Italy and England out of World Cup While Suarez “bites” Chiellini !


Uruguay skipper Diego Godin scored to send Italy crashing out of the World Cup Tuesday but the South Americans’ striker Luis Suarez faced a new biting storm.

Costa Rica’s drab 0-0 draw with England ensured that the Central Americans finished top of Group D.

Uruguay beat Italy 1-0 in the tense match in which the Europeans ended with 10-men and left the World Cup at the group phase for the second time in succession.

But amid the celebrations, immediate attention fell on a clash between Suarez and Italian defender Ciorgio Chiellini, who showed teeth marks in his shoulder after.

Television replays showed Suarez – who has twice been sanctioned for biting players – appearing to attempt to sink his teeth into Chiellini’s shoulder in an off-the-ball incident.

Chiellini was in no doubt Suarez – who was seen sitting on the ground feeling his teeth after the incident – had bitten him.

“He bit me it’s clear I still have the mark,” said an aggrieved Chiellini.

Italy won the 2006 World Cup, then failed to reach the last 16 in South Africa four years ago. They required only a draw against Uruguay at Estadio das Dunas in Natal to go through this time.

However, the Azzurri suffered a critical blow early in the second half when Claudio Marchisio was sent off for a studs-up challenge.

Soon after the Suarez-Chiellini incident, Godin rose in a crowded box and the ball rebounded off his shoulder to beat Buffon in the 81st minute.

Uruguay’s win means they leapfrog Italy to join Costa Rica in the last 16 of the tournament.

Italy coach Cesare Prandelli deployed a 3-5-2 designed to tighten the Azzurri defense and give them attacking options on the wings with Matteo Darmian and Mattia De Sciglio.

But despite a solid display in a scoreless first-half, the Azzurri’s hunt for goals – led by Ciro Immobile and Mario Balotelli – reaped no reward.

On the half hour Marco Veratti dispossessed Cavani to launch Balotelli but the striker failed to release as Immobile ran through into an offside position.

Minutes later Andrea Pirlo’s smart short pass found De Sciglio on the left but the wingback’s pinpoint delivery to unmarked Immobile was volleyed off target.

Italy were composed, but minutes before halftime Buffon had to make two critical saves to keep the score sheet clean, first stopping Suarez’s snap-shot down low with his left arm and then denying Nicolas Lodeiro from the follow-up.

Prandelli replaced Balotelli with midfielder Parolo at halftime, a tactical switch that suggested the Azzurri would happily hold on for the scoreless draw.

On 58 minutes Cristian Rodriguez sent a great chance wide of the target after a smart one-two with Suarez on the left flank.

Moments later, Marchisio was given his marching orders for his challenge on Egidio Arevalo.

The decision had the expected impact, and after Suarez burst through confidently on 65 minutes Buffon had to get down low to block with his arm.

Italy were still finding space, though, and a Pirlo through ball found Immobile only for the striker to be charged down as he was about to pull the trigger.

Prandelli replaced Immobile with Cassano, but despite Italy again finding opportunities on the counter Uruguay’s insistence deep in Italian territory finally paid off.

The hosts gave away a corner, which Godin met with conviction to leave Buffon with no chance.

Italy rallied in desperation in the dying minutes, when Buffon ran up the field to leave his net empty, but to no avail.

England almost down and out of World Cup and Colombia beats Ivory Coast!

Hope turned to despair once more, as so often in England’s World Cup campaigns – and what now for Roy Hodgson with a batch of unwelcome new records poised to arrive on his watch?

Faced with a Uruguay side that had little going for them beyond a genius in the number nine shirt, England were tactically inept and terminally naive in another 2-1 defeat.

The World Cup campaign is not over, Hodgson may proclaim, but history will tell you otherwise: no team has ever lost two World Cup group games and advanced. No England team has ever lost their first two World Cup games either, and you have to go back to 1958 to find the last time England failed to get out of the first group stage.

No wonder the England players trooped off the Sao Paulo pitch with heads bowed at the final whistle, after a 90 minutes where, Wayne Rooney apart, the team had had a stinker.

England’s heroic failure against Italy in Manaus had raised expectations, as well as some fears, that Hodgson’s men should finally produce a World Cup performance and result to be proud of.

It has been a dozen years since England have contrived to achieve that: not since 2002 when victories over Argentina and Denmark promised a glorious future for a golden generation that never quite materialised.

