Liverpool’s World Cup contingent is rapidly decreasing as Kolo Toure becomes the latest player to bow out of the competition…
You could be forgiven for thinking the World Cup was currently on hold while the latest Luis Suarez catastrophe fills front and back pages the world over.
It’s not. Since the Uruguayan’s latest attack on a fellow professional took place on Tuesday afternoon, three more groups have been decided producing mixed emotions for two Liverpool defenders.
Mamadou Sakho helped ensure France topped Group E after a 0-0 draw with Equador last night.
The 24-year-old played the first 61 minutes before being replaced by Real Madrid’s Raphaël Varane.
An otherwise assured display by the £17m signing from Paris Saint-Germain was marred by what looked like a deliberate elbow on Ecuador’s Oswaldo Minda.
The incident happened in the eighth minute as the two players jockeyed for position at a corner and Sakho can count himself lucky that referee Noumandiez Doue missed the incident.
As with Suarez, a retrospective ban could well be forthcoming but the centre-back’s participation in the last 16 meeting with Nigeria on Monday is also in doubt due to injury.
Sakho played with considerable strapping around his upper leg and was clearly troubled by the area as he left the field.
24 hours earlier, Anfield colleague Kolo Toure suffered late heartbreak as the Ivory Coast lost 2-1 to Greece.
The Elephants needed only a draw to advance as Group C runners-up but were stunned by a controversial injury time penalty from former Manchester City and Celtic forward Georgios Samaras.
Greece had originally taken the lead shortly before half-time when Andreas Samaris capitalised on a defensive mistake by Newcastle United’s Cheick Tiote.
In-demand Swansea City forward Wilfried Bony looked to have salvaged the required result with a 74th minute equaliser before the official, Christian Lescano, surprisingly pointed to the spot in the dying seconds for an apparent foul on Samaras by Giovanni Sio.
Toure, alongside brother Yaya, bravely played the full match despite the death of their younger sibling Ibrahim last week.
The experienced defender joins Spain keeper Pepe Reina and Liverpool’s England contingent on an early flight home.
Roy Hodgson’s men, who were already eliminated following consecutive 2-1 defeats to Italy and Uruguay, ended their campaign with an uninspiring 0-0 draw with surprise Group D winners Costa Rica.
Daniel Sturridge, Raheem Sterling and Steven Gerrard all featured in a largely forgettable match which brings the curtain down on a tournament to forget for the Three Lions.
Given the likelihood of bans for Suarez and Sakho, back-up players Sebastian Coates and Simon Mignolet, of Uruguay and Belgium respectively, could conceivably be the only Reds left participating in the tournament when the knockout stages commence.
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