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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Uruguay takes bite out of Italy

By The Associated Press

Captain Diego Godin scored in the 81st minute as Uruguay edged 10-man Italy 1-0 Tuesday to reach the second round of the World Cup, a victory overshadowed by a biting incident involving Luis Suarez.

Godin rose above a crowd of defenders to meet a corner with his left shoulder and veteran goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon had no chance. ...

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Captain Diego Godin scored in the 81st minute as Uruguay edged 10-man Italy 1-0 Tuesday to reach the second round of the World Cup, a victory overshadowed by a biting incident involving Luis Suarez.

Godin rose above a crowd of defenders to meet a corner with his left shoulder and veteran goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon had no chance.

Moments earlier, replays showed Suarez apparently bite the shoulder of Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini as the pair clashed in the Italian penalty area.

Suarez was already sanctioned with a heavy ban for biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic in the English Premier League in 2013 and FIFA can sanction players for biting with bans of up to two years.

Chiellini said Suarez should have been sent off and that the red card for Italy midfielder Claudio Marchisio should never have been given.

“The red for Marchisio and not sending off Suarez were ridiculous,” Chiellini said. “It was absolutely clear. There’s even a mark,” Chiellini said of the bite.

It was only one of many ugly incidents in a highly physical “in or out” match at the Arena das Dunas.

Marchisio was shown a direct red card for putting his boot into Egidio Arevalo’s knee in the 59th. Also, Mario Balotelli picked up his second yellow card in two matches for a dangerous foul during the first half, and was benched for the second period.

Four-time champion Italy is heading home after the group phase for the second consecutive World Cup.

COSTA RICA 0, ENGLAND 0

Costa Rica finished first in what many considered the World Cup’s toughest group after a dour, scoreless draw against England.

Costa Rica only needed a draw to top Group D and played that way, setting up in a defensive 5-3-2 formation.

The result gives Costa Rica its best World Cup performance, winning a group that contained former three world champions.

“We will have to keep fighting,” Costa Rica coach Jorge Luis Pinto said. “Whatever happens we are willing to fight.”

England lost its first two matches to Italy and Uruguay, while Costa Rica surprisingly won its first two. Uruguay also advanced from the group after beating Italy 1-0.

England had already been eliminated and will go home without a win after striker Daniel Sturridge missed a number of chances throughout the match.

One of Sturridge’s best opportunities came in the 65th after a nice one-two with midfielder Jack Wilshere. But the forward’s curling shot from the right just missed squeezing inside the far post.

GREECE 2, IVORY COAST 1

Georgios Samaras scored an injury-time penalty to send Greece into the second round of the World Cup for the first time, eliminating Ivory Coast in the process.

Samaras was adjudged to have been tripped in the area by substitute Giovanni Sio, and calmly slotted in the spot kick for the win. Ivory Coast would have advanced with a draw.

“This means so much to me, to us ... Tonight we had energy,” Samaras said, dedicating the win to Greeks suffering through financial crisis. “We really hope we can make the people happy back home. We are a team. A team – that’s it.”

The Greeks had taken the lead just before halftime through substitute Andreas Samaris, who punished Ivorian Ismael Tiote for a careless pass backward.

Substitute Wilfried Bony equalized for Ivory Coast in the 74th, beating goalkeeper Pangiotis Glykos from close range after being set up by Gervinho.

That goal looked like it would put the Africans through until the late drama. Samaras met a cross in the area and tried to shoot with his left leg, which got caught against the leg of Sio. Samaras’ foot then hit the ground and he fell to the turf, drawing a penalty.

With his country’s hopes on the line, Samaras sent his spot kick past goalkeeper Boubacar Barry, who guessed the right way but couldn’t keep the ball out.

COLOMBIA 4, JAPAN 1

James Rodriguez scored a brilliant goal and set up two more for Jackson Martinez as Colombia routed Japan 4-1 on Tuesday to confirm top spot in Group C and eliminate the Asian champions from the World Cup.

Already assured of advancing, Colombia guaranteed first place with its third straight win, setting up a second-round match against Uruguay. Japan finished with a draw and two losses in a disappointing campaign.

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 doubt.

Rodriguez capped it off with his stunning solo goal in the 89th, turning his marker inside out before chipping the advancing goalkeeper with a deft finish that bore all the hallmarks of the great Lionel Messi.