There was also the feeling that Uruguay could be there for the taking, having been humiliated 3-1 by Costa Rica and missing injured skipper Diego Lugano plus the suspended Maxi Pereira.

The South Americans had Luis Suarez back of course, but after that match in Manaus where England were so brimming with vigour, and with the Liverpool striker only just back from a knee op, surely there was only going to be one winner?

Except that England’s players took their instructions to attack relentlessly too literally: it was all horribly frantic, constantly disjointed and low in terms of skill levels.

Going forward, England were hasty while in defence they were hesitant.

Joe Hart looked uncharacteristically nervous in goal, while the outfield England players were headless chickens clad in white, running here, there and everywhere but too often to little purpose.

Uruguay were not much cop themselves, especially compared to Italy, but were ruthless when necessary, dirty when they thought they could get away with it, and had that man Suarez as a constant, nagging and brilliant presence.

Two excellent goals by Suarez were enough to do for England, the first an outstanding header after being superbly picked out by Edinson Cavani, despite the Uruguayans being outnumbered by six to two.

The second was a rasping, devilish strike that soared past Hart into the back of the net after England failed to deal with a route one ball straight from a goalkeeper’s kick.

That came after Rooney, playing in his favoured central role, had finally broken his World Cup hoo-doo to pull the scores level.

Rooney had a far better game than in Manaus but until that long-awaited goal must have thought he was cursed: a wicked free-kick bending a whisker wide with Fernando Muslera in the Uruguay goal rooted to the spot, a header that crashed against the angle of bar and post from point-blank range, and a chance from 10 yards that looked odds on but was too close to the keeper.

The rest of the team who had impressed against Italy found themselves suffering by comparison. Raheem Sterling buzzed around but showed little composure, while Daniel Sturridge’s touch appeared to have deserted him. Steven Gerrard looked off the pace and played an unfortunate role in both Uruguay’s goals, while Jordan Henderson seemed out of his depth.

England’s fate is out of their hands now but this World Cup is already looking disastrous. As John Cleese said, I can take the despair – it’s the hope I can’t stand.


Colombia beats Ivory Coast, secures 2nd-round spot

Starved of the World Cup action for 16 years, Colombia – and its fanatical traveling supporters – are certainly making the most of being back on football’s biggest stage.

Driven on by a partisan pro-Colombian crowd that turned the Estadio Nacional into a sea of yellow, the South Americans scored through James Rodriguezand substitute Juan Quintero in a devastating six-minute spell in the second half to beat Ivory Coast 2-1 on Thursday.

A second victory in Group C, following a 3-0 win over Greece, helped Colombia qualify for a place in the last 16. A 0-0 draw between Japan and Greece in the later group match ensured Colombia would progress to the next stage.

”We have had two wins with players who are playing their first World Cup,” Colombia coach Jose Pekerman said. ”We’re happy to have defeated such a good opponent. We have a lot of young players, and this is going to help them grow.”

Known for his midfield artistry, playmaker Rodriguez showed his prowess in the air by getting clear of Ivory Coast captain Didier Drogba – again only used as a substitute – at a corner to head in Colombia’s opener in the 64th minute, lighting up a disappointing match.

The celebrations had hardly died down among the vast hordes of Colombia supporters by the time a defensive mistake by Ivory Coast midfielder Serey Die allowed Teofilo Gutierrez to play in Quintero, and the midfielder slotted home a low finish.

Ivory Coast replied with a brilliant 73rd-minute solo goal by Gervinho, his second of the World Cup, but couldn’t find a second despite a strong finish. The Ivorians remain on three points after their 2-1 opening win over Japan.

Instead of Radamel Falcao, the country’s star striker who was ruled out through injury before the tournament, the most important factor in Colombia’s march through the group stage has arguably been its amazing support.

With supporters wearing yellow shirts dominating the stadium, it was effectively an away game for the Ivorians.

”It was extraordinary,” Rodriguez said, ”it was very much in our favor that Colombia could win.”

The crowd roared with relief at the final whistle, with Drogba’s introduction in the 60th minute helping pep up Ivory Coast’s attack that had previously looked rudderless with Wilfried Bony as the lone striker.

”I must say that we didn’t deserve to lose,” Ivory Coast coach Sabri Lamouchi said. ”It was very experienced Colombia team who waited for us to make mistakes.”

