World Cup Diary
Barkley to start for England on Tuesday.
What happened last night?
There were four games and lots more goals on Monday. Altogether 14 were scored as the final positions in Groups A and B were decided.
Holland and Chile both knew prior to their meeting in Curitiba that their places in the last 16 were rubber-stamped – but a 2-0 win for the Dutch, courtesy of late goals from former Everton target Leroy Fer and Memphis Depay, ensured that Louis van Gaal’s team finished top of Group B, ahead of the South Americans.
Spain have suffered the embarrassment of an early exit but they managed to salvage some pride by beating Australia 3-0 in the group’s other game. The result capped a disappointing tournament for the Socceroos who head back down under without having registering a single point.
In the day’s later kick-offs, Brazil thrashed Cameroon 4-1 to make sure they won Group A. Neymar moved to the top of the competition’s goalscoring charts, taking his overall tally to four with two classy first-half finishes. Fred and Manchester City midfielder Fernandinho wrapped up the win after the interval.
Mexico and Croatia entered their clash in Recife knowing they both could still qualify for the knockout rounds. It was goalless at the break, but the CONCACAF nation struck three goals in the space of 10 second-half minutes to ensure it was they who advanced.
Midfielder Ivan Perisic pulled one back for Croatia, whose misery was compounded when Ante Rebic was dismissed in the final moments for a horrendous shin-high foul on Carlos Pena.
Who caught the eye?
Neymar’s brilliant brace put him ahead of Thomas Muller, Robin van Persie, Arjen Robben, Karim Benzema and Enner Valencia in the race for the Golden Boot.
The Barcelona man elegantly guided Luiz Gustavo’s cross into the net in Brazil’s victory over Cameroon, before his second came after cutting in from the left and wrong-footing goalkeeper Charles Itandje.
The 22-year-old has now scored an astonishing 35 senior international goals in just 52 appearances for Brazil.
Mexico boss Miguel Herrera was also worth a watch with some extravagant touchline antics in their 3-1 win over Croatia. The 46-year-old coach said the victory capped one of the ‘happiest days of his life’ – a statement which was evident in the way he celebrated wildly every time his team scored.
What’s happening today?
The final matches in Groups C and D take place on Tuesday.
England face Costa Rica in a dead-rubber at 5pm. The Three Lions are already out, while the CONCACAF nation has already secured their passage through to the next phase.
Kicking off at the same time is Italy v Uruguay in a crunch game to decide who else progresses.
Italy will qualify with a draw or victory but this scenario poses a quandary for Azzurri boss Cesare Prandelli who must decide whether he can afford to set up his team to sit back against the unpredictable South American side that will surely be going all out for the win that would see them make it through.
Later on, Colombia play Japan and Greece face Ivory Coast in Group C, with both contests commencing simultaneously at 9pm.
Colombia are safely through having taken maximum points from their first couple of games but all three other nations still harbour chances of continuing their involvement in the World Cup.
Who should I be looking out for today?
All Everton eyes will be on Ross Barkley who will make his first start for England in Belo Horizonte after Roy Hodgson confirmed at his pre-match press conference that the midfielder is in his starting line-up against Costa Rica.
The England boss has made nine changes to the team lost 2-1 to Uruguay last Thursday, meaning Leighton Baines and Phil Jagielka are left out.