RECIFE: Costa Rica upset Italy 1-0 yesterday to seal England’s exit from the World Cup and reach the second round of the tournament for the first time since 1990.
Fulham striker Bryan Ruiz scored the Group D game’s decisive goal as Costa Rica clinched a famous win which left Italy’s World Cup hopes finely balanced.
England, who suffered their second defeat of the tournament with a 2-1 defeat against Uruguay on Thursday, needed Italy to beat the Costa Ricans to retain faint hopes of qualification.
But a lacklustre Azzurri struggled to impose themselves in the afternoon heat of Recife’s Pernambuco Arena. Costa Rica followed up their 3-1 win over Uruguay with a deserved three points.
Ruiz rose to head a cross from Junior Diaz in off the crossbar. The goal came just moments after Costa Rica had been denied a clear penalty by referee Enrique Osses when Joel Campbell was bundled over by Giorgio Chiellini.
Costa Rica’s victory means they need only draw against England in their final first round match next Tuesday to top the group.
Italy face a nervous final match against Uruguay. A draw will be enough for the Italians but a Uruguay win would see them knocked out.
Italy manager Cesare Prandelli had limited sympathy for England.
“I’m really sorry for them, but also for us!” said Prandelli.
“Because we also wanted to win. I don’t have any messages for England. We have our own issues to solve.”
England’s exit is their earliest since 1958. However, the English Football Association swiftly backed under-fire coach Roy Hodgson yesterday, saying he would remain in the job until 2016. “We are supportive of Roy Hodgson and would like him to stay as manager,” FA chairman Greg Dyke said in comments reported by the British media.
“We do not see any value in changing. We think Roy has done a good job and it is an approach over four years and we hope to do better in the European Championships.”
Former England defender Rio Ferdinand felt “naïve” England could have no complaints about their embarrassing exit.
“You have to earn the right to stay in a tournament. Unfortunately for us, we have not done that,” Ferdinand said.
“Maybe we were a bit naive in situations, in the Uruguay game when we got back into it at 1-1.
“We had a chance to get a point and dust ourselves down, to say ‘right, we are ready for the last game when everything is going to be on it,’ but we did not give ourselves the opportunity. It was there for us and we just could not see it through.” AFP