Costa Rica have qualified for the FIFA World Cup™ Second Round for the first time since 1990 thanks to a 1-0 victory over Italy at the Arena Pernambuca in Recife on Friday. An early attempt by Los Ticos to score a goal was saved by returning Azzurri keeper Gianluigi Buffon. The Costa Ricans headed to the goal post yet again and Yeltsin Tejeda’s shot was blocked.
A corner was awarded and Celso Borges missed the shot. Italy’s first attempt at goal was missed by Thiago Motta. Mario Balotelli also missed a right-footed shot to the left of the post.
Balotelli returned to the goal posts but his shot was saved moments later. Antonio Candreva headed to the post but his attempt was blocked. Christian Bolanos’ right-footed shot was saved as the Central Americans searched for a goal.
Bryan Ruiz was the hero-to-be but first his attempt was saved by Buffon. Costa Rica showed real drive as they continued to come forward in an exciting first half but Oscar Duarte’s header went too high. Finally the Costa Ricans got what they had been fighting for when Ruiz’s header found the back of the net after they were denied a penalty.
The first half ended with Costa Rica leading by a goal. The first 10 minutes of the second half started slowly. It picked up tempo when Giancarlo Gonzalez, who took a header from a difficult angle, missed. Matteo Darmian attempted to score a goal for Italy but his shot was saved.
Another attempt was saved when Andrea Pirlo took a shot as Cesare Prandelli’s men became more desperate. A substitute by Prandelli saw Lorenzo Insigne replacing Candreva. Balotelli was given a yellow card which further frustrated the four-times world champions.
Insigne’s missed attempt did not do any good for the Italians as time was not on their side. With a goaless second half Costa Rica qualified for the Second Round despite coming into the game as the underdogs. The result also ensures England’s elimination from Brazil 2014.