World Cup - Costa Rica stun Italy to confirm England's exit

World Cup Finals Group D, Arena Pernambuco - Italy 0 Costa Rica 1 (Ruiz 44’)

World Cup - Costa Rica stun Italy to confirm England's exit

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Bryan Ruiz - Gigi Buffon - Italy vs Costa Rica - World Cup 2014 (AFP)

Costa Rica’s brilliant 1-0 win over Italy saw them qualify for the knockout stages and knock England out of the World Cup after just two games.

The first half started slowly and only came to life towards the end of the period. On the half hour mark, Mario Balotelli had two chances with passes over the top; on one he underhit an attempted lob, and for the second he shot straight at Keylor Navas in goal.

Costa Rica then came back into the match, when Christian Bolanos’ shot was tipped away by Gianluigi Buffon - who failed to convince with any high ball, and might be coming to the end of his career on this evidence - and were denied a clear penalty when Giorgio Chiellini barged over Joel Campbell. Protests would have been certain at half-time had Junior Diaz not sent in a cross to the back post for Bryan Ruiz, straining to reach it, to head just over the line off the bar.

In the second half, despite three substitutions before the 71st minute, Italy were oddly lethargic. Gone was the creativity of Andrea Pirlo and the presence of Balotelli, instead they played like they were devoid of ambition and imagination. It provokes the theory, perhaps Uruguay and Italy are no good - England just make it look like they are.

As a result, Italy are not yet assured of qualification and play Uruguay to decide who moves on, knowing a draw will be enough. Amazingly Costa Rica are through, and England are definitely out.

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31’ - BALOTELLI LOB - Running onto a ball over the top from Pirlo, Balotelli awkwardly brings the ball down and just underhits a lob over the ‘keeper.

33’ - BALOTELLI SHOT - Balotelli runs onto a header over the defence and strikes a fierce shot from the edge of the box at the goalkeeper.

36’ - BUFFON SAVE - Bolanos cuts in from the left wing and strikes firmly from distance, and Buffon does well to palm away.

43’ - PENALTY APPEAL - Joel Campbell jinks into the box and is bundled over by Chiellini, but inexplicably the referee gives nothing.

44’ - RUIZ GOAL - Diaz curls in a fantastic cross to the back post for Ruiz to head against the crossbar. It bounces over the line and out, but technology confirms the goal.

51’ - NAVAS SAVE - Matteo Darmian cuts onto his right foot and drills a great shot towards the top corner that Navas tips away with his fingers.

90+2’ - BRENES SHOT - From the left wing, Randall Brenes comes onto his right and curls a shot just wide of the top corner.

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Italy have conceded a goal in their last seven World Cup matches after keeping clean sheets in five of their preceding six games.

Italy have kept four clean sheets in their last 16 World Cup group stage matches.

This match contained 14 offsides, the most in a game in this tournament.

Italy contributed 11 of these, meaning they have been caught offside 18 times in this tournament, nine more than any other team.

Andrea Pirlo attempted 33 passes in the first half of this match. He attempted 70 before half-time against England.

European teams have only won one of their last five matches in this tournament.

Italy failed to score for the first time in 16 World Cup matches, ending the longest such run of a team taking part in World Cup 2014.

Costa Rica have won consecutive World Cup matches for the first time.

Costa Rica have scored in nine of their last 10 World Cup games.

Italy have failed to win their second match in any of the last four World Cup tournaments (D2 L2).



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Why were Italy so terrible? There was much written before the World Cup that this was one of the poorest Italy squads ever. After the match against England that looked like nonsense. Costa Rica have perhaps forced a reappraisal of Italy, and just how bad England are.


Joel Campbell (Costa Rica): Although Bryan Ruiz scored an excellent goal to win the game, Campbell could have won a penalty moments before and stretched the game with his pace, confidence and technique.

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Italy: Buffon 5, Abate 6, Barzagli 5, Darmian 6, Chiellini 5, De Rossi 5, Pirlo 3, Motta 4, Marchisio 6, Candreva 6, Balotelli 5. Subs: Insigne 4, Cassano 4, Cerci 6.

Costa Rica: Navas 6, Gonzalez 6, Umana 6, Borges 6, Duarte 6, Bolanos 6, Campbell 7, Ruiz 7, Diaz 7, Gamboa 6, Tejeda 6. Subs: Cubero 6, Urena 6, Brenes 6.


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