Costa Rica’s stunning World Cup run has continued, with Los Ticos beating Italy 1-0 in Recife to qualify for the round of 16 for the second time.
Many had seen Costa Rica’s 3-1 win over Uruguay as a flash in the pan, but the underdogs were the better side for much of the match, shutting down Italy’s star-studded attack.
Costa Rica could well have had a penalty in the first half when striker Joel Campbell was bundled over in the box by Giorgio Chiellini.
But the moment of the game came soon afterwards in the shadows of half-time as a brilliant Junior Diaz cross was headed home off the crossbar by Bryan Ruiz to give Los Ticos a 1-0 lead at the break.
Italy tried hard to bridge the gap in the second half, but Costa Rica’s defence held firm to seal all three points.
The win puts Costa Rica in six points, ahead of Italy and Uruguay on three, and England – now eliminated – on no points.
Costa Rica last qualified for the knockout stages in the team’s first World Cup appearance in 1990.
The final round of matches will see Italy take on Uruguay, where the winner will qualify for the next round, while Costa Rica will play England.
More to follow.