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Another giant downed by Costa Rica; Los Ticos top Italy, end England’s WC

Jun 20, 2014, 1:59 PM EDT

APTOPIX Brazil Soccer WCup Italy Costa Rica AP

The temperatures pushed the tempers of the players, and the tempo of the game, as Costa Rica’s halftime lead led to a halftime skirmish with Italy in their Group D match on Friday afternoon.

But Italy could not respond in the second half, as Los Ticos continued CONCACAF’s remarkable World Cup in Brazil with a 1-0 win over Italy just days after shocking Uruguay by a 3-1 score.

Costa Rica is on to the knockout rounds. Italy is now even with Uruguay at a win a piece, and the two teams match up in the Group E finale. England has been eliminated.

Bryan Ruiz’s goal in the 44th minute was enough to give Los Ticos a much-desired lead, and here’s what we were saying at the break.

Mario Balotelli and Andrea Pirlo teamed up on a number of first half occasions, with the young striker unable to capitalize on some splendid balls from the veteran midfielder. Costa Rica made adjustments in the second half, harassing Pirlo nearly every time he was near the ball.

It was effective, and as Balotelli was denied service he responded with anger and petulance. He earned a yellow card for his troubles midway through half No. 2.

The introduction of Cassano and Insigne provided a change of pace, but the final ball wasn’t there. Shots made their way to Navas, but he didn’t look threatened.

And Italy did very little to pierce the Costa Rica back line. As the game hit 75, 80, 85 minutes, there seemed very little threat of an equalizer. The tactics of Jorge Luis Pinto were spot on.


Italy – Buffon; Abate, Barzagli, Chiellini, Darmian; De Rossi; Candreva (Insigne, 56′), Pirlo, Thiago Motta (Casano, 46′), Marchisio (Cerci, 70′); Balotelli

Costa Rica – Navas, Gonzalez, Omana, Burgas, Duarte, Bolanos, Ruiz (Brenes, 81′), Gamboa, Tejeda (Cubero, 68′), Campbell (Ureno, 74′)

Goals: Ruiz (44′)

  1. talgrath - Jun 20, 2014 at 2:11 PM

    Costa Rica are the biggest surprise of this tournament so far. Costa Rica shocked Uruguay 3-1, now they’ve beaten Italy 1-0, guaranteeing that Costa Rica advances out of a tough group in which they were expected to be the punching bag. At this point, England is eliminated before their game against Costa Rica and Italy and Uruguay are in a do or die situation. A win or a tie sends Italy onwards…in second place (unless Italy slams in a bunch of goals). CONCACAF is looking mighty fine now, hopefully the USMNT can shock the world on Sunday.

  2. granadafan - Jun 20, 2014 at 2:25 PM

    Great job, Ticos. Way to represent CONCACAF.

  3. elgallo2001 - Jun 20, 2014 at 2:40 PM

    Proud of our CONCACAF! Everyone should put aside their feelings and support our North/Central American teams.
    Way to go Ticos!

  4. jucam1 - Jun 20, 2014 at 2:47 PM

    After watching this game, it only clarifies that it was only tgat stupid snow game that allowed the US to beat CR. CR is by far the class of Concacaf and are way better than Mexico and US. What a performance, great to see this tiny beautiful country beat these giants.

  5. dws110 - Jun 20, 2014 at 2:51 PM

    Costa Rica have been impeccable through two, with outstanding team cohesion and a palpable sense of purpose about them. They’ve been a joy to watch, and they thoroughly deserve to advance.

  6. papichulo55 - Jun 20, 2014 at 3:23 PM

    New viewer here. It looked like Costa Rica was quicker to defend the ball. They seemed to always be on top of the Italians, challenging the passer and target. Did I see it right?

    • unclemosesgreen - Jun 21, 2014 at 7:06 AM

      In the first half the Ticos were a little slow to close ground on the midfielders who were delivering service up front and they got bailed out by some poor offsides decisions.

      The high line that Costa Rica plays on defense demands high pressure on the service of the ball and in the second half the Ticos were magnifico when it came to pressuring the ball. They choked off the supply to the forwards and never let the Azzuri have the time and space that they needed to get the timing right on through passes.

      They were well worth all three points, and they answered back from getting denied a stone cold penalty in the best imaginable way – by immediately scoring a goal from the run of play.

  7. midtec2005 - Jun 20, 2014 at 10:17 PM

    The Ticos have always been a talented squad. One thing that may be helping them is the heat. To them this isn’t hot.

    • midtec2005 - Jun 20, 2014 at 10:20 PM

      And the fact is that Concacaf football is very physical and tenacious. Usually the missing ingredient is talent, but maybe not this time. Proud to have the Columbus Crew represented in the round of 16!

  8. atahualpaoxford - Jun 21, 2014 at 12:01 AM

    England…good bye and have a nice flight back home…….
    You have been exposed as being one of the biggest lies in the soccer world…along with Spain…
    The 2 most “important” leagues in the world, the Liga and the Premiership, are absolutely nothing without the foreign players…
    Thank you limeys for making my day…heck..week, month, year…hahahahhaha
    You’re nothing in the world of soccer…and you invented the game…
    The only time you won anything was back home when you hosted the world cup
    And that was 100% rigged…( if you don’t believe that, check who were the referees in the quarter final games).
    Go back to playing darts..or cricket…those are your…not so much…
    Now…go home and watch the rest of the Worl Cup on TV…like the rest of the world…
    Things will be a lot more interesting without you…
    Good riddance…

    • midtec2005 - Jun 21, 2014 at 12:06 AM

      Spoken like a true Irishman.

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