Italy 0-1 Costa Rica: Ruiz officially knocks England out of the World Cup
Published by: talkSPORT World Cup 2014
Get the passports ready and start the plane engines, England are officially out of the World Cup.
Statistics were against England as no side had previously achieved the feat at a World Cup and Costa Rica’s shock win against Italy – arguably the biggest in Brazil so far – meant there would be no final day drama in Group D.
That the goal came from Fulham and Premier League outcast Bryan Ruiz against an abject Italian outfit – who had beaten England less than week ago – further rubbed salt into the wounds.
Surprisingly, it means the unfancied Costa Ricans – who beat Uruguay 3-1 in a shock victory in their opening game – have already reached the last 16 and just a point against Roy Hodgson’s men on Tuesday will secure them top spot.
Costa Rica started the game the brighter and carved out the first opportunity as Celso Borges narrowly headed over with Gianluigi Buffon well beaten.
Italy looked a shadow of the side that had beaten England with star man Andrea Pirlo afforded next to no time on the ball – something Roy Hodgson could take note of even if it is a bit too late.
Despite their flaws Cesare Prandelli’s side were always going to get a chance and it fell to England’s conqueror in the first match, Mario Balotelli.
However, the former Manchester City man fluffed his lines, taking the ball down well before lofting it over Keylor Navas and desperately wide of the far post.
The 22-year-old followed that up with a thumping strike that the Costa Rica goalkeeper saved well but from there the Central American side took control of the match.
Christian Bolanos, Ruiz and Oscar Duarte all went close before Joel Campbell was denied a certain penalty by referee Enrique Osses after being bundled over in the box.
Boss Jorge Luis Pinto went bonkers on the sideline but his anger was quelled just minutes later when Ruiz put the Costa Ricans in front on 44 minutes.
In scenes reminiscent of England’s awful defending for both Balotelli and Luis Suarez’s goals in their Italy and Uruguay defeats, Giorgio Chiellini allowed the Fulham striker to peel off his shoulder and plant a firm header in the back of the net via the bar.
Goal line technology confirmed the strike was good and it was richly deserved for the side ranked 28th in the world.
Following the break Costa Rica proceeded to expertly shut out the Italians while happily counter-attacking when they could.
The Azzurri offered nothing to suggest they would find a leveller as they totally ran out of ideas, setting up a straight shoot-out with Uruguay to decide who will join the Ticos in progressing from Group D on Tuesday.
For England it confirms a sorry exit which was always expected after the Uruguay defeat.