After yet another upset in Brazil, Costa Rica's win put them top
of Group D and eliminated England, while Italy and Uruguay must now
fight it out for the other qualification spot when they meet in
Natal on Tuesday.
In the Friday's third game, goals in each half from striker Enner
Valencia gave Ecuador a 2-1 win over Honduras in World Cup Group E
to boost their hopes of making the last 16.
France top the group with six points, while Ecuador and Switzerland
each have three. Honduras have now lost twice and are facing likely
Uruguay received a boost on Friday, after it was confirmed that Luis
Suarez would be fit to face Italy in a game the South Americans must
win to qualify. The forward scored both goals in the 2-1 victory
over England on Thursday.
That will add to concerns for Italy after they were humbled by Costa
Rica with the central Americans putting in another impressive
performance after earlier defeating Uruguay 3-1.
Bryan Ruiz's header in the first half separated the sides, leaving
delirious Costa Rica fans dancing in the sunshine at Recife's
Pernambuco arena after a second successive win.
"We kept our heads. It was a beautiful match... The people of Costa
Rica deserve this. They supported the team and me. This was for
them," said ecstatic coach Jorge Luis Pinto.
Italy coach Cesare Prandelli sought to stay positive ahead of the
Uruguay clash, with his side needing a draw to qualify due to
superior goal difference.
"Right now I don't think we need to be negative, we need to think
about recovering our energies because we have another game in a few
days' time, we play against Uruguay and whether we qualify depends
on that," Prandelli told reporters.
He also refused to blame the midday tropical heat in Recife for the
"We know about the calendar, we've known it for some time,"
Prandelli said. "It's useless to try and find excuses, we're not
looking for excuses, we have to be ready at the kickoff."
A Brazilian judge on Friday ordered FIFA to follow its own
guidelines and stop play at all World Cup games every 30 minutes for
a water break if the temperature is 32 degrees Celsius (90
Fahrenheit) or higher.
FIFA played down the significance of the decision.
"We did not reach or exceed 32 degrees at any moment in any game so
far," FIFA spokeswoman Delia Fischer said.
"The court is only ordering us to follow our own procedures which we
have always planned to do."
FRANCE MARCH ON
There was no upset in the second match, with France beating
Switzerland 5-2 in Salvador in an entertaining, end-to-end game full
of chances that made great viewing for the neutral.
For Switzerland coach Ottmar Hitzfeld it was an altogether more
painful experience as he watched his defence torn apart by wave
after wave of attacks from France's forward line.
The emphatic win continued France's World Cup rehabilitation as they
seek to bury the ghosts of four years ago, when a player revolt left
their reputation stained.
Coach Didier Deschamps likened the team spirit to that of 16 years
ago when he played in the France side that won the World Cup on home
[to top of second column]
"It is the same thing that we saw in 1998. While we cannot
compare each changing room, I have a very focused group at present,
they have a mindset that they want to maintain, even those who play
less. There is a force that is rising," he said.
"(While) this is
not a guarantee of success, in addition to our qualities this
mindset is very important."
At 5-0 down, Blerim Dzemaili rifled home a long-range free kick that
slid under the French wall, and Granit Xhaka added a second with a
fine volley close to full time, making it the highest scoring game
of the Brazil World Cup so far.
Earlier, France striker Karim Benzema had become joint top scorer
with his third goal of the tournament, stabbing home neatly from
substitute Paul Pogba's sublime pass.
On Saturday, Argentina meet Iran in Belo Horizonte and Nigeria take
on Bosnia in Cuiaba in Group F. Germany face Ghana in Group G in
Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella has confirmed he will start with
the more attacking 4-3-3 formation favoured by Lionel Messi and,
even at a tournament as unpredictable as this, a win for Iran is
However, their coach Carlos Queiroz begged to differ.
"I would bet all my stakes on Iran because this is my personality,"
he said on the eve of the match.
The coaches of England and Spain, both out of the tournament in
shock early exits, won the backing of their respective soccer
authorities on Friday.
The Spanish soccer federation (RFEF) said it wanted Vicente del
Bosque to remain in the job, according to secretary general Jorge
And the chairman of England's Football Association, Greg Dyke,
similarly voiced support for Roy Hodgson, saying that, despite the
disappointing results, the future looked brighter.
"There are a lot of young players who got blooded here and got into
tournament football," he said.
There was tragedy off the pitch as the Ivorian Football Federation
confirmed that the younger brother of Kolo and Yaya Toure died in
Manchester aged 28. Media reports said Ibrahim lost his life after a
short battle with cancer.
It is unlikely the Toure brothers will depart from the World Cup.
Ivory Coast play their last Group C game in Fortaleza on Tuesday
with a chance to qualify for the knockout stage.
(Editing by Ed Osmond and Nigel Hunt)
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