Jun. 20, 2014
The AP World Cup Digest at 10 p.m. EDT (0200 GMT). The supervisor of the World Cup desk in Rio de Janeiro is Simon Haydon. The desk can be reached at 0055 21 348 264 84.
Before the World Cup, Uruguay was worried about Luis Suarez's knee and Colombia was fretting over injured Radamel Falcao. Considering the wild celebrations Thursday, neither should have. Less than a month after surgery, the incomparable Suarez came back Thursday to score two vital World Cup goals, and Colombia is through to the second round despite missing its star striker. Both South American teams won 2-1 Thursday, Uruguay pushing England to the brink of elimination, and Colombia beating Ivory Coast to advance from Group C after Greece and Japan played to a scoreless draw. By Raf Casert.
SAO PAULO — Dropping to the turf on the left knee that was surgically repaired less than a month ago, Uruguay striker Luis Suarez was euphoric. Scoring a second goal against England sealed a 2-1 win on Thursday to revive Uruguay's World Cup campaign and cap a remarkable recovery. But it meant even more than that to the Liverpool player. Vilified after being banned by the English Football Association for racially abusing one opponent and biting another in two separate incidents in the Premier League, Suarez seemed to revel in inflicting England's second successive loss in Brazil. By Rob Harris.
BRASILIA, Brazil — Starved of the World Cup action for 16 years, Colombia — and its fanatical traveling supporters — are certainly making the most of being back on football's biggest stage. Driven on by a partisan pro-Colombian crowd that turned the Estadio Nacional into a sea of yellow, the South Americans scored through James Rodriguez and substitute Juan Quintero in a devastating six-minute spell in the second half to beat Ivory Coast 2-1 on Thursday. By Steve Douglas.
NATAL, Brazil — Reduced to 10 men after captain Costas Katsouranis was sent off in the 38th minute with his second booking, Greece held on for a 0-0 draw with Japan on Thursday that kept both alive in Group C and sent rival Colombia through to the knockout round of the World Cup. Both teams inserted new strikers in search of goals and a first victory, but ultimately the main objective was survival and both achieved that with one match left in group play. Japan would have been eliminated with a loss. By Jim Vertuno.
WCUP-WHAT TO WATCH
RIO DE JANEIRO — A draw between Italy and Costa Rica on Friday would put England out of contention at the World Cup. Luckily for England, neither team will be prepared to settle for one point with so much still at stake in Group D. By John Pye.
RIO DE JANEIRO — So Spain's dynasty ends, as they all do. But as we look forward to a new king at the World Cup, let's not make the mistake of forgetting just how good the greatest team this century was when its champagne football was flowing. By Sports Columnist John Leicester. SENT: 700 words, photos.
TERESOPOLIS, Brazil — Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa's performance was so impressive Tuesday that even Julio Cesar's young son was talking about it. Ochoa made four outstanding saves and was picked as man of the match as Mexico drew Cesar's Brazil squad 0-0. SENT. 1,100 words.
SAO PAULO — Even after taking a hard blow to the head that left him motionless on the pitch, Uruguay midfielder Alvaro Pereira insisted on staying in the game Thursday for his team's World Cup game against England. Pereira collided with England's Raheem Sterling in the 61st minute of Uruguay's 2-1 victory Thursday. As he slid for a ball just outside Uruguay's penalty area, Pereira was inadvertently struck on the temple by Sterling's left knee. By Aron Heller.
SAO PAULO — Jozy Altidore will miss the Americans' World Cup game against Portugal on Sunday because of his strained left hamstring and appears likely to sit out next week's match against Germany. The U.S. probably needs to advance to the knockout phase if the forward is to return to the tournament. By Ronald Blum. SENT. 500 words.
AGUAS CLARAS, Brazil — A family is counting on the fingers of a single hand its hopes for Brazil to win a sixth World Cup championship. All the members of the Silva family living in Aguas Claras, a town on the outskirts of the capital of Brasilia, were born with an extra digit on each hand as a result of a genetic condition known as polydactyly. By Tais Vilela. SENT. 250 words.
SALVADOR, Brazil — France faces Switzerland on the anniversary of its infamous World Cup training ground strike, and a victory in Friday's match will go a long way to closing the darkest chapter in France's football history. Four years ago in South Africa, the players shamed a nation back home and prompted the fury of politicians when they refused to climb down off the team bus in protest at one of their teammates being sent home. By Jerome Pugmire.
SAO PAULO — One moment, Wayne Rooney madly celebrated the triumph of ending years of criticism for his World Cup struggles. Then, the England striker left the field with his head down in disappointment. At last, Rooney had delivered his first goal for the Three Lions on the big stage. He came through following constant scrutiny surrounding his lack of production at the World Cup. By Janie Mccauley.
