Costa Rica topple Italy, England out

14:29, Jun 23 2014
Costa Rica
Costa Rica's Joel Campbell celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against Uruguay during their Group D match.
Costa Rica
Costa Rica's Joel Campbell scores a goal during his sides Group D soccer match against Uruguay.
Costa Rica
A fan of Costa Rica celebrates their win over Uruguay.
Costa Rica
Costa Rica's Joel Campbell is fouled by Uruguay's Maximiliano Pereira, who was issued a red card for the foul.
Costa Rica
Costa Rica's Marco Urena shoots to score past Uruguay's Fernando Muslera during their Group D match.
Costa Rica
A general view of the arena during theGroup D match between Uruguay and Costa Rica at Castelao.
Italy v England
Mario Balotelli of Italy scores his team's second goal on a header past Gary Cahill and goalkeeper Joe Hart of England during the Group D match.
England v Italy
Daniel Sturridge of England shoots and scores his team's first goal past Salvatore Sirigu of Italy.
England v Italy
England's Wayne Rooney and Italy's Giorgio Chiellini fight for the ball.
England v Italy
England trainer Gary Lewin is stretchered off the field after a leg injury during the Group D match between England and Italy.
England v Italy
Italy's Claudio Marchisio scores past England's goalkeeper Joe Hart during their Group D soccer match.
Suarez goal
Uruguay's Luis Suarez celebrates after scoring a goal past England's Joe Hart.
Danny Welbeck
England's Danny Welbeck fights for the ball with Uruguay's Egidio Arevalo Rios and Uruguay's Edinson Cavani.
Wayne Rooney
England's Wayne Rooney heads the ball into the crossbar.
Luis Suarez
Luis Suarez of Uruguay shoots and scores his team's second goal during the Group D match between Uruguay and England.
Rooney goal
England's Wayne Rooney scores his team's first goal past Uruguay's goalkeeper Fernando Muslera.
Luis Suarez
Luis Suarez of Uruguay celebrates after scoring his team's second goal during the Group D match between Uruguay and England.
England fan
An England fan looks dejected after the team's 2-1 defeat to Uruguay.
Suarez fans
Uruguay fans celebrate with a poster of Luis Suarez after the Group D match between Uruguay and England.
Bryan Ruiz
Bryan Ruiz celebrates his first-half goal that decided Costa Rica's 1-0 victory over Italy.
Bryan Ruiz
Bryan Ruiz celebrates with a Costa Rican substitute after his goal against Italy.
Mario Balotelli
Italy's Mario Balotelli takes a shot at goal under Costa Rican pressure.
Junior Diaz and Claudio Marchisio
Italy's Claudio Marchisio checks on a prone Junior Diaz of Costa Rica.
Keylor Navas
Costa Rican goalkeeper Keylor Navas punts the ball upfield.
Ignazio Abate and Christian Bolanos
Italy's Ignazio Abate and Costa Rica's Christian Bolanos battle to control the ball.
Giancarlo Gonzalez
Giancarlo Gonzalez and Costa Rican team-mates celebrate their progression through to the second stage.
Yeltsin Tejeda and Patrick Pemberton
Yeltsin Tejeda (left) and Patrick Pemberton revel in Costa Rica's 1-0 win over Italy.
Daniel Sturridge and Keylor Navas
Costa Rican goalkeeper Keylor Navas blocks the shot of England's Daniel Sturridge.
Diego Godin
Captain Diego Godin (left) celebrates his match-winning header in Uruguay's 1-0 victory over Italy.
Uruguay players
Uruguay players celebrate, while Italy players react, after their World Cup Group D football match at the Dunas arena in Natal.
Giorgio Chiellini
Italy's Giorgio Chiellini shows his shoulder after claiming he was bitten by Uruguay's Luis Suarez.
Diego Godin
Uruguay's Diego Godin celebrates with team mate Christian Stuani (rear) after scoring a goal against Italy at the Dunas arena in Natal.
Luis Suarez
Luis Suarez of Uruguay and Giorgio Chiellini of Italy react after a clash at Estadio das Dunas in Natal, Brazil. Chiellini accused Suarez of biting him.
Maximilliano Pereira
Giorgio Chiellini of Italy challenges Maximilliano Pereira of Uruguay during their Group D match.
Gianluigi Buffon
Uruguay's Luis Suarez fights for the ball with Italy's goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon during their World Cup Group D football match at the Dunas arena in Natal.
Cristian Gamboa
Cristian Gamboa of Costa Rica challenges Luke Shaw of England during their World Cup Group D match at Estadio Mineirao in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
Keylor Navas
Goalkeeper Keylor Navas of Costa Rica makes a save on Daniel Sturridge of England at Estadio Mineirao in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
Bryan Ruiz
Bryan Ruiz of Costa Rica holds off a challenge by England's Frank Lampard during their Group D 0-0 draw in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
Steven Gerrard
Steven Gerrard of England looks on after a 0-0 draw with England in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
Wayne Rooney
England's Wayne Rooney (left) fights for the ball with Costa Rica's Junior Diaz during their Group D football match at the Mineirao stadium in Belo Horizonte.

