Live Commentary: Italy 0-1 Costa Rica - as it happened
Relive Costa Rica's 1-0 win over Italy in Recife as the Central Americans booked their place in the last 16 of the World Cup, eliminating England in the process.
By Barney Corkhill, Assistant Editor Filed: Friday, June 20, 2014 at 16:00 UK
Last Updated: Saturday, June 21, 2014 at 13:08 UK
Costa Rica provided another huge World Cup shock to secure their place in the last 16 of the tournament this afternoon, beating Italy 1-0 in Recife.
The only goal of the game came on the stroke of half time as Bryan Ruiz nodded an effort in off the bar at the back post.
The Central Americans then defended stoutly to retain their lead and become the first side from Group D to book their place in the knockout rounds.
You can read how it all unfolded courtesy of Sports Mole's live coverage below.
4pmGood afternoon! Thank you for joining Sports Mole as the World Cup action keeps rolling with a crucial Group D clash between Italy and Costa Rica in Recife. Both sides made winning starts to their respective campaigns and, while Uruguay's win over England yesterday means that neither team can mathematically clinch their place in the last 16 today, a second victory would put them very much on the brink. The teams are already out, so let's have a look at who will be on show today...
4.02pmTEAM NEWS: The big news for Italy is that captain Gianluigi Buffon returns to the side having missed the England game with an ankle injury. He is one of three changes for the Azzurri as Motta and Abate also come into the starting lineup from that England win. Costa Rica, meanwhile, have unsurprisingly stuck with the same side that shocked Uruguay. Full team news for both sides coming right up...
4.06pmSo, what can we make of those two lineups? Well, the Italians will be delighted to have Buffon back tonight after initial fears that he could be ruled out for the entire tournament with his ankle injury. Sirigu played well in his absence against England, but with 140 caps to his name there are very few players who would be able to step into the shoes of the skipper. This is his fourth World Cup, and he will look to use that experience today.
4.08pmThere has been a change in the men in front of the keeper as well, with Abate being brought into the side. The full-back's presence will allow Chiellini to operate in his favoured central position in the backline, with Paletta the man to make way after a shaky display against England. The other change sees Thiago Motta come in for Verratti as the PSG man has been suffering with flu in the last few days.
4.10pmThe dangerman will, of course, be Mario Balotelli today. The AC Milan striker headed in the winner against England on Saturday and almost got another with a fine lob that has cleared off the line. He showed his clinical nature having been kept out of the match for large periods, and his ability to take a chance could be crucial if Italy are to go far in this competition. Balotelli is a mercurial character, but if he is firing on all cylinders then Costa Rica will find him tough to deal with.
4.12pmThere is quality throughout the Italy side, none more so than in midfield with the Rolls Royce that is Andrea Pirlo. He once again put in a fine performance against England and, if he is allowed to run the show tonight, it would be a surprise if Italy didn't emerge as comfortable victors. Arguably the best player on the park during the win over England was Candreva, and he will once again be looking to link up with Darmian on the right flank to cause Costa Rica problems.
4.14pmCosta Rica have already come up against and beaten quality opposition at this World Cup, however, and it is no surprise to see Jorge Luis Pinto opt for the same XI tonight that beat Uruguay on Saturday. Their defence looked shaky at times in that match, but it is fair to say that they grew into the game. If they can keep Balotelli quiet today then they stand a good chance of springing another upset.
4.16pmThe main threat for the Central Americans will come from Joel Campbell, who will once again operate as a lone striker in a 5-4-1 formation. His pace and trickery caused Uruguay's defence plenty of problems, and he will have taken note of how Italy struggled to deal with the pacey England players at times during their opening group game. The Arsenal man has been something of a breakout star in this World Cup already, and he will be full of confidence heading into this game.
4.18pmArguably their best player is goalkeeper Keylor Navas, who enjoyed a fine domestic season in Spain. He could well be kept busy this afternoon, but if he is on form then Italy will struggle to find a way past him. The keeper is agile and athletic, so it usually takes something special to beat him when on top form. Elsewhere, Bryan Ruiz is a key man for Costa Rica, and he will provide the main support for lone striker Campbell.
