NEW: Uruguay beats Italy, but it's a star's alleged bite has people talking
NEW: Greece scores 2 goals to advance
NEW: Colombia continues its impressive World Cup run
NEW: England manages a draw, but not a goal, in last game
They’re hardly a global soccer powerhouse, but Iran’s World Cup run has President Hassan Rouhani tweeting pictures of himself watching a game in a T-shirt.
That’s one of five things we’ll be watching for and talking about Wednesday:
1. GROUP F SHOWDOWNS
Trying to get through:
What a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad World Cup it’s been for England. Sure, Wayne Rooney scored that goal that had eluded him for three World Cups. But to what end? The Three Lions still had their feast spoiled by Uruguay last week. Today, England is hoping for at least a draw – so it doesn’t leave with a goose egg for the first time. (Costa Rica is already through.)
2. GROUP E MATCHUPS
Free for all:
This is the match to watch today. Both Uruguay and Italy have 3 points in Group D. Winning is crucial for moving on up.
Here’s hoping the Italian coach gave the team a refresher course on staying onside. In its game with Costa Rica, the Italian boys were caught offside 11 times! Fix that, and make opportunities for magic man Mario Balotelli, and Italy may make it through.
3. LUIS SUAREZ
The fangs come out:
We get it, Greece. You’re really great at defense. You proved that when you played with 10 players for most of the match with Japan, and still held them to a goalless draw. But it’s time to aim for the net now.
Like Greece, the Ivory Coast hasn’t ever made it to the Round of 16. A win will change that. Brothers Yaya and Kolo Toure have decided to stay with the squad as they mourn the death of another sibling, Ibrahim, who passed away of cancer last week.
UPDATE: Greece did it. They scored two goals, the last on a penalty kick in extra time to earn a 2-1 win and a berth in the knockout stages. The result also assured an end to the World Cup hopes of Didier Drogba, Yaya Toure and their Ivory Coast cohorts.
Group of Death – but whose?
We want to love Japan. They have the nicest fans. But the Blue Samurais have been meh. And we’re not sure they have a fighting chance today. They not only have to win against Colombia, they’ll also have to hope that the Ivory Coast draws or loses the other game.
Colombia’s sitting pretty at the top of the group. They’re already through. But we want to see their 22-year-old phenom, James Rodriguez, score again. Because that dude can give Shakira a run for her money(maker).
With three former World Cup champions, Group D was always sure to be the Group of Death, but the victims were hardly the ones anyone expected. Costa Rica was the only team in the group that has never won the tournament, but far from being sacrificial lambs, they turned out to be giant-killers, beating Italy and Uruguay. Tuesday they finished their unbeaten run by holding hapless England to a 0-0 draw. And that was the end of England’s World Cup run.
5. USA v GERMANY
Mexico - Croatia: 3-1
The scouting report goes something like this: Rafa Marquez is the target player for Mexico on corner kicks. Mark him with two players if you have to. He’ll make you pay if he gets his head to the ball.
Croatia missed that page and now El Tri is moving on to the next round while the Blazers are going home.
Marquez scored Mexico’s opener and assisted on the second. And if that wasn’t enough to watch the game, the Mexican coach’s priceless expressions sure were.
Brazil - Cameroon: 4-1
If you’ve been watching Brazil play this World Cup, know that you’re witnessing a legend in the making: Neymar. He scored his fourth goal in three games and booked his country a date with Chile. Just two more goals and he’ll be the top scorers in the tournament so far. And he’s only 22.
Netherlands - Chile: 2-0
Chilean fans wear their emotions on their sleeves, and their shoulders, and on their faces. So, losing to the Netherlands made you just want to give them all a big hug. And then remind them: Stop it, you’re in the next round.
The Dutch showed again they can be Speedwork Orange as Arjen Robben, in the counterattack, with the insightful cross to Memphis Depay, put Chile away.
“It was a very good game to watch,” Robben said afterward. Well, maybe for your team.
Spain - Australia: 3-0
Where was this Spain all this time? Three goals! That’s two more than all the goals it scored in its other World Cup games combined this year. This is how a defending champ should play. But clearly, Spain got the memo too late. It’s going home.
Team USA is looking ahead to a make-or-break duel against Germany on Thursday, hoping to go through to the knockout stage with a win or a draw. If they lose, Ghana (or, less likely, Portugal) could sneak into second place in Group G.
CNN’s Greg Botelho contributed to this report.