THE DAY REPLAYED – The 13th day of action at the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ featured narrow wins for Uruguay and Greece, both of whom struck late in their respective games in order to clinch a coveted spot in the Round of 16.
And while the achievement is nothing new for Uruguay, given La Celeste have successfully emerged from the group phase in nine of their previous World Cup campaigns, it was a slice of history for the Greeks. In snatching qualification from the grasp of Group C rivals Côte d’Ivoire, the Hellenics emerged from their World Cup section for the very first time – having failed on their only previous attempts in 1994 and 2010.
Nor were they the only highlights of the day’s play, which also included a record-breaking cameo from veteran Colombian goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon.
Italy 0-1 Uruguay (Budweiser Man of the Match: Gianluigi Buffon, ITA)
Costa Rica 0-0 England (Budweiser Man of the Match: Keylor Navas, CRC)
Japan 1-4 Colombia (Budweiser Man of the Match: Jackson Martinez, COL)
Greece 2-1 Côte d’Ivoire (Budweiser Man of the Match: Georgios Samaras, GRE)
Well worth the wait
Though he has scored important goals for club side Atletico Madrid this season, centre-back Diego Godin had not found the net for Uruguay since a friendly versus Venezuela in October 2006. His headed winner against Italy, which secured Los Charruas a spot in the knockout stages, thus ended a goal drought lasting nearly eight years.
Award tinged with disappointment
For the first time this competition, two goalkeepers claimed the Budweiser Man of the Match award on the same matchday. For Costa Rica’s Keylor Navas, the prize capped an outstanding first round, during which he conceded just once and his team topped Group D. His Italian counterpart Gianluigi Buffon, in contrast, will be unable to take much consolation from his award, having made what could prove his final World Cup appearance as La Squadra Azzurra fell at the first hurdle.
Tribute comes Yepes’ way
Having made his 100th appearance for Colombia in their win over Côte d’Ivoire in the second round of matches in Group C, Cafeteros coach Jose Pekerman decided to rest captain Mario Yepes, with his charges already safely into the Round of 16. However, Yepes’ team-mates had a surprise for the veteran centre-back: after Juan Cuadrado’s penalty had made it 1-0, Cuadrado and Pablo Armero paid tribute to their skipper by unveiling a shirt bearing his name and the number 100.
Early exit for three former winners
With Spain and England already eliminated after two games, Italy’s subsequent failure to negotiate the group phase means that three former world champions are out of the Brazil 2014 running. The three first World Cups aside, this has happened only once previously, when France, Argentina and Uruguay all exited at the first opportunity at Korea/Japan 2002.
43 – When joining the fray in the 85th minute of Colombia’s clash with Japan, 43-year-old Cafetero keeper Faryd Mondragon – whose birthday was just days ago – became the oldest player ever to appear in a FIFA World Cup match. In addition to breaking the record previously set by 42-year-old Cameroon striker Roger Milla at USA 1994, Mondragon also set a new record for the longest time between two World Cup appearances. No less than 15 years and 363 days passed between today’s Japan game and his last versus England at France 1998, leaving the previous benchmark of 12 years and 13 days – set by Switzerland’s Alfred Bickel (1938-1950) – way behind.
Next up (all times are local)
Nigeria-Argentina, 13:00, Estadio Beira-Rio, Porto Alegre
Bosnia and Herzegovina-Iran, 13:00, Arena Fonte Nova, Salvador
Ecuador-France, 17:00, Maracanã – Estádio Jornalista Mário Filho, Rio de Janeiro
Honduras-Switzerland, 16:00, Arena Amazonia, Manaus
Note: as Rio de Janeiro is one hour ahead of Manaus, the Ecuador-France and Honduras-Switzerland games will begin simultaneously.