World Cup Wrap: Ivory Coast rallies, stuns Japan

World Cup Wrap: Ivory Coast rallies, stuns Japan
June 14, 2014, 2:15 pm
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Ivory Coast celebrates after completing its 2-1 upset victory over Japan. (AP)

Updated 11:30 p.m.

RECIFE, Brazil -- 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.

Coach Sabri Lamouchi's inspired substitution negated Keisuke Honda's first half goal that had given Japan the lead in a group that also includes Colombia and Greece. Colombia beat Greece 3-0 earlier on Saturday.

Italy tops England in tense affair
MANAUS, Brazil -- 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 unmarked by Gary Cahill and nodded a cross from Antonio Candreva past goalkeeper Joe Hart in the 50th minute.

Claudio Marchisio opened the scoring 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.

Costa Rica rallies for victory
FORTALEZA, Brazil -- 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 left star striker Luis Suarez on the bench but went ahead when Edinson Cavani scored a penalty in the 24th minute.

But the Central Americans fought back after the break and lone striker Joel Campbell slotted 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 underdogs, and substitute Marcos Urena added the third with six minutes left, catching out Muslera to slot the ball in from a tight angle.

Suarez is still recovering from knee surgery and never came off the bench.

Argentine soccer fans get rowdy in Rio
RIO DE JANEIRO -- Police trying to control a rowdy crowd of Argentine soccer fans have used pepper spray to keep them from blocking a main road running in front of Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana beach.

Waving flags and banners on Saturday, more than a thousand Argentine fans dressed in their team's traditional blue are yelling out soccer chants and exclaiming their team's superiority.

Argentina plays Bosnia-Herzegovina Sunday in Rio's iconic Maracana stadium.

Argentina fan Roberto Pons, sporting long, gray hair that ran down to his speedo swimming trunks, was yelling "Copacabana belongs to Argentina!" Other fans were poking fun at any England supporter that happened to wander by.

Argentina is an intense rival on the soccer field and off for both neighboring Brazil and England.

Colombia tops Greece, 3-0
BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil -- Colombia started its first World Cup campaign in 16 years in dazzling fashion, beating Greece 3-0 with goals from Pablo Armero, Teofilo Gutierrez and James Rodriguez in the Group C opener on Saturday.

Left back 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 that confused Karnezis and two defenders covering the near post.

Greece had a chance to pull a goal back after Gutierrez's goal, but an unmarked Georgios Samaras rattled the crossbar from close range.

James Rodriguez scored with a low shot in stoppage time after a slick backheel flick from Juan Cuadrado.