turning his marker inside out before chipping the advancing goalkeeper with a great finish.

The goal left Japan susceptible to the counter-attack as they pushed forward in search of two goals. At the other end, there was a lack of cutting edge — Shinji Kagawa had a weak shot saved and Keisuke Honda wasted three free kicks from good positions — before Honda crossed for Okazaki to head in at the near post with what was the last touch of the half.

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