Group C. Côte d'Ivoire vs. Greece
On paper, this was a snorefest of a game. In reality, it was a nailbiter. Ivory Coast only needed the draw in order to advance; Greece needed to win. The momentum of the game shifted in the 42nd minute when Samaris scored for Greece; then Wilfried turned the tables back in the Ivorians' favor in the 74th minute with a beautiful pass by Gervinho. Things looked grim for the Greeks; then, in stoppage time, a foul on forward Georgios Samaras set up a penalty shot that Samaras neatly knocked into the net. After the US match against Portugal, I can certainly empathize with the Côte d'Ivoire fans, who had the rug pulled out abruptly from under them at the very last minute.
Winner: Greece, 2-1
What Was At Stake: Winner advances to face Costa Rica (assuming a Colombia win, which was the case) in the round of 16; loser is eliminated.
The Better Team Was... Of their three games, this was by far the best Greek performance. Ivory Coast simply looked frustrated as they were shut down again and again. And as for the Greeks, they didn't simply "park the bus" in front of their goal, but attacked smartly, pushing the Africans off-balance.
Man of the Match: An argument could be made for Samaras, but I'll give this to the Greek defense for smart and capable defending, for denying Yaya Toure, Gervinho, and Didier Drogba the opportunity to move their team forward in the tournament.