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World Cup catch up through Day 9

Jose Cubero celebrates Costa Rica reaching the World Cup's knockout stage for the first time since 1990.

What an incredible round of games at this World Cup. Such expectation, drama, disappointment and ecstasy! Tears, fears and disbelief.

CostaRicaToday, Day 9, the fantastic Ticos of Costa Rica beat Italy and punched their ticket for the next round. This was the second win for Costa Rica who are in a tough group playing former World Cup Champions, England, Italy and Uruguay. They opened their account against Uruguay on Day 3, with a decisive 3-1 win, and then won 1-0 against a frustrated Italian side today.  Their defensive tactics were superb and they finished their chance when it presented itself. Junior Diaz was solid in defense and got the assist as he sent a cross toward Bryan Ruiz, who headed it in. Goal line technology showed that, indeed, it was a Goooaaaalllll!  They weren’t picked to do anything but help other teams in the group post wins….they had something else to say about that!

With Costa Rica’s win, England were eliminated from the World Cup. They lost both of their first two games, the first Englandto Italy and then yesterday to Uruguay. Their performance was once again, uninspired. I watched a 50-50 ball won by Suarez from his club football teammate, Steven Gerrard. I have a lot of respect for Gerrard but wonder if he didn’t play soft against his club teammate. He is taller than Suarez, and also wasn’t recovering from knee surgery, but he still went down on the shoulder-to-shoulder challenge, allowing Suarez to gain possession.  Rooney as usual, worked his tail off and was finally rewarded with his first World Cup goal. Unfortunately he couldn’t finish another right in front of goal. As to coaching, I would have pulled Jordan Henderson and put Frank Lampard in. Uruguay was clogging up the middle and Lampard, who has a powerful shot,  could have tried from long and hopefully started pulling defenders outside of the box. Instead, England continued to be frustrated moving the ball side to side and trying to take it through multiple players. Raheem Sterling showed his immaturity numerous times by trying to dribble past the defense.  Another sorrowful end to another World Cup for England.

The Swiss couldn’t muster up a fantastic finish like they had against Ecuador, in their loss today to France 5-2. In a game where moving on to the next round can come down to goal differential, they pulled two goals back after the 80th minute.  They’re still alive in the group and have to hope for help from France in their game against Ecuador, and win or tie themselves, against Honduras.

chiliChile is having an incredible run in Group B, to go through with the Netherlands. Australia played a good match against them, but Chile was superior.  Questions circulated quickly about their ability to sustain that play against Spain.  Most of the pendants were wrong, and Spain looked mediocre in submitting to a 2-0 defeat.

This has really been an enjoyable Cup!  Lots of goals, surprises, great play, and yes, a few sad moments.  But I can’t wait for tomorrow!

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