4.20pmNeither side can progress today, but a second win would surely be enough for Italy to send them through to the next round. They were by no means perfect against England last Saturday, but they were clinical and showed the sort of nous that has served them so well at major tournaments over the years. Should Italy get out of the group, as they are expected to do so, it would be a bold move to bet against the four-time World Cup champions to go a long way.
4.22pmDespite making an impressive start with the victory over England, Italy's build-up to the World Cup was highly disappointing. The Azzurri drew both of their warm-up matches, against Republic of Ireland and minnows Luxembourg, to stretch their winless streak in international matches to seven games. They did beat Brazilian club side Fluminense in their final outing before the tournament, but their recent record on the international stage would have been a worry for Cesare Prandelli. However, another way of looking at their run following the victory over England is that they have lost just one of their last 11 games since a 2-1 defeat to Argentina in August.
4.24pmThey qualified for Brazil fairly comfortably, although their record wasn't exactly the most convincing. They finished top of Group B, six points clear of Denmark, and went through the campaign unbeaten. However, four of their matches did end all square, including dropped points against Armenia. They also had the worst goal difference of any of the group winners in European qualifying, while only Germany conceded more goals out of the group winners.
4.26pmThey have recent history in Brazil too having participated in the Confederations Cup last year. They finished third in that tournament, beating Uruguay on penalties in the third-placed playoff having been eliminated by Spain in the semi-finals - also via a shootout. They know all about playing in the heat of Brazil, then, and the conditions in Recife today are likely to be testing again.
4.28pmCesare Prandelli's side went one better in Euro 2012, reaching the final only to be swept aside by a rampant Spain side. They will still want to exorcise the demons of their last World Cup campaign, however, having put in a poor defence of their 2006 crown by going out in the group stages without winning a match. They have already posted a better record than that this time around, and hopes are high that they can do themselves justice this summer in Brazil.
4.30pmNot many teams have a better World Cup pedigree than the Italians, who have won the tournament four times. Only Brazil had held the trophy aloft more often, and the Brazilians are also the only side that have appeared at the finals more often than Italy's 18 showings. They have never lost to a CONCACAF nation in the World Cup, although their six meetings are split evenly between wins and draws.
4.32pmItaly have scored at least once in each of their last 15 World Cup matches, a run that stretches back to their defeat against eventual winners France in 1998. That is the longest current scoring streak at the finals, and the longest in Italy's history. However, they have not won their opening two group games at a World Cup since 1990, when they hosted the tournament. They have failed to win their second group game in each of the last three World Cups too, drawing twice and losing once.
4.34pmOne thing the Italians did very well against England was to keep the ball. Their passing accuracy of 93.2% was the highest ever recorded in a World Cup match since such records began in 1966. If they can control the ball to that extent again, Costa Rica will soon get tired in what are sweltering conditions today. Italy know all about how hot things can get in Recife having laboured to a 4-3 victory over Japan here in the Confederations Cup last year. That match kicked off eight hours later than today's, so the heat will be an even bigger issue.
4.36pmCosta Rica have shown signs of being able to compete until the end when it comes to stamina, however. They should be more accustomed to the conditions than their European counterparts, but they can't afford to be too wasteful in possession if they are to stand a chance today. They are likely to allow Italy a lot of the ball before looking to hit them on the break when they do win it back.
4.38pmStamina could well play a big part for a side that tends to flourish in the latter stages of World Cup matches. No fewer than 12 of their 15 World Cup goals have been scored in the second half, including all three against Uruguay last time out. Another flurry like that could see them take one step closer to qualifying for the knockout stages for the first time since Italia 90.
4.40pmIt would certainly be a major surprise if Costa Rica were to emerge of this group. They become the first team in World Cup history to have been drawn alongside three former winners of the tournament in the group stage, and today could follow in the footsteps of Brazil and Argentina in being the only non-European nations to have beaten two former champions in one World Cup campaign. If they do that, or even if they manage a draw, England will be out.