Costa Rica has turned the tables on the team's World Cup expectations.

Or at least on everyone else's expectations.

Costa Rica followed up its surprise win over Uruguay with another World Cup stunner on Friday, beating four-time champion Italy 1-0 to secure a spot in the next round and eliminate England in the process.

After entering the tournament as an expected underdog in a group featuring three former world champions, Costa Rica is now on top.

"Maybe there are a lot of people who didn't have faith in us because we were in the 'Group of Death,' said Costa Rica captain Bryan Ruiz, who scored the key goal. "But the other guys are the ones who are dead and we're going to the next round."

Ruiz gave his side the lead in the 44th minute, heading in off the underside of the crossbar following a cross from Junior Diaz. Goal-line technology was used to show that the ball bounced down and in after hitting the bar.

Advertisement

There was a frenetic end to the first half, as moments before Ruiz's goal Costa Rica had a penalty appeal waved away when striker Joel Campbell was bundled over by Giorgio Chiellini.

Costa Rica leads Group D with six points, while Italy and Uruguay have three each before Tuesday's showdown. England has zero points after losing to Italy and Uruguay.

Italy (1934, 1938, 1982, 2006), Uruguay (1930, 1950) and England (1966) have won a combined seven World Cups.

Costa Rica's only other appearance in the knockout phase came in its World Cup debut in 1990, when it beat Sweden and Scotland under experienced coach Bora Milutinovic before ultimately getting eliminated by Czechoslovakia.

"Those who haven't supported us may believe in us right now," Ruiz said.

Italy, meanwhile, can still advance with a win or even a draw with Uruguay, since it leads on goal difference which is the first qualifying criteria.

"We gave our all. They did well to block every pass," Italy coach Cesare Prandelli said. "There's no worry now. We just need to regain our energy."

It was exactly 24 years ago to the day that Costa Rica beat Sweden 2-1 to advance at the tournament in Italy.

"There are no more Cinderellas in football, especially in a competition like the World Cup," Italy captain Gianluigi Buffon said.

It marked the fourth consecutive World Cup in which Italy failed to win its second match, although only in 2010 did the Azzurri not advance.

"We'll play a great match against Uruguay," second-half Italy substitute Antonio Cassano said. "I'm convinced we will. ... If we regain our energy we can (advance) comfortably."

While it was nowhere near as hot as Italy feared at the Arena Pernambuco - 29 C (84 F) and 70 percent humidity according to FIFA - the Azzurri still struggled to keep up with the speedy Ticos for long stretches.

Costa Rica coach Jorge Luis Pinto lined up five defenders but his squad was able advance forward with one swift, sweeping movement - just like in the 3-1 win over Uruguay.

"We did what we needed to do, we took away the game from the Italians," Pinto said.

The Azzurri hardly threatened until Mario Balotelli had chances in the 31st and 33rd minutes.

First, Balotelli was set up with a long, vertical pass from Andrea Pirlo and tried to lift the bouncing ball over the charging goalkeeper's head but missed the target. Then the Azzurri forward had an effort from beyond the area stopped by goalkeeper Keylor Navas.

"If we had scored goals on those two chances for Balotelli, the match would have changed," Prandelli said.

Costa Rica kept its poise after the threats from Balotelli and in the 36th minute Buffon had to make a diving save to stop a shot from midfielder Christian Bolanos.

In the 43rd, Chiellini made an uncharacteristic error - gifting the ball to Campbell near midfield - and then raced back and committed what appeared to be a clear foul. However, Chilean referee Enrique Osses motioned to play on.

Prandelli attempted to stir things up by adding Cassano, Lorenzo Insigne and Alessio Cerci in the second half, providing the Azzurri with four forwards instead of just Balotelli, but the 2006 winners rarely came close to equalizing.

"It's a deserved defeat," Prandelli said. "They were much more aggressive than us. They kept coming constantly and we weren't able to stop them."

The Italy coach spared a brief thought for England's players, who will now be flying home next week after Italy's defeat.

"I'm sorry for them," Prandelli added. "But we've got to worry about our own problems."

AP