Drogba may now start that match but Lamouchi will also be looking for more from the squads top player, Yaya Toure, who seems like a shadow of the player who starred for Manchester City in the English Premier League last season.

There was no mistaking the passion of the Ivory Coast lineup – Die was in tears during the national anthem – but the team’s undoubted attacking quality has been lacking so far at this World Cup and Colombia looked more threatening going forward.

The best chance of a cagey first half was spurned by Gutierrez, who miscued a volley with the goal at his mercy after being perfectly set up by Rodriguez’s left-wing cross in the 28th. Otherwise, the highlight of the first 45 minutes came when a large inflatable ball bounced onto the playing surface, causing a brief stoppage.

Tricky winger Juan Cuadrado struck the bar with a fierce, angled shot before teammate Rodriguez, named man of the match, broke the deadlock with the kind of header that Drogba – the player supposed to be marking the Monaco playmaker – has been used to delivering.

Quintero’s side-footed finish gave Colombia breathing space, meaning that Gervinho’s goal – he jinked through two defenders, beat another and shot inside goalkeeper David Ospina’s near post – proved to be just a consolation.

Colombia faces Japan in its last group game.

World Cup 2014: Balotelli Leads Italy Past England!

Strange things happen to soccer players when they pull on an England shirt. Alpha-male goalies get twitchy. Experienced defenses start playing with all the cohesion of a bunch of drunk dads at a barbecue. Normally-astute midfielders turn into simpletons and start running around furiously like pixel-men in a 90s videogame, only able to change direction in 45-degree angles. Up front, two strikers who’ve lost all their usual touch and timing plod about disconsolately, taking turns to look accusingly at their team-mates.

Most English people have grown to accept this transformation as a fact of nature, but coach Roy Hodgson is one man who  bucks the trend. He’s tried to shake things up, bless him. He ditched England’s signature formation—a nervous, neurotic interpretation of 4-4-2—and adopted a setup with two holding midfielders, a line of three creative players and a single striker. He dropped Ashley Cole, England’s best-ever left-back, and called up a bunch of callow youngsters.

The signs from England’s warm-up games (two draws, one win) weren’t great. Theoretically the formation makes England more flexible; in practice the players’ hangups seem to have rubbed off on the new 4-2-3-1 setup, making it look old-fashioned and rigid. A bit English, in other words. And the players — well, they’re still England players. In interview after interview, they’ve queued up to proclaim how confident they are, how excited, how they’re going to play with confidence and freedom this time round — and you could see the fear in their eyes.

This evening will be a huge test for England’s players. Although they managed to take a more-or-less identical Italian side to penalties in their quarter-final at Euro 2012 two years ago, they were lucky not to be badly beaten. Italy dominated as Andrea Pirlo –sedate in possession, technically brilliant, everything the typical England midfielder isn’t — dismantled the defense time and again.

Stopping Pirlo will be a key tactical challenge for England. But this Italy side is shot through with talent. The defense, based around Juventus’ serial title-winning back-line, is one of the best in the competition; manager Cesare Prandelli has an absurd number of talented central midfielders to pick from; striker Mario Balotelli is always capable of genius. The Azzurri aren’t among the favorites for the World Cup, but they always perform.

ENGLAND: Hart, Johnson, Jagielka, Cahill, Baines, Gerrard, Henderson, Welbeck, Sterling, Rooney, Sturridge

The only news in the England line-up is that Raheem Sterling, the exciting young Liverpool forward, has been selected to start ahead of Adam Lallana. Lallana was favored in England’s friendly warm-ups and performed OK. He’s pretty slow, though, and most England fans will be pleased to see that Hodgson went with Raheem, who excelled for Liverpool last season (It will be no surprise to readers of the WJS’s markets coverage that Sterling has performing strongly recently.)  Still, the main unknown for England wasn’t the personnel but instead the question of who gets the job of marking Pirlo. Wayne Rooney did a pretty appalling job of it in 2012.

ITALY: Sirigu, Darmian, Paletta, Barzagli, Chiellini, De Rossi, Pirlo, Verratti, Marchisio, Candreva, Balotelli

The selection of Parma’s Gabriel Paletta, a center-back, and Torino right-back Darmian means it looks like Prandelli has chosen to play four defenders, rather than the back three he has sometimes favored in the past. That pushes Giorgio Chiellini out to left-back, a position where Italy lack a top-class specialist. It’s a slight surprise to see him choose Marco Verratti in midfield, rather than his more experienced PSG team-mate Thiago Motta, but not a real shock. Out of a whole slew of contenders to partner Mario Balotelli in attack, Lazio’s Antonio Candreva gets the nod.

