Few gave Costa Rica even a chance to advance out of Group D, a group that included former World Cup champions England, Italy, and Uruguay. But with a 0-0 draw against the English on Tuesday afternoon in Belo Horizonte, the Ticos earned themselves a first-place finish in the group, beating out Uruguay for the top spot.
VIC-TICO-RIOUS: Some considered Group D the actual “the Group of Death.” Costa Rica was facing arguably the best striker in the world in Luis Suarez, one of the greatest midfielders in the game in Andrea Pirlo, and an England team that faced lethal goalscorers like Daniel Sturridge and Wayne Rooney.
As it turns out, in the immortal words of Costa Rica midfielder Bryan Ruiz, “dead are the others,” not the Ticos.
POINT TAKEN: After getting edged out 2-1 in each of their first two games, England finally earned a point to make sure that, even though they finished last in the group, they wouldn’t go home empty-handed. It’s a small consolation for a country that invented the game of soccer and have one of the best domestic leagues in the world, but at least it’s something.
England's one point is its worst-ever performance at the #WorldCup.— Paul Carr (@PCarrESPN) June 24, 2014
AN MLSer’s DEBUT: Columbus Crew centerback Giancarlo Gonzalez has played every game for the Ticos in this World Cup, but with a spot in the Round of 16 already secured, manager Jorge Luis Pinto used Tuesday as an opportunity to give some bench players their World Cup debuts. Among them: New York Red Bulls leftback Roy Miller. Miller went the full 90 in the TK, which means Crew fullback Waylon Francis is the last MLSer on Costa Rica’s squad who has yet to feature.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Bryan Ruiz, Costa Rica – Between his passing and his ability to wriggle away from tackles, Ruiz looked invincible in midfield. Ironic that a Premier League mainstay like Ruiz would put on a masterclass against England.