The first two games of the World Cup's Round of 16 were decided yesterday: Brazil will face Chile while the Netherlands will confront Mexico. Today, Costa Rica and Colombia, who are already qualified for the next round, will know who their rivals will be.
Group D, the so-called group of death, will be decided first: while Costa Rica and England will play a not quite transcendental match in the Estadio das Dunas, in Natal, Italy will face Uruguay in today's most exciting game in Belo Horizonte's Estadio Mineirão. A draw would be enough for the Italians to secure their spot in the next round, while the Uruguayans need a win in order to avoid going back home too early. A draw would also serve Costa Rica to keep the first place.
Two hours after these games are finished, we will witness Group C's outcome, where three teams are still fighting for a spot to accompany Colombia into the next round. Ivory Coast will face Greece in Fortaleza's Estadio Castelão, while Japan will confront Colombia in the Arena Pantanal, in Cuiabá.
- Colombia has six points right now. A draw will serve them to keep the first place, while a defeat would only make them go down to the second place if Ivory Coast won against Greece and an aggregate four-goal difference were surpassed (quite unlikely, if you ask me).
- Ivory Coast will qualify if they beat Greece. If they tie, a Japanese victory over Colombia by two or more goals would eliminate them, while a one-goal victory would make us have to look at the goals scored by each squad to make a decision. A loss against Greece automatically eliminates them.
- As it has been said, Japan needs to beat Colombia to qualify. If Greece also wins over Ivory Coast, Greece and Japan would both have four points, so we would have to look at the goal difference, which is now favorable to Japan by a margin of two.
Many alternatives, as you can see. We will enjoy a fine spectacle, for sure. Have fun!
Costa Rica vs England
Costa Rica Starting XI: Navas, Gonzalez, Borges, Duarte, Campbell, Ruiz (c), Brenes, Diaz, Gamboa, Tejeda, Miller.
England Starting XI: Foster, Cahill, Wilshere, Lampard (c), Sturridge, Smalling, Jones, Milner, Lallana, Barkley, Shaw.
Italy vs Uruguay
Italy Starting XI: Buffon (c), De Sciglio, Chiellini, Darmian, Marchisio, Balotelli, Barzagli, Immobile, Bonucci, Pirlo, Verratti.
Uruguay Starting XI: Muslera, Godin (c), Pereira, Rodriguez, Suarez, Gimenez, Lodeiro, Arevalo, Gonzalez, Cavani, Caceres.
Greece vs Ivory Coast
Greece Starting XI: Karnezis, Maniatis, Manolas, Samaras, Kone, Karagounis (c), Salpingidis, Torosidis, Lazaros, Sokratis, Cholevas.
Ivory Coast Starting XI: Barry, Boka, K Toure, Kalou, Tiote, Gervinho, Drogba (c), Aurier, Y Toure, Serey, Bamba.
Japan vs Colombia
Japan Starting XI: Kawashima, Uchida, Honda, Nagatomo, Okazaki, Kagawa, Okubo, Aoyama, Konno, Hasebe (C), Yoshida.
Colombia Starting XI: Ospina (c), Arias, Armero, Cuadrado, Guarin, Mejia, Balanta, Ramos, Quintero, Martinez, Valdes.