Italy created the first chance of the Group D clash, and it fell to former Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli.
Clean through on goal, Balotelli attempted to chip the on-rushing goalkeeper, only to put the ball wide of the left-hand post.
Costa Rica were dominant in the first half and should have had a penalty on 43 minutes when Giorgio Chiellini brought down Arsenal striker Joel Campbell, but the referee controversially decided against awarding the spot-kick.
The Central Americans’ frustrations didn’t last long, however, as they scored just a minute later through Fulham’s attacking midfielder Bryan Ruiz, who headed a cross into the net via the underside of the bar.
Costa Rica may have spent a lot of energy in the first half, but a second-half onslaught never arrived from the Italians.
In fact, it was the team from the CONCACAF region who looked likelier to score again. Campbell had a good shot from the edge of the area that was blocked by Chiellini.
In the big scheme of things, it didn’t matter as they held on for a memorable 1-0 win to go through to the round of 16 of the 2014 World Cup finals, knocking out England in the process.