4.42pmThe Central Americans qualified for Brazil comfortably, finishing second in the final CONCACAF stage, four points behind USA. They boasted the best defensive record in qualifying having conceded just seven goals in their 10 outings, and the backline is very much the foundation of this Costa Rican side. They look to remain solid in defence before hitting the opposition with pace on the counter.
4.44pmTheir warm-up matches weren't too encouraging as they drew with Ireland and lost 3-1 at the hands of Japan, making the victory over Uruguay even more surprising. That was only Costa Rica's second win in their last seven outings, and it is fair to say that they have been quite inconsistent over that period.
4.46pmCosta Rica are looking top create a small slice of history today having never won back-to-back matches at the World Cup. Indeed, only Mexico and USA from the CONCACAF region have achieved that feat, so Costa Rica could join those regional powerhouses tonight.
4.48pmSome promise for Costa Rica can be found in the fact that they have scored in every single one of their six World Cup meetings with European opposition in the past. Goals don't always mean victories, however, and picking up three points is something Costa Rica have traditionally found difficult in the tournament. Their victory over Uruguay was their first in the World Cup since beating China in 2002.
4.50pmPREDICTION: Right, we're 10 minutes from kickoff in Recife, so it's about time I made a prediction for today's game. Costa Rica certainly showed that they will not be pushovers with the win over Uruguay, while their pace could well cause Italy problems at the back, but I can't see past an Italian victory tonight. They should simply have too much quality for the Central Americans, and I am going to plump for a 2-0 win for Cesare Prandelli's side.
4.52pmThese two sides have only ever met once before, and that was 20 years ago in 1994. Italy emerged victorious on that occasion, edging to a 1-0 victory in the friendly courtesy of a Giuseppe Signori strike.
4.54pmA reminder that events here could have implications for England, who would be eliminated from the World Cup if Costa Rica avoid defeat. Following their loss to Uruguay last night, the Three Lions need Italy to do them a huge favour and win their remaining two matches. England would then need to beat Costa Rica to send the three-way race for second place down to goal difference.
4.56pmItaly manager Cesare Prandelli was unhappy with the lack of cooling-off breaks during the match against England in Manaus, and he could well get his wish this afternoon. The conditions will be testing for both teams, and the referee could well allow a short break mid-game for the players to take on fluids.
4.58pmRight, the national anthems have been sung, flags exchanged and all other pre-match niceties attended to. We're just about ready to go in Recife for a match that could be pivotal as to who progresses and who is eliminated from Group D.
1 minKICKOFF: Italy get us underway in Recife with a swelled support that includes all England fans willing them on to victory. Can they make it six points from a possible six or will Costa Rica spring another shock?
2 minLovely football from Costa Rica in the middle of the park as they play some nice one-touch passes to set Bolanos running into space. The midfielder opts to shoot from a long way out, but his tame effort is easy for Buffon.
4 minSuperb challenge from Gonzalez as he slides in to win the ball off Balotelli. He had to make the tackle after Diaz had carelessly given the ball away, and he did so expertly.
6 minA good spell of possession for Costa Rica is ended with a careless pass, and Duarte hauls Marchisio down as the Italian was threatening to race away. It should be a yellow card, but the referee lets the defender off.
7 minCHANCE! Big chance for Costa Rica to take the lead! A superb corner is swung into the middle and Buffon is nowhere near it as Borges rises highest to nod over the empty net. He probably should have scored there!
9 minThis has been a very bright start from Costa Rica, who have been the better side in the opening 10 minutes or so. They have kept the ball well and Italy are yet to settle and control the tempo of the match as we expected them to do.
11 minPoor from Italy again as Candreva looks to slide the ball through for Abate, only to put far too much on his pass. They just haven't got into this game yet, with Pirlo and De Rossi yet to really get on the ball as often as they would have liked.
13 minCosta Rica are pressing high up the pitch at the moment, not letting Italy much time on the ball. It is a ploy that has worked so far, but in this heat they will do well to keep up such a workrate for the whole match. Italy haven't helped themselves by being sloppy either.
15 minThe game hasn't got going so far as both teams look to control proceedings. Italy are seeing more of the ball now, but their passing has not been anywhere near as good as it was against England.
