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World Cup Saturday roundup: Italy, Costa Rica the big winners

Posted: June 14, 2014 10:11 p.m.
Updated: June 14, 2014 10:11 p.m.

Italy's Mario Balotelli applauds during a World Cup soccer match between England and Italy in Manaus, Brazil, on Saturday.

 

MANAUS, Brazil (AP) — Mario Balotelli scored with a second-half header Saturday to give Italy a 2-1 win over England at the World Cup.

The Italy striker was left free by his marker Gary Cahill and nodded a cross from Antonio Candreva past goalkeeper Joe Hart in the 50th minute.

Claudio Marchisio 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.

The win puts Italy in a strong position to qualify for the second round, and leaves England with plenty to do in its remaining two matches.

Balotelli nearly scored another in first-half injury time, running deep into the area and enticing Hart to come off his line. The Italy striker stopped, looked toward goal and sent a chip over the keeper's head — only for Phil Jagielka to clear by heading the ball over the bar.

England's attack-minded lineup made frequent runs into the Italy area throughout the match, and came close to scoring several times.

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COSTA RICA 3, URUGUAY 1

FORTALEZA, Brazil (AP) — Costa Rica came from behind to stun Uruguay 3-1 Saturday at the World Cup, opening the tough Group D with a major upset.

Uruguay had to leave star striker Luis Suarez on the bench but went ahead when Edinson Cavani scored a penalty in the 24th minute. However, Costa Rica fought back after the break and lone striker Joel Campbell drive in a ball headed down by Celso Borges in the 54th to beat goalkeeper Fernando Muslera.

Oscar Duarte dived past the outstretched foot of Uruguay's Cristian Stuani to head in the winner for the Central Americans, and substitute Marcos Urena added the third with six minutes left, catching out Muslera to slot the ball in from a tight angle.

It was Costa Rica's first World Cup victory since beating China in the group stage in 2002.

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COLOMBIA 3, GREECE 0

BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil (AP) — Colombia started its first World Cup campaign in 16 years in dazzling fashion, beating Greece 3-0 to open Group C on Saturday in front of a big, loud pro-Colombian crowd.

Left back Pablo 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 and James Rodriguez capped it off with a low shot in stoppage time after a slick backheel flick from Juan Cuadrado.

Colombia's pace and trickery were too much for Greece to handle in the latter stages as the 57,174 crowd, most dressed in bright yellow shirts, constantly chanted "Ole, ole" at Estadio Mineriao.

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IVORY COAST 2, JAPAN 1

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.

The talismanic striker's arrival immediately lifted the Ivory Coast team and Wilfried Bony and Gervinho scored with headers two minutes apart. Both goals were set up by curling crosses from defender Serge Aurier.

Keisuke Honda's first-half goal had given Japan the lead.

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