How to Watch the 2014 World Cup: TV, Online & Social Media

Hey World Cup fans, kick back and watch the world’s biggest single-sport competition from the comfort of your laptop. Held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the first of 64 matches will kick off on June 12.

This year’s championship is more digitally interactive than ever before. With apps and beefed-up streaming services, here’s how to keep up with the game’s hectic schedule.

beira rio stadium
The Beira Rio stadium in Porto Alegre, Brazil will host matches during the 2014 FIFA World Cup.


To watch the games live on TV, here are the channels you should tune into:

  • USA: ESPN, ABC and Univision
  • UK: BBC and ITV
  • Australia: SBS
  • Brazil: Globo
  • Middle East [Lebanon]: beIN Sports

For a full list of countries and their corresponding networks that have licensing rights to broadcast the games, check out this resource provided by FIFA. For a full schedule of all of the games, check out this detailed list on ESPN. Sports Interaction also has a beautiful interactive schedule.

After you’ve familiarized yourself with players’ backstories and learned how to pronounce their difficult names, follow this guide for the worldwide web of the World Cup. It’s important to note that mega TV networks mainly hold all the rights to streaming the games online. (Though there are plenty of other sites that might stream the matches, they’re not always legal.)


USA: ESPN, the all-sports-all-the-time network, is all over the event. The channel will not only present all of the games live on TV via ESPN (43 matches), ESPN2 (11 matches) and ABC (10 matches), it will livestream all 64 games online. Every game will be available via the WatchESPNsite and app, which is available for iOS, Android, Kindle Fire, Chromecast and more.

The 10 games that air on ABC will be available via WatchABC. However, these online services are only available for those who already have cable and pay for access to the network.

Another site making the games available is Univision. The Spanish language network will air 56 games on Univision Deportes, its sports channel, as well as via its UD app. Like ESPN, the service is only available to subscribed viewers.

The UK: Across the pond, the BBC iPlayer and ITV will also be streaming the games for viewers in the United Kingdom, starting with the first match England plays against Italy on June 14. Both services have apps and sites that will stream the matches live.

Canada: Canadian viewers can check out CBC, which will stream all of the games live on its site, in addition to replays which will be available on demand. Unlike ESPN, it’s a free service.

Australia: The network SBS has secured the rights to stream all 64 games online for Australian viewers, in addition to providing accompanying apps and radio broadcast.

Middle East [Lebanon]: beIN has secured the rights to stream all 64 games! Click Here

Social media

Twitter: If you’re truly addicted to the social site, you can’t watch a major telecast without constantly checking your feed. So keep up with the sport via Twitter by following certain hashtags. The site Fanbrandz has put together a fun, handy guide to tags you should expect, like #GoSocceroos (for Australian fans), #EmBuscaDoHexa (for Brazilian fans) and #Bleus (for French fans).

It’s also worth checking out the official FIFA World Cup account, which keeps up a pretty active flow of tweets.

Plenty of players also use Twitter themselves. Here’s our guide to the most-followed World Cup players currently using the social site.

Follow Elie Chahine’s Twitter account: @ElieChahine

Facebook: Make sure to “like” ESPN FC, the network’s channel dedicated to the beautiful game. The World Cup also has an official page of its own, full of behind-the-scenes photos and interviews with soccer stars.

Follow Elie Chahine’s Facebook Account: Elie M. Chahine

Finally, the FIFA World Cup has an official Instagram page where it posts all kinds of fun photos of players and fans.


Elie Chahine’s Blog got u covered!

Brazil World Cup 2014: Fixtures / Schedules


Brazil World Cup 2014: Ashley Cole quits England after being left out of World Cup squad by Roy Hodgson

Ashley Cole confirmed his retirement from international football on Sunday night after Roy Hodgson, the England manager, handed teenager Luke Shaw a ticket to the World Cup .

Hodgson told Cole over the telephone that he had not made the 23-man squad and the Chelsea left-back, 33, responded by rejecting the chance to be placed among the seven standby players.

