CHICAGO --England started the day in danger of being eliminated from the first round when they faced the No.7-ranked Uruguay. In the 39th minute, Uruguay took the 1-0 lead as Luis Suarez made good on the header and England was stunned. In the 2nd half, Wayne Rooney gave the English some life by scoring his first ever World Cup goal in the 75th minute. But 10 minutes later, the man of the match, Suarez, took a long pass, got control and blasted the ball into the net and Uruguay won 2-1, putting England on the brink of elimination from the round of 16... Ouch.
In the first match of Day 8 of the World Cup, the men from Colombia dominated the Ivory Coast, which inexplicably kept one of the best players in the world, Didier Drogba, on the bench in the first half. The stands at Estadio Nacional in Brazil's capital, Brasilia, were filled with Colombian fans. The game was scoreless until the 64th minute, when James Rodriguez slammed home the header. In the 70th minute, Colombia cemented its lead of group C when Juan Quintero, a substitute, scored after a steal- and for all intents and purposes, the game was over. Gervinho made it interesting when he scored in the 74th minute. Columbia won 2-1.
In the final match of the day, Greece was favored to defeat Japan, but the men from the Land of the Rising Sun played spoiler. It ended in a 0-0 draw, which means Colombia advances to the round of 16, leaving Ivory Coast with a great chance of joining Colombia in the next round.
Friday's action will see the top two teams in Group D, Italy and Costa Rica, play a showdown match with the winner advancing. The loser is still alive. I like Italy to win. Game two has the Swiss facing the French in Group E, another showdown of unbeaten teams. I'll pick the Swiss in that one, and the final match of the day pits Honduras against Ecuador, and the loser is out of the tournament.
One final note, when the United States faces Portugal on Sunday in the second game for both teams, the Americans will be without striker Jozy Altidore. He has a strained hamstring. U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has a substitution to make.
And one of the greatest players in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo, was seen leaving practice Thursday with an ice bag on his right knee. If he cannot play, then America will win and advance. With Thursday's games, my record now stands 15-7. These draws are killing my predictions. Anyway, the first week has been great, some outstanding matches and after a shaky start, the refereeing is much better. Chat with you all Friday night... Cheers!
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Since joining ABC7 in 1982, Jim Rose has become a major force in Chicago sports broadcasting. He currently serves as sports anchor/reporter for ABC7 News in Chicago's top-rated 4:00 and 6:00 p.m. newscasts. He is an avid fan of the World Cup! Learn more about Jim