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World Cup Diary

by Adam Clark @efc_adamclark

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Every morning throughout the World Cup, evertonfc.com brings you a quickfire update of what's been going on in Brazil...
 
What happened last night?

 
Everton's Ross Barkley turned in another impressive performance for England as the Three Lions signed off their 2014 World Cup with a goalless draw against Costa Rica.
 
Roy Hodgson's side had the better of the chances in Belo Horizonte but failed to find the goal that would have given them a chance of avoiding bottom spot in Group D.
 
The result was exactly what Costa Rica needed to top the group however, and they now face Greece rather than Colombia in the last-16.
 
They will be joined there by Uruguay after the 2010 semi-finalists recorded a controversial 1-0 win over Italy. Atletico Madrid's Diego Godin netted the only goal and prompted Azzurri boss Cesare Prandelli to hand in his resignation just minutes after the full-time whistle.
 
"I chose a certain technical plan and that's why I am resigning - because it did not work," said the bemused former Roma and Fiorentina boss.
 
Later in the evening, Colombia kept up their perfect record with a 4-1 thrashing of Japan - a game which saw goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon become the oldest player in World Cup history. The 43-year-old beat the previous record set by Cameroon's Roger Milla when he replaced David Ospina with four minutes remaining.
 
And Greece provided a moment of late drama as Georgios Samaras coolly slotted home an injury-time penalty to not only defeat Ivory Coast but leapfrog them into second and send the Africans crashing out in the group stage for the third time in a row.
 
The Euro 2004 winners had earlier lead through Andreas Samaris but needed Samaras' moment of calm after Wilfried Bony levelled with 16 minutes to play.
 
Who caught the eye?
 
Colombia appear to be going from strength-to-strength in the competition and eased past Japan thanks largely to a brace from Porto's Jackson Martinez.
 
The striker had been forced to settle for a place on the bench in his country's first two games, but staked his claim for further starts with two fine finishes in Cuiabá.
 
Colombia's other two stars of the tournament, Juan Cuadrado and James Rodriguez, also found their way on to the scoresheet to help set up a last-16 showdown with Uruguay.
 
The sometimes-maligned Samaras also deserves credit. In a moment of immeasurable tension, the striker showed nerves of steel to send Greece through with what was only his ninth goal in 77 internationals.
 
What’s happening today?
 

Today sees the conclusion of the fixtures in Groups E and F.
 
France are in poll position to top the former and will do so should they avoid a heavy defeat to Ecuador in Rio de Janeiro.
 
Victory for Ecuador would likely see the South American's finish second to Didier Deschamps' men, though Switzerland - level with Ecuador on three points - are also in the hunt and could potentially go second on goal difference even if both sides win. Honduras themselves can technically still progress but require three points against Switzerland, a three-goal swing and a France win.
 
In Group F, Argentina are already through and will guarantee top spot with a point against Nigeria. That would also be enough to see the Africans progress in second, though defeat and an Iran win over already-eliminated Bosnia would probably mean the end of the road for the Super Eagles.
 
Who should I be looking out for today?

 
With so many eventualities possible, the two battles for second are a recipe for drama. If Enner Valencia can add to his three tournament goals to date, Ecuador could be heading through at the expense of Switzerland.
 
Ottmar Hitzfeld's men beat Ecuador 2-1 earlier in the tournament however, and will be hoping to show their 5-2 defeat to France was merely a blip.
 
Elsewhere, former Everton star Joseph Yobo and his fellow Nigeria defenders will need to be in top form to keep out Messi and Co. if they are to claim second ahead of Carlos Queiroz's Iran.

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