England’s disastrous World Cup tournament drew to a dull conclusion with a 0-0 draw against Costa Rica in Belo Horizonte.
With qualification already out of the question and lying bottom of Group D, the Three Lions failed to capitalise on opportunities against their opponents, who advanced as group winners.
It is the first time in 56 years and only the second time in history they have failed to win a single game at a World Cup finals.
They failed to put on a last stand for thousands of travelling fans and any chances they mustered were duly wasteful, with Daniel Sturridge being a prime culprit. England manager Roy Hodgson and his backroom staff have plenty to ponder ahead of their Euro 2016 qualification campaign.
Hodgson rung nine changes as he handed game time to a rotated squad while Costa Rica made two changes from their surprise win over Italy, with neither Bryan Ruiz or Joel Campbell rested ahead of the knockout fixtures.
The game lacked intensity but a string of Sturridge chances lit up an otherwise dull first half. His curling left-foot shot went whiskers wide of goalkeeper Keylor Navas’ post in the 12th minute before an audacious 30-yard strike also drifted wide.
Despite a Celso Borges free-kick forcing a corner via Ben Foster’s athletic save and the crossbar, Costa Rica struggled to impose themselves on England and could have been one down in the 27th minute.
James Milner’s left-wing cross was headed into the path of the Sturridge, who set himself to shoot before Oscar Duarte impeded the striker from behind. Strong appeals for a spot kick were waved away by referee Djamel Haimoudi.
Another chance fell to him before half time, but the Liverpool striker couldn’t keep his header under the bar after a Phil Jones knockdown.
England retained their relative domination on proceedings after the break but again lacked a finishing touch.
Sturridge was again wasteful, unable to find a solid first touch from Luke Shaw’s deflected shot, before a golden opportunity following an intricate one-two with Raheem Sterling was slipped past the post from eight yards.
Substitute Wayne Rooney’s deft 30-yard chip was easily turned over the bar by Navas as the game petered out into a forgettable event.
Rooney’s despairing diving header two minutes from provided a fitting end to a poor match as the ball evaded him from fellow substitute Steven Gerrard’s free-kick.
Write for GiveMeSport! Sign-up to the GMS Writing Academy here: https://gms.to/1a2u3KU
DISCLAIMER: This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: https://www.givemesport.com/writeforgms