17 minAnother superb delivery from a corner for Costa Rica, but this time Buffon does a better job in dealing with it. He wasn't completely convincing, but he still managed to get two hands to the ball to push it out.
19 minThis really has been a bright start from Costa Rica. They are looking more dangerous than Italy going forward and, of the two teams, it is the Central Americans that look more like breaking the deadlock. Italy, meanwhile, have not been themselves so far.
20 minPainful one for Chiellini as he gets a powerful cross straight to the face. He did his job as a defender there, but he took that flush on the head from close range. He'll be fine, but that one must have hurt!
22 minFor a team that set a new World Cup record for passing accuracy in their last outing, Italy have been incredibly sloppy so far. Too many passes have gone astray, and that is preventing them from building any really threatening attacks.
24 minCosta Rica are packing out the middle of the park at the moment, giving Pirlo very little room to operate. Italy patiently knock the ball about at the back before finally injecting a bit of pace into the attack through a Balotelli run. However, Gonzalez does really well to dispossess the striker before winning a free kick.
26 minWell, this has certainly not been the best 25 minutes of action we have seen at this World Cup so far. There is a lack of tempo to the match and we are yet to see a really good chance for either side.
27 minSHOT! Pirlo finally gets a chance to pull the strings, lifting a long ball over the top for Balotelli to knock down to Motta. The Brazilian-born midfielder attempts a first-time effort, but he doesn't catch it right and scuffs his shot well wide.
29 minGood spell of possession for Costa Rica as they patiently look for a hole in the Italian defence. Campbell thinks about having a dig from range, but instead tries to thread a pass through to Ruiz that is cut out and cleared.
31 minCHANCE! The biggest chance of the match so far falls the way of Balotelli, but he can't make the most of it. He is released by a magnificent pass from Pirlo, who swings the ball behind the defence for the striker to run on to. His first touch isn't perfect, while his second sees him attempt to lift the ball over the keeper, only to put it wide.
33 minSAVE! Again Italy threaten as Pirlo lifts the ball to Motta, who flicks it on for Balotelli to run on to. He hits it first time, but his effort from the edge of the box is straight at the keeper, who recovers in time to get to the ball before Marchisio on the rebound.
35 minThis has been better from Italy in the last five minutes or so, with Pirlo starting to take control of the match. He is beginning to spray his trademark passes around the pitch, with Balotelli usually the man on the end of them.
36 minSAVE! Decent stop from Buffon as Bolanos is allowed space to shoot from outside the box. He catches his effort well and fires it towards the bottom corner, but Buffon gets down well to push it to safety.
38 minCosta Rica have responded well in the last couple of minutes. Italy were just starting to take control of the game, but the Central Americans have played some nice football in the Italian half in the last few moments.
39 minMore promising play from Costa Rica as Ruiz comes forward with the ball, beating De Rossi far too easily before letting fly from range. It is a poor strike, however, as it trickles into the arms of Buffon.
41 minGood defending from Chiellini as he stretches in to concede a corner with Campbell lurking dangerously in the box. It was a good delivery towards the Arsenal striker, but Chiellini held firm. Buffon punches the resulting corner clear.
42 minCLOSE! Almost the opening goal as Ruiz lifts the ball into the Italian box, allowing Duarte to flick a header towards the far corner. Buffon is stranded and can only watch the ball sail over him, but it doesn't dip in time and goes over the bar.
43 minPENALTY SHOUT! Huge penalty shout for Costa Rica as Campbell picks up the ball in space inside the Italian half. He only has one defender to beat but, while cutting inside in the area, he is brought down by a backtracking Chiellini. It looks like a stone-waller, but the referee says no.
45 minIncredible! Costa Rica take the lead right on the stroke of half time through a Bryan Ruiz header, but it is all about the cross from Diaz. He sends a superb delivery towards the back post that Ruiz nods in off the crossbar. It bounced down over the line and out, and the referee's goal-line technology confirms that it was over the line. Could then be on course for another shock result here?
45+1 minThere will be two minutes of added time at the end of this first half.
