Drogba inspires Ivory Coast to 2-1 win over Japan
RECIFE, Brazil (AP) - Didier Drogba came off the bench to inspire Ivory Coast to a 2-1 comeback victory over Japan in a World Cup Group C match on Saturday.
Drogba, who had been carrying an injury, came on in the 62nd minute when his team was losing 1-0.
Ivory Coast coach Sabri Lamouchi said it was "very correct to say when Didier Drogba came on the pitch, everything changed."
"You could see that it was very influential when he was on the pitch," LaMouchi said, highlighting the attention Drogba drew from Japanese defenders. "He created space for the players."
A mere two minutes after the talismanic striker's arrival, Wilfried Bony and Gervinho scored with headers two minutes apart. Both goals were set up by curling crosses from defender Serge Aurier.
Suarez watches as Uruguay stunned by Costa Rica
Costa Rica upsets Uruguay 3-1
FORTALEZA, Brazil (AP) - Watching from the bench, Luis Suarez saw just how much his teammates miss him.
Uruguay was overrun 3-1 by Group D underdog Costa Rica at the World Cup, a stunning result for the team that reached the semifinals four years ago and had every reason to think it could repeat that in Brazil.
Even with Suarez staying on the bench for the entire game after failing to fully recover from knee surgery, coach Oscar Tabarez fielded a side that included eight players from the 2010 team. But after going ahead through a first-half penalty, Uruguay was taken apart on counterattacks as Costa Rica scored three times in the second half to open Group D with a major upset.
Colombia cruises to 3-0 win over Greece
BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil (AP) — Colombia started its first World Cup campaign in 16 years in dazzling fashion, beating Greece 3-0 with goals from Pablo Armero, Teofilo Gutierrez and James Rodriguez in the Group C opener on Saturday.
Left back Armero opened the scoring in the fifth minute when his deflected shot rolled past Greece goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis. Striker Teofilo Gutierrez poked in Colombia's second goal from a deflected corner in the 58th that confused Karnezis and two defenders covering the near post.
Greece had a chance to pull a goal back after Gutierrez's goal, but an unmarked Georgios Samaras rattled the crossbar from close range.
James Rodriguez scored with a low shot in stoppage time after a slick backheel flick from Juan Cuadrado
Balotelli goal gives Italy 2-1 win over England
MANAUS, Brazil (AP) - With one nod of his head, Mario Balotelli gave Italy a 2-1 win over England and put the four-time champions in position to go far at the World Cup.
The often volatile and often brilliant Italy striker was left unmarked at the far post, giving him plenty of space to head a cross from Antonio Candreva past goalkeeper Joe Hart for the winning goal.
Claudio Marchisio had scored first for Italy, sending a long shot through a crowded area and past a diving Hart in the 35th. Daniel Sturridge equalized for England two minutes later, tapping in a cross from Wayne Rooney.
Ballotelli's header came in the 50th, but with the heat and humidity at the Arena da Amazonia slowing the pace of play in the second half, it came at just the right time.