World Cup Daily: June 24
A daily update on the action in Brazil
Nick Barbaro, 7:30am, Tue. Jun. 24, 2014
There were no real surprises on the first day of the group stage finales, highlighted by Mexico advancing over Croatia. The next three days feature two pairs of simultaneous games: two groups each day, with kickoffs at 11am and 3pm. Today's marquee match: the Italy-Uruguay elimination game at 11.
Monday ResultsNetherlands 2, Chile 0; Spain 3, Australia 0 (Group B)
Holland became the first group winner with an impressive 2-0 decision over Chile. Both teams had already clinched spots in the final 16, but the Dutch avoid an early matchup with Brazil by winning the group. Spain salvaged a little pride with a dominating farewell performance, finished off by a stunning back-heeled goal from all-time record scorer David Villa, who had announced that this would be his last game for his country. Others in the Spanish "golden generation" may follow his lead soon.
Mexico 3, Croatia 1; Brazil 4, Cameroon 1 (Group A)
Mexico advanced to the round of 16 for the sixth straight WC with a tense 3-1 win over Croatia, with all four goals coming in the last 20 minutes. Brazil eased through as group winner on goal differential.
Tuesday’s Games:11am: Italy-Uruguay, England-Costa Rica (Group C)
The big game of the day is Italy-Uruguay, an elimination match between two tournament favorites. Italy has the goal-differential advantage, so they'll move on with a draw, but Uruguay, which must win to stay alive, has the home continent advantage, plus Luis Suarez, who says he's in ''perfect shape'' five days after scoring both goals in the win that knocked out England. Suarez is continuing his rehabilitation from knee surgery.
The other game features surprising Costa Rica, who's already moved on to the next round, and already eliminated England. Asked how his team will respond to this unwelcome position, England coach Roy Hodgson on Monday described "a realm of despair that you didn't know was possible. … It's been a very tough few days and it's hard to pick yourselves up for a game that, even if you do well in, serves no purpose."
3pm: Japan-Colombia, Ivory Coast-Greece (Group D)
Colombia has already clinched a spot in the next round. Their prize for winning the group would likely be a tough matchup with the Italy-Uruguay winner. Ivory Coast will take the second spot with a win or draw against Greece, who need a win to go through instead.