5 things: High-quality play, dance moves Saturday at World Cup

Story highlights

  • Eight teams open their World Cup competition in Brazil
  • The England-Italy contest lives up to the pregame hype
  • Colombia wins -- against Greece, on the proverbial dance floor
  • Uruguay does not, as karma from 1950 World Cup win doesn't carry over
On Saturday, at least, there was good reason to believe the hype.
Eight teams opened play on the first full weekend day of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, providing fans with plenty of energy, plenty of goals and plenty of snazzy dance moves to enjoy.
Problems with stadiums, protests about living and working conditions in Brazil and a host of other issues had cast clouds entering this year's tournament. But not on Saturday, when the primary story lines revolved around what happened in and around the field, not off of it.
Here are a few of the day's big developments.
Italy's 'Super Mario' wins
The England-Italy match was billed as the best game of the day, a showdown of two of the most beloved and well-known football nations. Not only that, but the squads are evenly matched -- coming into the tournament ranked ninth and 10th respectively in the FIFA world rankings.
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Then a funny thing happened. Unlike so many others (anyone catch Friday's Netherlands-Spain rout?), this game was as good as it was billed, if not better.
The teams treated fans to a fast pace, plenty of chances, gobs of effort and several pretty goals. The game was free of rain that is inherently possible in the Amazon.
Italy jumped ahead in the first half, only to have England answer a mere two minutes later.
The score didn't stay tied long. Just five minutes into the second half, Italy's Mario Balotelli -- known the world round as "Super Mario" -- headed in a go-ahead score.
Despite a host of chances as the minutes ticked by, England wasn't able to net again -- falling 2-1.
English physio goes down, too
As if losing its World Cup opener isn't bad enough, the English team also lost one of its own.
It wasn't Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard or Frank Lampard; in fact it wasn't anyone who was supposed to even step on the field.
Daniel Sturridge's then game-tying goal 37 minutes into the game set off a wild celebration. And a little dangerous, apparently, by the sign soon thereafter of a stretcher on the field.
Pictures later showed the English physio, or physiotherapist, being carted off of the field. A retweet on the Three Lions official feed identified him as Gary Lewin.
The Press Association and BBC reported that the man had dislocated his ankle at some point early in the post-goal celebration.
So you think you can dance?
As groovy as you might be, you'd still have a hard time measuring up against the Colombian team.
A goal in football is sometimes celebrated by a sort of high-speed victory lap by the scorer -- until he's stopped by passionate hugs from fellow players. Or maybe he enjoys a good ole man hug. Or perhaps the team resorts to a pig pile.
But the Colombians are too cool for all that.
After Pablo Armero found the back of the net a mere five minutes into his team's match with Greece, he turned his celebration into a dance party.
On the sidelines, the Colombians broke out into a choreographed shuffle-and-shout that USA Today declared was "the best goal celebration of the World Cup (so far)."
Then, after scoring a second goal, players unveiled a different dance -- this one a slow tempo, unlike the other -- that also lasted a few seconds.
How many routines does this team have?
If the Colombian team -- which toppled the Greeks by a 3-0 score -- has anything to do with it, we'll find out plenty of times over the next few weeks.
Following the tweeting ball
Any kid who has strapped on some shin pads and any first-time fan being directed by a fervent Premier League follower has been told to keep their eyes on the ball, because that's where the action is.
But follow the ball on Twitter? Perhaps not -- until now.
Adidas has supplied the official match ball of the World Cup since 1970. This year, the firm introduced a new ball called the brazuca -- a colloquial term used to describe pride in the Brazilian way of life -- along with its own whimsical @brazuca Twitter page.
This new talking ball is pretty popular, apparently.
"I just hit a million followers. I've gone #platinum," read one message Saturday on the @brazuca feed. "This is just the beginning... #ballin."
The sports company has unveiled signature balls around World Cup time before -- including the Tango in 1978, the Azteca in 1986 and the Fevernova in 2002 -- to fanfare and criticism. Adidas insists that the Brazuca is extra special; in fact, it bills it as "absolutely state of the art."
At $160 a pop, the ball better be.
Uruguay needs another miracle in Brazil
Uruguay, you've had your moment in Brazil. Sixty-four years ago.
That's the length of time since the South American nation won the World Cup the last time it was held in Brazil.
And Uruguay seemed, for a while Saturday, to be experiencing more glory. Their squad jumped out to a first-half lead against Costa Rica.
But a pair of rapid-succession Costa Rican goals soon after the break changed all that. Another goal finished the Uruguayans off.
Yes, in 1950, Uruguay pulled off a shocker. It looks it will need another miracle this year to get out of Group D play, given Saturday's 3-1 loss and the fact its next two matchups are against perennial football powers England and Italy.