F*cking hell – Costa Rica are going into the last 16 of a World Cup at the expense of England and Italy or Uruguay. We’ve known that for a few days, but it’s still mind-blowing.
It’s the final round of matches in Group D and although England know that they’ll be getting an overly physical security search from the frustrated security staff at Heathrow in the next couple of days, there’s still a lot of play for – name qualification and the top spot in the group and a potentially easier game in the last 16.
We’ll be concentrating on Italy v Uruguay to see which one of the underwhelming former champions will join England in the airport duty free shop tomorrow, but I’ll also keep an eye on Roy Hodgson’s men as they begin on the road to glory in Russia 2018. Possibly.
If you’re rat-racing your way home from work, still in work or at a funeral or some other event in which watching a football match is frowned upon, then this is the place for you. I’ll keep you up to date with all the latest news and sneery comments you need to keep abreast of events. If you’ve any sneery comments of your own, then feel free to share them in the comments section below or on Twitter where I’m @MinistryOfGlove.
Italy 0 – 1 Uruguay
England 0 – 0 Costa Rica
FULL TIME! Uruguay win and Italy are going home at the group stage for the second World Cup running! It was a terrible, terrible match, but the drama of the last 15 minutes has made up for that.
Suarez is under the spotlight for allegedly chomping down on opponent once again. Ridiculous scenes. Uruguay march on, but it may be without their superstar striker.
And the hoof comes to nothing.
Last gasp hoof into the box for Italy …
It’s all over for England. Well, more all over than it already was. They play out a 0-0 draw with Costa Rica.
YELLOW CARD! Muslera gets booked. For time-wasting apparently.
Five minutes of added time. Five minutes left for Italy to fumble around hopelessly for an equaliser.
Fair play to Suarez. Failed to pass when Uruguay had a two man overlap. Twice.
The only footage we’ve got of the Suarez incident so far. Inconclusive is the nice way of putting it:
Pirlo has a shot a goal from a free-kick 30 yards out. It’s decent, but gets a deflection and goes out for a corner. Italy don’t do anything with the resulting set-piece.
GOAL! 1-0 URUGUAY!! We’ll the latest biting incident will have to wait because Uruguay have taken the lead thanks to a ‘header’ from Godin. It came from a corner, Godin rose highest and got his back/head to it. Probably more of his back than head to be honest.
Italy on the verge of joining England in the departures lounge.
That’s certainly what Chiellini is claiming. He’s pulled his shirt down and he’s trying to show the referee something. Possibly ‘sexy’ but more than likely evidence of bite marks.
That’s insane. There’s no conclusive evidence, but the footage shows Suarez move his head towards Chiellini. After that it’s all very unclear.
HAS SUAREZ BITTEN SOMEONE AGAIN??????????????????????????
SUB! Uruguay make their last change. Gaston Ramirez comes on and Christian Rodriguez makes way.
BOOKING! De Scgilio gets booked for an attempted rugby tackle on Pereira.
SUB! Verratti goes off after a picking up an injury. Motta comes into the fray for the last 15 minutes of this shitfest.
Nearly 75 minutes gone and we’ve crossed the 40 infringements mark. That’s some achievement.
SUB! Cassano comes on for Italy and Immobile comes off. Cassano might do something. Whether or not it’s football related or just something a bit mental remains to be seen.
Corner to Italy. Something nearly happened. But then it didn’t.
GREAT CHANCE! Suarez with a glorious chance! The ball breaks to him on the edge of the box and he storms through. From 12 yards out he tries to hit it low to the keeper’s right, but Buffon sticks out a hand and sends it wide for a corner. Really should have stuck that one away, Luis.
SUBSTITUTION! Uruguay make their second change. Christan Stuani comes on for Alvaro Pereira.
RED CARD! Holy shit – something has actually happened. The Italians are down to 10 men as Marchisio is given his marching orders. He went into a 50-50 with a Uruguayan, had his studs high and into the shin. Not the worst of tackles, but for a referee looking for something to do, it’s the perfect excuse to get involved.
CHANCE! That’s the best chance of the game and possibly the best bit of football we’ve seen. Christian Rodriguez links up with Suarez down the left. Suarez plays him through with a chipped through ball and with Buffon to beat, he screws his shot wide.
