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Dublin: 16 °C Saturday 11 July, 2020

England's kiss of death from bungling Balotelli as Costa Rica rock Italy

Bryan Ruiz stole in at the back post to score the goal that sends his team into the second round.

Costa Rica's Bryan Ruiz heads the ball to score his side's first goal over Italy's goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon.
Costa Rica's Bryan Ruiz heads the ball to score his side's first goal over Italy's goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon.
Image: Petr David Josek

BRYAN RUIZ’ GOAL in the first-half against Italy sealed England’s elimination from the World Cup and saw Costa Rica progress to the last 16 with a fine 1-0 win over Italy in Recife.

Ruiz struck right at the end of the first-half only minutes after the Costa Ricans had a valid appeal for a penalty waved aside by the referee. Italy will rue the three missed chances that fell to Mario Balotelli, the best of which was a one-on-one with Keylor Navas in the Costa Rican goal. The Italian striker had tweeted, before the match, that he expected a kiss on the cheek from English monarch Queen Elizabeth if he helped his team beat Costa Rica.

Costa Rica’s victory saw them move onto six points and means that pointless England’s slim hopes of getting second spot are extinguished as Uruguay and Italy, both on three points, play each other in the final batch of group games.

Brazil Soccer WCup Italy Costa Rica Balotelli trudges back to the centre circle after Costa Rica's goal. Source: Frank Augstein

It will be the second time Costa Rica have reached the last 16, the previous occasion being in the 1990 finals.

Italy’s poor performance was encapsulated by the fact they had not gone goalless in a World Cup finals match since the 1998 edition in France.

Source: SmartTv SportsHD/YouTube

© AFP, 2014

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