MATCHDAY PREVIEW – The second instalment of group-stage games has barely begun, but already a raft of sides lie within sight of the knockout phase. For Colombia or Côte d'Ivoire, that could mean an early spot in the Round of 16, with the leading duo in Group C facing off in a potentially crucial encounter. Colombia will advance if they prevail and Japan then fail to beat Greece, although the South Americans – already missing star striker Falcao – will have to cope without injured forward Carlos Bacca. As for Côte d'Ivoire, they will progress if they win and Greece do not overcome Japan.
In contrast, former FIFA World Cup™ winners England and Uruguay will be fighting for survival. Should they lose, the Three Lions would be eliminated if Italy then drop points against Costa Rica on Friday. Likewise, La Celeste,who have conceded three goals in each of their last three games, will be heading for the exit if they suffer defeat and Los Ticos do not see off Italy. The situation also looks similar for Japan and Greece, who shipped three goals against Colombia after letting in only four during their ten qualifiers. The Greeks will be out if they lose and Côte d'Ivoire avoid succumbing to Los Cafeteros, while Japan will suffer the same fate if they are beaten and Colombia cannot down Les Elephants.
Colombia-Côte d'Ivoire (Group C), Estadio Nacional, Brasilia, 13.00 (local time)
Uruguay-England (Group D), Arena de Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, 16.00 (local time)
Japan-Greece (Group C), Estadio das Dunas, Natal, 19.00 (local time)
Did you know?
African trailblazer? Côte d'Ivoire's Didier Drogba, Cameroon's Samuel Eto'o and Ghanaian duo Asamoah Gyan and Sulley Muntari are all vying for the honour of being the first African to find the net in three separate World Cups. In addition, Drogba will face Colombia looking to become the sixth player to score against a trio of CONMEBOL sides on the World Cup stage. The Galatasaray marksman, who registered against Argentina in 2006 and Brazil four years ago, would thus follow in the footsteps of David Beckham, Uwe Seeler, Jairzinho, Roberto Rivelino and Grzegorz Lato – exalted company indeed.
Longevity: Faryd Mondragon will become the oldest player in World Cup history if he makes an appearance at Brazil 2014. Aged 42 years and 363 days, the back-up to Colombia goalkeeper David Ospina will beat the current benchmark by 324 days if he features against Côte d'Ivoire. The record of 42 years and 39 days belongs to former Cameroon forward Roger Milla, who would nonetheless remain the most senior outfield player.
Third time lucky: England will face Uruguay having lost their last two finals matches, their 2-1 defeat by Italy coming four years after they were swept aside 4-1 by Germany on 27 June 2010. The bad news for their next opponents, however, is that the 1966 champions have never lost three consecutive World Cup outings.
Maximiliano Pereira (URU)
Treading the tightrope
Maya Yoshida, Masato Morishige (JPN)
Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Dimitris Salpingidis (GRE)
Martin Caceres, Walter Gargano, Diego Lugano (URU)
Raheem Sterling (ENG)
Carlos Sanchez (COL)
Souleymane Bamba, Didier Zokora (CIV)
Check it out
Despite Japan's painful reverse at the hands of Côte d'Ivoire, goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima insists that his side have no intention of abandoning their commitment to attacking football. "We want to keep the ball and move it forward, using all of our qualities and technical ability to score goals," he said ahead of their Greece test. Elsewhere on the website, fans of Didier Drogba are sure to enjoy re-watching video highlights of his South Africa 2010 campaign, while FIFA.com caught up with Greece striker Giorgios Samaras. "I know what everyone expected of Greece: that we would have 11 men behind the ball, defend, defend, defend and give everything to keep a clean sheet," he said. "But they saw a team that likes to attack, that moves the ball really well, and that tries always to create chances. That philosophy will not change. We just hope it brings a better result for us."
On this day
On 19 June 1958, 26,000 spectators filed into Gothenburg's Ullevi Stadion to watch Brazil take on Wales in the quarter-finals. Little did they know that they would also be witnessing the coming of a new king – but they were given an inkling on 66 minutes, when an unknown youngster with outrageous skill controlled a pass with his chest before flicking it behind a defender and finding the net. Aged 17 years and 239 days, Pele had just made history, and he remains the youngest World Cup scorer of all time, having later added a long list of records and titles over the course of his incredible career. Still, despite notching a hat-trick against France in the last four and a double versus hosts Sweden in the Final that year, O Rei finished runner-up to 13-goal Just Fontaine in the tournament scoring stakes, while the best-player plaudits went to his compatriot Didi.
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Manchester United team-mates Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie exchanged tweets in support of their respective teams at the World Cup, and the Dutchman said he would be cheering England when the Three Lions take on Uruguay in Sao Paulo.
— Robin van Persie (@Persie_Official) June 18, 2014