Day three of World Cup 2014 brought about a shocking result and a few expected ones, if not in the manner they were expected.
Colombia showed their power with a 3-0 demolishing of Greece who played a good game, attacking well and defending ok. But one can only imagine what Colombia with Radamel Falcao might have been like.
After watching the Ivory Coast and Japan play, Colombia is definitely the class of Group C and it will be up to the other three to put together a challenge for second place. At this point the three look about even.
In the second major surprise game of the cup Costa Rica upset Uruguay who came across as not having any answers for a speedy and both technically and tactically superior team. Though neither team played well enough to reach the level of their group mates Italy and England who played a World Cup classic that ended 2-1 for Italy. At this point England looks stronger than either of the teams in the first game, but with Luis Suarez expected back anything is possible. We will have to look at the Uruguay-England game to see who comes out of Group D.
We were worried about the officiating before the tournament began and those concerns have come home to roost. The games are experiencing a growing concern with the officiating and it is telling that the one well-refereed game stood out today. US referee Mark Geiger and his team did a good job with the Colombia-Greece game and allowed for an entertaining game to develop without much roughness or too many interruptions, and above all without decisions that unfairly changed the outcome of the game. The England-Italy game was officiated well, but in the classic Northern European fashion, one that allows quite a few more robust tackles than the rest of the world normally does.
We have heard, but the games seem unaffected by the strangeness of not having the Brazilian president opening the games, and the news of continued rioting, traffic jams, incomplete stadium installations and transportation infrastructure also seem not to have made a material difference on play so far.
The stadiums have been less than full for most games and the bigger venues will be the ones where the television camera pans will clearly show large swaths of empty seats. This also does not seem to have an effect as every game so far has had a majority of seats occupied and fan participation has made the lack of large numbers a non-issue.