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Thursday's Winners & Losers
by Paul Kennedy, June 20th, 2014 12:49AM

TAGS:  colombia, england, ivory coast, japan, luis suarez, world cup 2014


[BRAZIL 2014] Luis Suarez was hoisted by his teammates after one of the great individual performances at a recent World Cup, scoring twice for Uruguay to beat England, 2-1, and gain revenge against a country in which he is considered a villain. There was also perhaps the best individual goal of the tournament from Ivorian Gervinho in a losing effort against Colombia, which became the third team to clinch a berth in the round of 16.

Winners ...

LUIS SUAREZ. The Uruguayan could not have returned in more dramatic fashion. Only four weeks after knee surgery, Suarez scored two goals to beat England, 2-1, and all but eliminate it from the World Cup.  It was sweet revenge for a player vilified in England, where he served two long suspensions while playing for Liverpool. "I dreamt this. I’m enjoying this moment, because of all I suffered, the criticism I received. So, there you go."

COLOMBIA. The Cafeteros became the third team to clinch a berth in the knockout phase, with a 2-1 win over Ivory Coast thanks to goals by Monaco's James Rodriguez (off a corner kick by Fiorentina's Juan Cuadrado with his third assist in two games) and Porto's Juan Quintero. They became the third team to move into the round of 16 when Japan and 10-man Greece played to a 0-0 tie.

GERVINHO. The one-name Ivorian scored perhaps the best individual of the tournament late in the Elephants' match against Colombia, streaking into the penalty area from the left wing, beating a pair of Colombian defenders and then eluding Cristian Zapata before blasting a shot past goalkeeper David Ospina.

GOALS GALORE. Thursday's 2-1 results in Brasilia and Sao Paulo brought to 17 the number of games (out of 23 played) that have produced three or more goals. That's the same number as during the entire group stage -- 48 games -- four years ago in South Africa.

World Cup Results:
1 5-1
1 3-2
2 4-0
3 3-1
1 3-0
8 2-1
1 3-0
1 2-0
1 1-1
1 1-0
3 0-0

GOALS: 66 goals. 23 games. Average: 2.87.

Losers ...

ENGLAND. England's loss to Uruguay left it on the verge of elimination. It needs to beat Costa Rica in its final group game and for Italy to beat Costa Rica and Uruguay -- and then overcome the Ticos' four-goal advantage on goal differential. Impossible? No. So far, England's trip to Brazil has been a disaster, following up on the problems it had in its other trips to South America for the World Cup. In nine games, it's won only twice to go along with six losses and one tie.

England in South America:
1930 did not enter
1-0-2 (Brazil)
1962 1-1-2 (Chile)
1978 did not qualify
2014 0-0-2 (Brazil)

JAPAN. The Blue Samurai finds itself on the verge of elimination after settling for a 0-0 tie with Greece, which played with 10 players for the last 53 minutes after Kostas Katsouranis' red card. The 2-1 loss to Ivory Coast and tie with Greece are huge disappointments for the Asian champions whose goal was to go one step farther than they did in 2010 when they reached the round of 16. The draw also left Asia's four representatives winless after six games.

World Cup Records (Asia):
1 Japan 0-1-1
1 Iran 0-1-0
1 South Korea 0-1-0
0 Australia 0-0-2
Average: 0.5 points per game.

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