Coming up to 55 minutes gone and between free kicks and offsides, we’ve had 34 stoppages for infringements, roughly averaging one about every 90 seconds. That suits Italy, but for the other 7 billion people in the world, it’s been attrocious.
Suarez blasts a free kick about 20 yards over the cross-bar. This game is so shit.
Penalty appeal for Uruguay. Cavani goes down under pressure from Bonucci. It was a tad underwhelming to be honest, in keeping with pretty much everything that has happened thus far.
And Uruguay get the ball rolling on the second half in Natal.
SUBS! They’ve also made a change at half-time Lodeiro comes off. Pereira takes his place. As Expected, Mario Balotelli was looking like a liability and has got the hook. Marco Parolo comes on for Italy.
YELLOW CARD! And straight away there’s a yellow card for Uruguay. Arévalo goes into the book for a fairly soft tackle.
That’s about more excitement than we had in the entire first half.
England start the second half in Belo Horizonte …
Well, at least this England fan can laugh about it. And we can all laugh about his spelling.
HALF TIME IN THE MAIN EVENT! And ‘event’ is a strong word for what we’ve just seen. We get glimpses of what both teams can do, but precious little of it comes in the attacking thirds of the pitch. It’s been shit and although we were expecting a tight game, the hope was there would be enough individual talent to overcome that. There really hasn’t been though.
Half time in Belo Horizonte and England are still bottom of the table, but this time they’re bottom of the table with one point.
Luis Suarez. Free -kick cross. Something nearly happened but it didn’t. This is still a shite game.
In truth, this is terrible. The biggest issue is when Mario Balotelli is going to get himself sent off. Already on a yellow and doing some very Mario Balotelli things – it looks nailed on.
Caceres just tried to lob Buffon from about 70 yards out. He’s a defender and Buffon wasn’t that far off his line.
It didn’t work.
Sturridge just missed a great chance for England. Free header, six yards out, disappointment – you know, the usual for England at this tournament.
CHANCE! Oh my god – something has happened! Uruguay create half a chance thanks to nice link up play between Luis Suarez and Nicolas Lodeiro on the edge of the box plays Suarez in. He’s one on one with Buffon and tries to play it back to Lodeiro, but the Italian keeper smothers the chance and we’re back to the tedium that has dominated this game so far.
Half an hour gone in Natal and it’s remains cagier than the spare room in Josef Fritzl’s house.
Both teams show slightly glimpses of being good, but they can’t string enough of that skill together to carve out a decent chance.
England have a penalty appeal turned down. Daniel Sturridge looked like he was taken out by a hefty challenge from a Costa Rican’s arse. Decent shout but the referee says no.
So, as it stands, Costa Rica will be going through as group winners and Italy will join them in the next round.
As it stands, both teams will worry precisely zero of their potential opponents.
In Belo Horizonte, Costa Rica just hit the cross bar with a free-kick. It was kind of a save from Ben Foster too.
YELLOW CARD! Just because there’s nothing happening, the ref decides to book Mario Balotelli. It may also have had something to do with all the fouls he has committed so far. He goes into the book for jumping really high and clattering a Uruguayan with his legs. Nice jump though. He’s suspended if Italy get through this and into the next round.
20 minutes gone and do say it’s been cagey is being rather flattering. It’s been a game of football largely made up of bad passing and aggressive tackling. But not so aggressive than it’s interesting. It’s a fine line.
This could be the last time we’ll see Andrea Pirlo’s magnificent hair in an Italian jersey. That’s a frightening thought.
If football was all about giving away free-kicks, we’d currently be witnessing a classic. Sadly it’s not and not much of note is happening.
SAVE! Pirlo just does what Andrea Pirlo does. From about 35 yards out and an unpromising angle, he takes a free-kick that everyone expects him to cross, but instead, he shoots and a bit of fumbling from Muslera makes it look more dangerous than it should have been.
10 minutes gone in both games and so far they’ve largely been shit.
Some pressure from Uruguay and an unconvincing punch from Buffon is what results. That and Chiellini rolling around on the ground complaining about an alleged elbow to his beautiful face.
