Costa Rica makes it to last 8 for the first time

June 30, 2014 at 1:10 am
Posted under: 2014 FIFA World Cup, Costa Rica, Costa Rica News, Greece, Greece News, News

Costa Rica's players celebrate their goal against Greece during their 2014 World Cup round of 16 game at the Pernambuco arena in Recife June 29, 2014.     REUTERS/Tony Gentile
Costa Rica's players celebrate their goal against Greece during their 2014 World Cup round of 16 game at the Pernambuco arena in Recife June 29, 2014. REUTERS/Tony Gentile

Group D winners Costa Rica took on runners up from Group C, Greece at the Arena Pernambuco in Recife. The South Americans beat the Greeks by 5-3 in the second game of the knock-out stages to end in a shoot-out.

This was the first meeting between the two countries at international level. The match began on a slow tempo as both teams looked like they were succumbing to early knock-out stage nerves.

Neither defence was really tested until around the 15th minute when Costa Rican striker Joel Campbell missed a chance to tap-in from a cross from the left wing.

The match was still not going at an expected pace as players were committing silly fouls. Greece midfield maestro and Captain Georgios Karagounis fouled Campbell on the edge of the penalty box, which the South Americans didn’t capitalise on.

The half ended with the score changeless and the two teams went into the tunnel knocking a better showing was expected if they want to progress to the Quarter-finals, after a stale-like first half.

Indeed both teams played with more vigour and purpose from the first whistle in the second half. The Greeks were the first to attack with forward Georgios Samaras nearly finding an opener with a header in the 46th minute, but it went straight to the goalkeeper’s hands.

Costa Rica, in their first genuine attempt of the second half found the opening goal through Captain Bryan Ruiz after his lazy shot at goal beat the Greece goalkeeper to go in low in the right corner of the net.

The South Americans were playing with much confidence now after scoring and could’ve scored more goals had they been clinical with their chances. They were dealt a blow when defender Oscar Duarte received a second yellow card to be sent off in the 66th minute.

This spurred the Greeks as they wanted to make use of their one-man advantage over their opponents.

They attacked vehemently at the South Americans bringing out unorthodox saves from Costa Rican goalkeeper, Keylor Navas. His defence showed tenacity as the Greeks were attacking intensely looking at the time which was ticking quickly to the end the match.

Sokratis Papastathopoulos found the equalizer for Greece in the first minute of stoppage time to send the game into extra time.

The first half of the extra was filled with some action but it was the second half that had end-to-end action with both coming close to scoring before the penalties.

Greece was a different team to the one in regular time. They dominated the position and had more chances. Forward Konstantinos Mitroglou woefully missed a clear chance in front of goal few moments before the game went into the shoot-out.

The penalty shoot-out started off perfectly for both sides as they converted all their penalties but forward Theofanis Gekas’ penalty was saved by Costa Rican keeper Keylor Nava and  Michael Umaña scored Costa Rica’s fifth to send the South Americans into the Quarter-finals for the very first time.

Bonginkosi Tiwane

 

 


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