World Cup 2014: Winners and Losers from Day 8

Karl Matchett@@karlmatchettFeatured ColumnistJune 20, 2014

World Cup 2014: Winners and Losers from Day 8

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    Clive Rose/Getty Images

    Day 8 of the 2014 FIFA World Cup saw two more groups move into their second round of matches, with Colombia dispatching Ivory Coast 2-1 early on.

    Japan and Greece fought out a rather dull 0-0 draw which started nice and open, but soon turned to a defence vs attack scenario after the Greeks went down to 10 men.

    Meanwhile, Uruguay defeated England to leave the European side on the brink of elimination. Here are all the biggest winners and losers of the day.

Winner: The Atmosphere in Brasilia

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    Themba Hadebe/Associated Press

    We'll start by looking off the pitch—the crowd in Brasilia for the day's opening game was absolutely fantastic.

    Long before kick-off there was already plenty of noise. The colours of the two nations on show made it a visual spectacle and the support for both sides continued throughout the match.

    It's a theme which has been repeated throughout the entire tournament with plenty of fans enjoying and contributing to a great atmosphere around the whole country.

Losers: Sol Bamba and Didier Zokora

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    Christopher Lee/Getty Images

    There were a few blunders in the penalty boxes at both ends, but Sol Bamba was definitely the biggest offender.

    Twice he lost the ball between his own legs, but luckily, it escaped, giving Colombia an easy chance on goal. His passing was also erratic at times.

    Didier Zokora, meanwhile, couldn't get close enough to James Rodriguez on the corner for Colombia's first goal before being robbed of possession as the South American's streaked away to net another.

Loser: Yaya Toure

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    Christopher Lee/Getty Images

    Ivory Coast would have been looking to their big players to deliver a performance to give them a chance of qualification from their group, but captain Yaya Toure couldn't produce anything to push them over the edge.

    The central midfielder was cumbersome and slow in possession, made no surging runs forward to break the lines of the Colombia defence and couldn't really create any big shooting chances, for himself or others.

    Add into that his poor set pieces and it was a bad day all-round.

Winner: Luis Suarez and Oscar Tabarez

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    Francois Xavier Marit/Associated Press

    Oscar Tabarez was somewhat questioned after his decision not to bring Luis Suarez off the bench in the defeat to Costa Rica, but his decision looks vindicated now.

    Suarez, after being given a few more days to recuperate, was the big difference in Uruguay's win over England, netting both goals in the 2-1 victory.

    Two great finishes gave his nation a first victory of the campaign and he'll be all the better for his 88 minutes on the pitch ahead of a big final group game against Italy.

Loser: Roy Hodgson

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    New-look squad, same old England.

    There was not enough positivity or determination about England's play in the final third, the substitutions were questionable at best and there was very little variation to their approach.

    Roy Hodgson's men have lost both games, have not yet been in front at any point and have conceded goals from poor defensive errors. But, they still have a chance of qualification—for now at least.

Winner: Greece's Defence Returns to Form

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    Petr David Josek/Associated Press

    Greece's strong points have traditionally been their work ethic and defensive solidity, but that was strangely absent in their opening match.

    They returned to type against Japan, though, withdrawing into a compact unit after Konstantinos Katsouranis' red card in the first half.

    Both central defenders, Kostas Manolas and Sokratis Papastathopoulos, were magnificent, but big credit has to go to the midfielders ahead of them too, notably Giannis Maniatis.

Loser: Japan's Inability to Finish

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    Hassan Ammar/Associated Press

    Japan enjoyed 74 percent possession in the game, as per WhoScored, but they simply didn't fashion enough clear chances during the 90 minutes.

    They probed, tried long balls, through-passes, set pieces and switching play, but too frequently gave away cheap fouls or overhit the final ball.

    However, they still should have won—at least three chances to score fell to them in and around Greece's six-yard box, with Yoshito Okubo spurning the best of the lot, skying a chance at the far post with the goal at his mercy. A poor final-third performance from Japan, and with it, they're almost certainly out of the World Cup.

Winner: Colombia Qualify!

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    Fernando Llano/Associated Press

    Colombia had to wait until late at night to be assured of qualification, but their win against Ivory Coast took them to six points from two games.

    The ensuing 0-0 draw between the group's other sides meant that only their African opponents can catch them as we head into the last round of games, so team and fans alike can celebrate a job well done.

    They require a single point from their last match against Japan to guarantee top spot, thereby avoiding the winners of Group D in the round of 16—likely Italy at this stage.