And now we’ve had our first Suarez dive of the game!! Well, maybe it wasn’t a dive, but it was definitely ‘exaggerating contact’.
Three minutes in and we’ve already had a bit of a hissy fit from Mario Balotelli and a lot of rolling around on the ground. A promising start …
Italy get us underway wearing blue, as you probably expected.
The bad singing of the national anthems and obligatory heart-felt handshakes is over and we’re all set for kick-off.
Right, that England funeral pyre was obviously a lot of fun, but now the attention turns to Italy and Uruguay. The teams are currently walking out of the tunnel accompanied by an impressive array of flags.
This World Cup hasn’t been a total bust for Glenn Hoddle. Looks like he picked up quite a snazzy charm bracelet during his time in Brazil.
Nice Glenn. You’re the envy of 10 year old girls up and down the land.
Betting talk time. My favourite part of live blog and not the one that I’m contractually obliged to do. No way.
Costa Rica (Two wins from two games at the World Cup) are the outsiders to beat England (no wins from two games at the World Cup). I’m no gambling genius, hence I’m stuck writing a live blog, but I know where my money would be going:
Andros Townsend is down beside the pitch and it looks like he went halves on a two for one shirt deal with Adrian Chiles. Both sporting a very similar shade of dark navy.
Costa Rica have adds on ITV!! Not for the football team, just general ads trying to convince you go or invest in the country. Oh you may have our place in the knockout rounds, but we’ve got your advertising spend.
Glenn Hoddle, Lee Dixon and Ian Wright are the ITV dream team covering the England game. Hoddle and Wright are bringing some the light-hearted atmosphere of their earlier ‘beach chats’ by resolutely refusing to tuck their shirts in. Fabio Cannavaro would not approve.
Roy Hodgson is being interviewed now and when asked by the ITV microphone holder if a result is more important than a good performance, he rips his shirt open and starts shouting “WHAT DID YOU SAY PUNK? DON’T COME AT THE KING WITH THAT ATTITUDE YOU LITTLE WORM. I SPIT IN YOUR FACE”.
Obviously he didn’t because he’s Roy Hodgson, but he did say he’s not as bothered about getting England off their duck eggs points tally as he is in getting a good performance from his team.
SUPERBONUSEXTRA TEAM NEWS!
And because I’m trying to cover two matches at the same time, that means we’ve also got team news from the main event of the evening as Italy and Uruguay try to out-streetwise each other for a place in the last 16.
Italy have made a whole heap of changes to the team that lost meekly to the Costa Ricans last Friday. De Rossi, Abate, Candreva and Motta are out of that team and in comes De Sciglio, Immobile, Verratti and Bonucci. Will it make a differnce? We don’t know, but they’re very nice names to say in a slightly offensive bad Italian impression.
Buffon, De Sciglio, Chiellini, Darmian, Marchisio, Balotelli, Barzagli, Immobile, Bonucci, Pirlo, Verratti
The Uruguay team remains the same to the one that condemned England to their early journey through passport control. That means it’s Suarez and Cavani up front with nine other less famous players playing the supporting cast.
Muslera, Godin (c), Pereira, Rodriguez, Suarez, Gimenez, Lodeiro, Arevalo, Gonzalez, Cavani, Caceres
And the Costa Rica team looks a lot like a Costa Rica team should. I spot a couple of names I recognise so I’ll lazily assume it’s pretty much the same as it always is.
Navas, Gonzalez, Borges, Duarte, Campbell, Ruiz (c), Brenes, Diaz, Gamboa, Tejeda, Miller
Well, we’ve had England TEAM NEWS! since yesterday, but that won’t stop us getting overly excited by using capital letters and underlining those words.
Roy Hodgson has rung the changes for this dead rubber, giving players a start who could actually have made a difference if they were allowed start the other two games. What says ‘forward progress’ more than starting Frank Lampard, 31 year old Ben Foster instead of 27 year old Joe Hart and vastly experienced 28 year old James Milner instead of 19 year old in need of experience, Raheem Sterling? The future is bright, the future is Hodgson.
Foster, Jones, Cahill, Smalling, Shaw, Wilshere, Lampard, Lallana, Barkley, Milner, Sturridge