Football

Costa Rica stun Italy to knock England out

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England have been eliminated in the group stages of the World Cup after just two games for the first time since 1958. 

A defiant Costa Rica side held on to beat a flat and predictable Italian team 1-0 in the Arena Pernambuco in Recife, a win which sees Roy Hodgson's England make an early exit from the tournament. The win means Costa Rica sit proudly at the top of group D, something very few would have predicted at he start of the tournament. 

Italy were stifled as their magician in midfield, Andrea Pirlo, was snubbed out by a tactically superb Costa Rica side who would not let the veteran show his brilliance. Chances were scarce for the Azzurri, but, AC Milan's mercurial striker Mario Balotelli did have a chance to put his side one up in the 32nd minute, only for a poor first touch to take him wider than he wanted and the ball trickled wide. 

It was the South Americans who then started to take control with Arsenal's exciting young talent Joel Campbell breaking into space and eventually being brought down by a labouring Chiellini for what looked like a stone wall penalty, not given.

Seconds later on the stroke of half time the superb Junior Diaz launched a ball to the far post, a ball which Fulham's Bryan Ruiz headed in off the underside of the bar past the vastly experienced Gianluigi Buffon. 

Nothing much changed for the Italians in the second half, despite the introduction of Antonio Cassano lifting them ever so slightly, Costa Rica remained defiant and Italy remained flat and average. This defeat, however, does not eliminate Italy who still have Uruguay to play in what promises to be a superb attacking display on Tuesday in Brazil's Northeastern city of Natal, a game which will likely decide who takes the second spot in group D.

The tournament however is over for England after slumping to two defeats in group D despite bags of promise pre-tournament and flashes of brilliance from the young squad against Uruguay and Italy. Greg Dyke, the FA chairman also insists Roy Hodgson's job is safe as he feel's Hodgson is the right man to lead the Three Lions to success in Euro 2016 in France. 

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Topics:
World Cup
Italy Football
Football
England Football

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