Cole instead decided it is time for him to retire from international football on 107 caps and dealt a setback to Hodgson, who formally announces his 23-man squad plus seven standby players on Monday.

After the news of his omission on Sunday night, Cole said on his official Twitter account: “I got the call from Roy and agree England team should be about the young players. I think it best I retire from England team now. We have a great manager and team and I wish them only success. I will be supporting them like a true fan. Thanks to everyone for everything.”

Hodgson said: “The most important factor was speaking to Ashley prior to the announcement on Monday, he deserved to hear it directly from me and he took the news with huge grace.

“In two years working with him he has shown nothing but relentless professionalism, and a great hunger to play for England. He is someone I have the utmost respect for and I wished him all the best, he in turn wished the team well this summer.

“Of course I must respect his decision to retire, he has been one of England’s finest players, but I want to look to the future. It has been one of the hardest decisions of my career.”

Hodgson was at St Mary’s to watch Southampton draw with Manchester United and the 18-year-old Shaw played 80 minutes before being substituted to protect his fitness.

Shaw’s day was made even better by the fact that United submitted a £27  million bid for the Southampton left-back just hours after the final whistle.

Cole’s retirement opened up a standby spot for Liverpool’s 21-year-old full-back Jon Flanagan, who has operated on the left and the right this season. West Ham United’s Andy Carroll was due to be told he had made the standby list, but Hodgson could not contact the striker on Sunday night after he boarded a flight to Dubai.

Hodgson appears to have gone for youth for Brazil, with 20-year-old Ross Barkley, 22-year-old Jack Wilshere, 20-year-old Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and 19-year-old Raheem Sterling all poised to join Shaw in the England squad.

Everton rested Barkley and 19-year-old defender John Stones, who is poised to be named on the standby list, for the 2-0 victory against Hull City. Roberto Martínez, the Everton manager, denied any inside knowledge of Hodgson’s plans.

Martínez said: “Ross and John will be busy boys in the summer because there is a chance they will represent the senior team and, if not, will be in the Under-21s. It’s the reason I have to look after them.

“The truth is I don’t know if they will be in the World Cup. Any manager you ask will say his players should be in it, but I won’t go down that road. I trust Roy Hodgson and I am a big admirer of his experience. Whatever the national team manager decides, we are happy to help.”

Wilshere made his first appearance since the midfielder broke his foot in England’s friendly against Denmark on March 5 as a second-half substitute in Arsenal’s victory against Norwich City on Sunday.

Wilshere came through the final 27 minutes and Arsène Wenger, the Arsenal manager, expected him to be named in Hodgson’s 23-man squad.

“The World Cup is in one month, so there is plenty of time,” Wenger said. “It just shows there is no problem for Jack to be available.”

Oxlade-Chamberlain was not part of Arsenal’s squad for the final Premier League game of the season, as he continues his recovery from a groin injury, and faces a race to feature in the FA Cup final.

He will start training with the rest of the Arsenal squad on Wednesday and will be expected to prove his fitness for England at the Portugal training camp, for which Hodgson’s men depart on May 19.

On Oxlade-Chamberlain, Wenger said: “He should be reintegrating our squad for normal training. He will be available for Roy to pick and I will not be surprised if he is. If players like Alex are not overplayed, they can absorb the competition.

“The only worry is if he is not medically fit, but I trust the England team. They have the first camp in Portugal and they will know after that.”

There was no Phil Jones in the United squad at Southampton after the defender suffered damaged ligaments to his shoulder last week, but there is optimism he can make a full recovery in time for the World Cup.

England’s medical team have kept close contact with United’s doctors and the Old Trafford club are understood to be happy for Jones to be named in Hodgson’s squad.

Hodgson’s decision to name a largely young squad looks to be bad news for United midfielder Michael Carrick, who was a second-half substitute against Southampton.

Ray Lewington, Hodgson’s assistant, visited White Hart Lane for Tottenham Hotspur’s victory against Aston Villa, but right-back Kyle Walker had not recovered from a pelvic injury in time to train or play. Spurs sources insisted it would be practically impossible for the 23-year-old to be called up.

With Joe Hart his No 1 and Ben Foster No 2, Hodgson’s only decision over his goalkeepers rested on who will travel as England’s third choice. Celtic’s Fraser Forster won that battle, ahead of the Norwich goalkeeper John Ruddy.