RIO DE JANEIRO — FIFA has acknowledged being embarrassed by a security lapse that let ticketless Chile fans rampage into the Maracana Stadium. Fences have been breached by fans at both World Cup matches staged at the country's biggest and most prestigious stadium which hosts the final on July 13. By Graham Dunbar.
MOGI DAS CRUZES, Brazil — There is little not to like about Belgium defender Vincent Kompany at the World Cup. He has vision, poise and leadership — all the qualities teams look for in a captain. Well, there is one downside — he is injury prone. So when all players bar one came cycling down to the training pitch on Thursday, there was a sudden worry Belgium's World Cup campaign might not look so perfect after all, despite the opening 2-1 win over Algeria. Kompany stayed up at the team hotel to treat a groin strain. With Sunday's game against Russia drawing near, alarm bells were quickly ringing. By Raf Casert.
RECIFE, Brazil — Italy coach Cesare Prandelli needed little more than 20 minutes of practice inside Arena Pernambuco to reaffirm his belief that FIFA should grant time-outs for players during Friday's Group D match against Costa Rica. The climate in Recife, a coastal city about 8 degrees latitude south of the equator, "is not normal," Prandelli said. "It can change in 10 minutes." By Brett Martel.
PORTO SEGURO, Brazil — Germany repeated its feat from four years ago by opening the World Cup with a 4-0 victory. Now it's hoping there won't be a repeat of its second game in South Africa when it takes on Ghana on Saturday. The Germans routed Australia to start its 2010 campaign, but then lost to Serbia 1-0 in the next game. After beating Portugal 4-0 in Brazil on Monday, Germany is wary of another letdown in Fortaleza against Ghana — the same team it beat 1-0 in its third game in South Africa to reach the knockout round. By Nesha Starcevic.
RECIFE, Brazil — Mario Balotelli couldn't care less if he's mentioned in the same breath as Neymar or Lionel Messi at this World Cup — as long as he comes away with the trophy. Having scored the winning goal in Italy's 2-1 victory over England and now getting ready for Friday's match against Costa Rica, the temperamental forward has gained more attention than any other Azzurri player in Brazil. By andrew Dampf.
SALVADOR, Brazil — Coach Ottmar Hitzfeld made no secret on Thursday about his tactics heading into Switzerland's potentially decisive clash with France: Solid defending and quick counterattacks. Whoever wins in Salvador on Friday will take a major step toward clinching top spot in Group E, and probably avoid Lionel Messi's Argentina in the second round. By Dusan Stojanovic.
RIO DE JANEIRO — An unexpectedly early World Cup exit has left Spanish football searching for a way to recapture its past success, while transitioning to a future without some of the players responsible for that former glory. A 2-0 loss to Chile on Wednesday left Spain without hope of advancing to the second round, and become the first defending champion to be assured of elimination after just two group games. By Paul Logothetis.
BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil — The first week of the World Cup has exposed signs of an identity crisis in Argentina, with coach Alejandro Sabella and captain Lionel Messi presenting different visions of how the team should play. Sabella talks about being flexible and adjusting the formation depending on the opponent, while Messi says Argentina — being the football power that it is — should stick to its attacking style regardless of who it plays. By Karl Ritter.
RIO DE JANEIRO — Netherlands trained without Bruno Martins Indi on Thursday as the defender remained behind in Porto Alegre after sustaining a suspected concussion in the 3-2 win over Australia at the World Cup. While the squad traveled back to its base in Rio de Janeiro and trained in the rain, Martins Indi stayed overnight in the hospital in Porto Alegre for observation after he was hurt in a tackle by Tim Cahill in Wednesday's Group B game. He was expected to rejoin the team later Thursday in Rio. Martins Indi left the game against Australia on a stretcher after the challenge by Cahill. By Gerald Imray.
PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil — Back-to-back defeats have done nothing to dent the confidence of an Australia squad that arrived at the World Cup as the lowest-ranked team and with pundits predicting a complete wipe out. The Socceroos are out of contention already, ahead of their last group game against 2010 champion Spain, but the gutsy manner of their defeats to the Netherlands and Chile suggests there's enough talent in the inexperienced squad to expect brighter outcomes in future. By Chris Brummitt.
WCUP-BRAZIL-LOOKING TO IMPROVE
TERESOPOLIS, Brazil — Brazil goes into its decisive Group A match against Cameroon on Monday with more at stake than a spot in the next round of the World Cup. After struggling in its first two matches, Brazil is also looking to show that it can play well at its home tournament. By Tales Azzoni.