Italy 0-1 Costa Rica: Fulham attacker knocks out England

Bryan Ruiz

A match that England were relying on Italy to win and keep alive their faint hopes of qualification ended in victory for Costa Rica, thanks to a Bryan Ruiz goal.

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.

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