FORTALEZA, Brazil – Georgios Samaras scored an injury-time penalty to send Greece into the second round of the World Cup for the first time with a 2-1 victory over Ivory Coast on Tuesday, eliminating the African team in the process.
Samaras was adjudged to have been tripped in the area by substitute Giovanni Sio, and slotted in the spot kick for a victory that puts Greece through to the knockout stage.
Ivory Coast would have advanced to the round of 16 with a draw.
“This means so much to me, to us … Tonight we had energy,” Samaras said, dedicating the win to Greeks suffering through financial crisis. “We really hope we can make the people happy back home.”
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In Athens, where the match ended after midnight, thousands of fans poured into the streets to celebrate.
The Greeks had taken the lead shortly before halftime through substitute Andreas Samaris, who punished Ivorian Ismael Tiote for a careless pass backward.
Substitute Wilfried Bony equalized for Ivory Coast in the 74th minute, beating goalkeeper Pangiotis Glykos from close range after being set up by Gervinho.
That goal looked as if it would put Ivory Coast through to the round of 16 until the late drama. Samaras met a cross in the area and tried to shoot with his left leg, which got caught against the leg of Sio. Samaras’ foot then hit the ground and he fell to the turf, drawing a penalty.
With his country’s hopes on the line, Samaras sent his spot kick past goalkeeper Boubacar Barry.
“We came here to advance from the group stage. We’ve never done it before, and we did tonight in a great way,” said Greece captain Giorgos Karagounis, a veteran of the team that won the European Championship in 2004. “The goal should have come earlier.”
After the match, Ivory Coast coach Sabri Lamouchi said he is stepping down.
“The Ivory Coast is a great football nation. And this was a cruel game, a cruel game,” Lamouchi said. “After so much hard work and so much sacrifice, all of us and everyone in the Ivory Coast is very sad.”
Altidore is out again for United States
SAO PAULO – Jozy Altidore will miss the United States’ World Cup match against Germany on Thursday because of his strained left hamstring.
The forward was injured in the Americans’ opening 2-1 victory over Ghana on June 16 and didn’t play in Sunday’s 2-2 draw with Portugal.
“Jozy is recovering really well,” U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann said. “This game comes still too early for him. But we’re working on him.”
Other Tuesday matches
Colombia 4, Japan 1
James Rodriguez scored a brilliant goal and set up two more for Jackson Martinez as Colombia routed Japan in Cuiaba.
Already assured of advancing to the round of 16, Colombia guaranteed first place in Group C with its third straight victory.
Costa Rica 0, England 0
The draw in Belo Horizonte meant Costa Rica finished first in what many considered the World Cup’s toughest group, Group D.
Costa Rica set up in a defensive 5-3-2 formation.
England had been eliminated before this match because it lost its first two to Italy and Uruguay.