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World Cup, day eight

Suarez celebrates brace and win
Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

Today, in Brazil’s World Cup, we got to see the real Uruguay, which was a matter of adding the one critical ingredient, Luis Suarez. The team is a powerhouse with him and not quite much without him.

The Uruguayan press, referring to Suarez, via La Nacion, trumpeted: “He dedicated the win to the English people.” The headline was a two-edged comment meant to signify that he was thumbing his nose at them for the criticism he has often endured in England, but also meaning that he has fans there he wanted to acknowledge.

In the game between Uruguay and England we also got to see the future of English football and they have a bright one. The British press was not kind to their coach, Roy Hodgson or to the team. The Guardian’s headline read: “England sunk by Uruguay as Luis Suarez makes his mark.” The story went on to say what others echoed.

After four years of planning, all that emotional commitment and anticipation, England’s World Cup has unraveled in the space of five days and the defining image will be of Luis Suarez, on the floor, weeping with joy after the goals that had opened the door to show Roy Hodgson’s team the way out. It is the first time England have lost their first two games and if, or rather when, everything is confirmed it will be an ignominious way to go. It has been another unsatisfactory tournament and Hodgson, facing questions about his suitability to continue as manager and saying he will not resign, will be acutely aware the inquest will not be kind.

Meanwhile the Colombians once again proved they are for real, missing superstar or not. The Ivory Coast proved they are a decent team without their big three on the pitch but a better one when they play together. The three better be there, playing at the same time, against Greece or they will suffer.

We found out that given their scoreless draw Greece and Japan have mathematical possibilities to progress, but given their output, not very good ones.

The online version of the Yomiuri, Japan’s and the world’s largest circulation newspaper had a front page photo of the Japan-Greece game with a headline that said: “Scoreless draw keeps Japan alive.” The paper went on to say that the draw was “…well-earned against a 10-man side that was comprised of much bigger, stronger and much taller opponents.”

As we look ahead to tomorrow’s schedule we have Italy playing surprising Costa Rica, followed by France squaring off against Switzerland and concluding with Honduras facing Ecuador. At this stage in the cup each game has significance and Group D may well be decided in the first match-up while in the second and third matches what is at stake is crucial to Group E, the leadership of the group and whether Ecuador has a chance.

Finally on the scorers’ table we now have Arjen Robben, Robin van Persie and Thomas Muller each with three goals.