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  • Italy 0-1 Costa Rica, World Cup Group D

England out of World Cup as Costa Rica stun Italy

ESPN staff
June 20, 2014
Bryan Ruiz scored a minute before half-time © Getty Images
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England have been knocked out of the World Cup after Italy were beaten 1-0 by Costa Rica in Group D.

After England lost 2-1 to Uruguay on Thursday, Roy Hodgson's side required Italy to beat Costa Rica in order to keep their slim hopes of progressing to the last 16 alive.

However, England are heading home after being eliminated from the group stages for the first time since 1958 as Italy failed to get the victory against Costa Rica. A draw for either side would still have eliminated England as well.

Bryan Ruiz headed Costa Rica into the lead a minute before half-time after Junior Diaz picked out his captain with a fine cross from the left - with the goal sending Costa Rica into the knockout stages as they became the first side to reach the last 16.

Italy and Uruguay will battle it out for the other qualification spot, with Italy needing only a draw, but England will only be playing for pride in Belo Horizonte on Tuesday.

Celso Borges headed over from a corner early on, but it was Italy's Mario Balotelli who had the best of the chances in the first half-hour.

First, Andrea Pirlo's glorious ball over the top dropped perfectly for Balotelli, who controlled it with one touch and then lofted it over the on-rushing keeper Keylor Navas, but it bounced well wide and the former Manchester City striker held his head in his hands.

Two minutes later and Balotelli was in again, this time he went for power but too close to Navas, and the Costa Rica keeper was able to claim at the second attempt.

With half-time looming, Costa Rica were denied what appeared to be a blatant penalty.

Joel Campbell, the Arsenal striker on loan at Olympiakos, intercepted a pass, surged into the penalty box and looked to be knocked over from behind by Giorgio Chiellini but Chilean referee Enrique Osses waved play on.

Costa Rica did not let that put them off their stride however and Junior Diaz's exceptional cross from the left saw Ruiz, leaving his marker Chiellini in no man's land, thump a far-post header in off the crossbar. It bounced a foot over the line but goal-line technology ensured there was not another travesty of justice.

Italy upped their game after the break, realising defeat would leave them vulnerable against Uruguay, with Parma striker Antonio Cassano coming on for defensive midfielder Thiago Motta.

Balotelli claimed a penalty of his own under challenge from Oscar Duarte, but it was not nearly so clear-cut as Costa Rica's and the referee once again turned away.

Italy mounted a series of attacks but Navas was enjoying in the Costa Rica goal, first tipping over Matteo Darmian's angled drive, and then turning aside Pirlo's free kick after Cassano had hurled himself to the floor to earn it.

Costa Rica still looked dangerous on the break and Gianluigi Buffon had to be quick out of his goal to clear the danger with Campbell about to pounce.

Italy continued to hustle and bustle but Costa Rica kept the danger away from their goal, while at the other end Chiellini's block denied substitute Marcos Urena.

Randall Brenes was a yard away from scoring a sensational second in injury time but it mattered not - Costa Rica were through and England's fate was sealed.

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