We reach day 8 of the World Cup, which means matches in Group C, as Colombia and the Ivory Coast battle it out between the two winners, Japan and Greece try to keep their chances alive while Group D, the group of death, brings together the two losers of the opening matches, with England and Uruguay both in must win situations.
Going by what we saw in the first matches from both teams, England seem to be in a better position than Uruguay going into their clash. They didn’t play badly against Italy and more importantly, they don’t seem to have their best player (if there even is such a thing) being limited by injury. Luis Suarez will be starting this time which might make everything different against defenders who are either his teammates or have suffered from his skills over the last couple of seasons.
Uruguay were humbled by the speed and pressing of Costa Rica in the previous match, and England have plenty of that in their arsenal with their quick front four. However, unless Danny Welbeck has a specific job of tracking a certain defensive midfielder to try and ruin Uruguay’s passing, which they don’t have much of, it might be better to start with Ross Barkley on the pitch, heading into the tournament in much better form than the Manchester United forward.
These are two teams that don’t love having the ball and will try to move it up as quickly as possible. Uruguay have the Maxi Pereira suspension to deal with as well. Going by the first match of both sides, it is Uruguay who are going to need more changes in their approach and style in order to come out of the second match with a chance to qualify and not be the next to sent packing.
In group C the two leaders, Colombia and the Ivory Coast, clash in Brasilia, hoping to secure their spot in the next round with a second win. Colombia played well against Greece but the challenge the Ivorian side portrays in terms of physicality and their intentions as a football team is completely different. Colombia will have to handle a faster team which might be alright for Camilo Zuniga on the right side, but overall it should mean that Juan Cuadrado and Victor Ibarbo will have to do a lot more back tracking than in the first match.
Wilfried Bony continues to start for the Ivory Coast while Drogba comes off the bench as something of an influence beacon. The defense is suspectible to quick passing and movement like it was against Japan, so we’ll see the Ivory Coast try to win this match by pressing high, using Yaya Toure as a linchpin along with Chieck Tiote to try and create havoc up the middle and force the Colombian defense to make some mistakes.
In another must win we have Japan playing Greece. Kyriakos Papadopoulos remains injured which means the Greek defense is significantly weaker with Manols playing alongside Sokratis. It was a bad match for Shinji Kagawa and Okazaki against the Ivory Coast. A lot will be expected of the two, especially if Keisuke Honda gets some special attention from the Greek defense. Yoichiro Kakitani will also probably start as Japan hope to use his speed and guile to penetrate through the tall and physical Greek defense.
For Greece, even when attack and goals are on their mind, the football doesn’t change. They don’t have the ability to go all out attack and won’t even when they need an early goal. The gameplan is not conceding in the first half before slightly turning up the pressure and hoping that their height advantage through set pieces will give them some sort of edge because when it comes to open play they’re inferior to every team in this group.