5.54pmWell, well, well what a half for Costa Rica! They go into the break leading Italy by one goal after another impressive display. Who had them to amass six points from their opening two games? As things stand, that is what happening and they will have one foot in the last 16. If things stay the same, England will also be out of the World Cup. They need Italy to score twice without reply to change that.
5.56pmThe goal came right on the stroke of half time as Ruiz nodded in off the bar at the back post having been found by a superb cross from Diaz. Buffon was left in no man's land by the quality of the delivery, and Ruiz added the finish, with the ball bouncing down and over the line and out. It was nothing more than Costa Rica deserve after a good display that has seen them largely nullify the threat of Italy.
5.58pmItaly's main threat has come from Balotelli, who has found himself through on goal a couple of times. He showed his killer instinct against England last weekend, but that has been lacking so far today. The Italian's best chance came from a superb pass from Pirlo to send the striker clean through, but he lifted his effort over the keeper and wide. He has also seen another strike saved by Navas, although the effort was straight at him.
6pmOne thing Costa Rica have done very well is keep Pirlo quiet. The maestro has managed to get space on a couple of occasions, leading to Balotelli's chances, but overall he has been hounded by a disciplined Costa Rican side. In the first half against England, Pirlo had 70 touches, but he has only had 33 so far in this match. It has been a good defensive display from Costa Rica, who have pressed high up the pitch.
6.02pmThings could have been even worse for Italy too, with Costa Rica being denied a clear penalty just before they took the lead. It was a howler from the referee as it was a fairly clear foul on Campbell by Chiellini, but somehow Enrique Osses waved it away.
6.04pmCosta Rica are playing with a very high line in this match, which is a risky spell with Balotelli lurking on the last shoulder. He has got through on a couple of occasions, but Costa Rica are fortunate that he has been fairly wasteful so far.
6.06pmITALY SUB: Cesare Prandelli has made a change at the break, with Antonio Cassano coming on in place of Thiago Motta. It is an attacking move from Italy, who will likely now move Marchisio back into the centre of midfield.
46 minKICKOFF: We're back underway in Recife as Costa Rica begin the second half. Can they hold out for another shock victory to eliminate England and put themselves within touching distance of the last 16?
47 minA hint of a penalty shout for Italy was Balotelli just gets to the ball before Duarte before going down under the defender's challenge. It is a close one, but this time the referee has made the correct decision in not pointing to the spot.
49 minGood play from Costa Rica again as they pour forward on the break. Diaz goes sprinting down the line but he has no-one in the box to aim for, allowing Abate to recover and concede a corner.
50 minBuffon has looked shaky under the high ball all day today, and once again he seems to be in two minds whether to stay or go from a corner here. In the end, the ball flies over the keeper and to Gonzalez at the back post, but the defender can't squeeze his header on target from a tight angle.
51 minSAVE! Cracking stop from Navas to deny Darmian, who had cut inside and fired a superb effort towards the top corner. It was a very sweet strike from the full-back, but Navas got his fingertips to it to push it over the bar.
53 minSAVE! Navas is called into action again as Pirlo tests the keeper with a 30-yard free kick. He got it up and over the wall really well, but it is a fairly comfortable one for the keeper in the end. Decent stop from a good effort.
54 minAt the other end Costa Rica come forward and Borges tests Buffon with a long-range effort of his own. The ball bounced up higher than expected, making it tougher for Buffon, but it was still a fairly routine stop for the veteran keeper.
56 minBalotelli is looking to play off the last shoulder in this match, but he has mistimed his runs on a number of occasions. The linesmen have been very busy raising their flags to deny the Italian striker on a number of occasions.
57 minITALY SUB: A second change for the Italians as Candreva, who was so impressive against England, is replaced by Lorenzo Insigne.
59 minAlert play from Buffon as he comes a long way off his line to cut out a fine Ruiz pass towards Bolanos. That was almost a very good chance for the Central Americans but for some good goalkeeping, although Bolanos did appear to be offside.
