Japan, Italy eliminated

June 24, 2014
Colombia's Jackson Martinez, right, scores his side's third goal during the group C World Cup soccer match between Japan and Colombia at the Arena Pantanal in Cuiaba, Brazil, Tuesday, June 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

Colombia’s Jackson Martinez, right, scores his side’s third goal during the group C World Cup soccer match between Japan and Colombia at the Arena Pantanal in Cuiaba, Brazil, Tuesday, June 24, 2014. (AP)

Diego Godin hit the late game-winner as Uruguay edged 10-man Italy 1-0 Tuesday  to reach the knockout stages at the World Cup.

However, the victory was overshadowed by a biting incident involving Uruguay’s superstar forward Luis Suarez, who appeared to have sank his teeth into the shoulder of Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini.

In Group C, Greece qualified for the round of 16 for the first time with a dramatic 2-1 victory over Ivory Coast, while Colombia hammered Japan 4-1 to advance with the maximum nine points.

Suarez, Liverpool striker and reigning Premier League scoring champ, lunged at Chiellini shortly before Godin’s goal. Chiellini pulled his shirt down to show the referee a mark on his shoulder but no action was taken by the official.

Suarez, who served lengthy bans for biting opponents in his time with Liverpool and previous club Ajax, could face suspension if FIFA disciplinary officials uphold Chiellini’s protests. The maximum ban Suarez could face is 24 matches or two years.

Italy has missed the knockout stages for two World Cups in a row.

Greece’s veteran striker Georgios Samaras converted a controversial injury time penalty to seal the win after the referee judged he was fouled by Ivory Coast’s Giovanni Sio. Greece had taken a first-half lead when Andreas Samaris pounced on a defensive mistake.

Ivory Coast, which needed just a draw to advance, looked ecstatic after Wilfried Bony equalized in the 74th minute, and devastated after Samaras stepped up and slotted the ball into the bottom right of the net.

Substitute James Rodriguez scored a brilliant goal and set up two more for Jackson Martinez as Colombia thrashed Japan 4-1 on Tuesday to confirm top spot in Group C, setting up a second-round match against Uruguay.

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