Jun 26, 2014

    Costa Rica cruise into second round


    UNBEATEN Costa Rica proudly marched into the second round of the World Cup, topping Group D containing three former winners after a 0-0 draw with already-eliminated England on Tuesday.

    The "Ticos", assured of progress before kick-off after beating Italy and Uruguay in a spectacular start to their tournament, comfortably held their own against England, who endured their worst World Cup showing in 56 years.

    Roy Hodgson's side failed to end the tournament on a high, despite nine changes from the team beaten by Uruguay, in a game that was short on goalmouth action or any tension.

    England bowed out at the group stage for the first time since the 1958 World Cup, finishing at the bottom on one point.

    The confident Central Americans showed their attacking credentials from the start, with forward Joel Campbell seeing his deflected shot sail narrowly wide.

    England struggled to find their footing with the Costa Ricans a step quicker to the ball, but Jack Wilshere showed some urgency when he burst through the defence to set up Daniel Sturridge, but Sturridge fired wide.

    Their opponents responded with a close call of their own when Celso Borges' curling freekick was tipped on to the crossbar by keeper Ben Foster.

    England briefly improved in the second half with some better passing moves and Sturridge again went close with a low drive.

    Wayne Rooney, a late substitute, tested keeper Keylor Navas with an 18m chip, but the 1966 World Cup winners' last stand in Brazil did little to lift their spirits after yet another disappointing performance.

    "It wasn't vintage, but we had enough chances to win the game," said Frank Lampard who captained England in what could be his last international. "Look at the fans up there, they're singing even though we got knocked out. It's a shame we couldn't do enough to take them through and given them a longer trip."