What happened last night?
In case you somehow missed it or went to bed early last night, England stand on the brink of exiting the World Cup after suffering their second successive defeat of the tournament against Uruguay.
Fit-again striker Luis Suarez netted two goals on his return from a knee injury to send the South Americans to a 2-1 win in Group D.
Wayne Rooney netted for England – the first ever goal the former Blues striker has scored at a World Cup finals.
Leighton Baines and Phil Jagielka both played the full game, while there was another substitute appearance for Ross Barkley. Read more about last night’s game here.
Earlier, Colombia beat Ivory Coast 2-1 in Group C to chalk up their second win of the tournament – a victory which means they have now secured a last 16 place for the first time since Italia ’90.
Blues boss Roberto Martinez had earmarked the South American nation as the dark horses before the World Cup started and great finishes – matched by equally as impressive celebratory dance routines – from James Rodriguez and Juan Quintero earned the win in Brasilia.
Late on, Gervinho pulled one back for the Ivory Coast, who still have a decent chance of advancing after their success over Japan in the opening game of the group last week.
Following England’s disappointment, most people had turned off by the time Greece and Japan squared off in Thursday’s late kick-off.
It was a largely forgettable stalemate too – the third goalless draw of the competition – but both nations still retain hope of making it out of the group.
Who finishes second behind in Group C will now be determined when Greece play Ivory Coast and Colombia face Japan next Tuesday.
Who caught the eye?
Luis Suarez – let’s just leave it at that.
Juan Cuadrado also played a key role in helping Colombia overcome Ivory Coast. The skilful, pacey Fiorentina winger struck the bar with a shot from a tight angle and delivered the corner which led to Rodriguez’s headed opening goal – his third assist of the tournament.
What’s happening today?
All eyes will be on Italy’s crucial contest against Costa Rica in Recife, which kicks off at 5pm UK time. Anything other than a win for the Azzurri and England’s World Cup campaign will definitely end next Tuesday.
If Italy are victorious then the Three Lions still retain the faint possibility of progressing into the knockout phase, but even then they would have to beat Costa Rica and hope Cesare Prandelli’s side complete a clean sweep by triumphing over Uruguay.
Should these permutations all happen, Italy would top the group on nine points, leaving England, Uruguay and Costa Rica all on three points. Then it would come down to goal difference to see which nation finishes second and scrapes through to the last 16. It’s all quite complicated – and hypothetical.
The second set of Group E games then take place in the evening, with France facing Switzerland at 8pm and Honduras taking on Ecuador at 11pm.
The French and Swiss both won their opening group games and they enter the game in Salvador knowing that another triumph and they are through to the next phase.
Conversely, Honduras and Ecuador were defeated in their first outings at the competition and they head Curitiba fully aware that a second successive loss would spell the end of their aspirations.
Who should I be looking out for today?
With hopes pinned on Italy, the English public will be keeping their fingers crossed that the genius of Andrea Pirlo can pull the strings and produce another midfield masterclass against Costa Rica.
Also, Karim Benzema will be looking to enhance his Golden Boot hopes after netting two in France’s 3-0 win against Honduras last week.
The only former Evertonian with a chance of getting some match action on Friday is Phillipe Senderos who could be involved for Switzerland against France.