Costa Rica win Group D after stalemate with England
Costa Rica finished atop the Group D standings on seven points, as they battled to a 0-0 draw versus England in Belo Horizonte on Tuesday.
England pushed hard throughout the game but the ‘B’ team Roy Hodgson put out failed to spark in the final third.
Daniel Sturridge had most of the chances but put a header over the bar and a shot wide in the second half as the Three Lions left the World Cup with one point and finished bottom of their group.
On the other side of the spectrum, Los Ticos are heading into the knockout stages and came closest to winning this one with Celso Borges’ free kick being tipped onto the crossbar in the first half.
It was a lackluster game in warm conditions, as both teams go their separate ways.
England’s much-changed side looked hungry and took the game to the Costa Ricans early on. After plenty of probing early on, Sturridge came close to giving the Three Lions their first lead of the World Cup. The Liverpool man picked up the ball on the edge of the box, swiveled and then curled a delicious shot just wide of the post as Costa Rica’s goalkeeper, Navas, was beaten.
On the 17th minute Sturridge looped a speculative effort from distance towards goal as the game failed to spark into life.
Costa Rica finally got going midway through the first half and England had second-choice ‘keeper Ben Foster to thank as he tipped Borges’ free kick onto the crossbar superbly. A real moment of controversy arrived just before the half hour mark when Sturridge was bundled to the ground six-yards out by Oscar Duerte just as he was about to finish. No penalty.
England continued to push as Phil Jones headed a corner back across the goal but Sturridge headed over the bar from close range. Ross Barkley made a marauding run but shot well wide, as the half time whistle blew and the game remained after the first 45 minutes.
The second half failed to get going as England continued to miss glorious chances. Sturridge played a delicious one-two with Jack Wilshere but the Liverpool man put his shot just wide with the outside of his right foot as England’s killer-touch in the box alluded them. England’s captain Steven Gerrard came on for the final 15 minutes, as he replaced Wilshere, with many believing this could be Gerrard’s last appearance as an international.
England failed to grab a late winner as they depart Brazil without a win, while Costa Rica fly the CONCACAF flag into the knockout stages.
Costa Rica: Navas, Gonzalez, Borges (Barrantes, 76'), Duarte, Campbell (Urena, 64'), Ruiz, Brenes (Bolanos, 58'), Diaz, Gamboa, Tejeda, Miller
England: Foster, Cahill, Wilshere (Gerrard, 73'), Lampard, Sturridge, Smalling, Jones, Milner (Rooney, 75'), Lallana (Sterling, 60'), Barkley, Shaw