Costa Rica advanced to their first ever FIFA World Cup quarter-final after defeating Greece 5-3 on penalties in their Round of 16 clash in Recife on Sunday. Nothing separated the teams in the early minutes and no one looked like taking their chances. The Costa Ricans had a good early attempt through Christian Bolanos who found himself free in the area but couldn’t make anything out of a Bryan Ruiz cross only managing to send it over the bar.
Later in the half Dimitris Salpingidis was put through on goal by Jose Holebas and drilled his shot at Keylor Navas but the keeper made a superb save to keep the scores level at 0-0 heading into the half-time break. After the break Ruiz took advantage of the space in the penalty area and carved a pass across the face of the goals into the right hand corner to give his side the lead. Los Ticos however were reduced to 10 men when Oscar Duarte received a second yellow for a tackle on Holebas.
The Ethinki started to up the tempo going forward to take advantage of their extra man and got a breakthrough in the first minute of stoppage time as Sokratis Papastathopoulos latched onto a save from the keeper and put the rebound past him as the 90 minutes ended all square at 1-1 and extra time was needed. Neither side however was able to take the lead in the additional 30 minutes as it ended 1-1 and headed into a penalty shootout to decide who will advance to a quarter-final date against the Netherlands.
The sides were on par as each of their penalty takers were successful until Theofanis Gekas stepped up for the Greeks and Navas saved his penalty. Michael Umana then buried his spot kick to send his side into the quarter-finals for the first time in the country’s history, winning 5-3 on spot kicks.