61 minOne hour gone and Costa Rica are still leading by one goal. What a dream World Cup this is turning out to be for the Central Americans, who would be all but through to the last 16 if they can hold out. As things stand, England are also half an hour away from a World Cup exit.
63 minGood challenge from Duarte as he slides in to block a Cassano effort, taking the venom off the shot and making it easy for Navas to make the save. Cassano has made a difference, but the Costa Rican defence is still holding firm at the moment.
65 minCosta Rica are getting the 'Ole!' treatment now as they knock the ball about nicely. It has been an assured display from Jorge Luis Pinto's side, who have seen more of the ball than we were expecting and have used it well.
67 minCOSTA RICA SUB: Straight swap in midfield for Costa Rica as Jose Cubero replaces Tejeda, who has played his part in keeping Pirlo relatively quiet today.
69 minYELLOW CARD! The first card of the day is shown to Balotelli, who pulled his marker over off the ball. The striker looks like he is becoming increasingly frustrated here.
70 minITALY SUB: The third and final change of the game for Italy sees Alessio Cerci come on in place of Marchisio.
71 minYELLOW CARD! Cubero gets a yellow card just moments after coming on for preventing Italy from taking an early free kick.
73 minAside from being bad news for England, this result would make things very interesting going into the final Italy match on Tuesday. As things stand, they will face a winner-takes-all clash against Uruguay.
74 minCOSTA RICA SUB: Another change for Costa Rica as Campbell makes way to be replaced by Marcos Urena.
76 minStill the Costa Rican defence holds firm. The pressure is starting to build from Italy now, but their attacks are laboured and predictable. They need a moment of magic to unlock this defence now, and the likes of Pirlo and Balotelli are capable of providing it.
78 minIs Italy's long run of scoring in World Cup matches about to come to an end? They haven't failed to find the back of the net in a match at this tournament since 1998, but as things stand there isn't much sign of them making a breakthrough here.
80 minJust 10 minutes remain for Italy to get back into this match. Costa Rica are that close to what would arguably be the greatest win in their history. Incredible.
81 minCOSTA RICA SUB: Another change for Costa Rica as Bryan Ruiz, goalscorer and captain, makes way to be replaced by Randall Brenes.
82 minPoor effort from Insigne as Cerci picks out his teammate with a chipped pass forward. Insigne takes the ball down on his chest but they gets right under the volley, spooning it a long way over the bar. Navas has had a much quieter day than he would have been expecting.
84 minHalf a chance for Costa Rica as the ball breaks for Urena, who finds himself with only Chiellini blocking his route to goal. The Italy defender hasn't had his best game today, but he did well there to hold the striker up and make the block.
86 minItaly simply need to start taking more chances here. They are lacking urgency despite being just four minutes away from defeat in the World Cup. They still aren't committing everyone forward either, and every time they do go on the attack they seem to be caught offside. Very disappointing from the Azzurri.
88 minThis really would be an incredible result for Costa Rica if they can hold out, and they will be worthy winners too. Italy have struggled to get into any sort of rhythm and, particularly in the second half, they have barely threatened the Costa Rican goal at all.
90 minCerci whips a good corner into the box and the ball falls to Cassano, but under heavy pressure he can only get a toe to the ball to send it wide. Good defending again from Costa Rica.
90+1 minThere will be a minimum of four minutes added time at the end of this match. Will we see any late drama?
90+2 minCLOSE! Almost a perfect ending to the match for Costa Rica as Brenes curls an effort towards the far corner, but it flies narrowly past the post with Buffon worried.
90+4 minENGLAND ARE OUT OF THE WORLD CUP! COSTA RICA ARE THROUGH TO THE LAST 16!
6.58pmIncredible scenes in Recife as Costa Rica hold out for a famous 1-0 victory over Italy to book their place in the last 16 and eliminate England from the competition. No-one expected Costa Rica to be the first team to progress from that tough group, but they have done exactly that with a classic World Cup upset. It was Ruiz who got the only goal of the game to give the Central Americans all three points.
7pmRight, that is all we have time for this evening! Thank you very much for joining Sports Mole for a historic match as Costa Rica reach the last 16 for only the second time ever with a 1-0 victory over the mighty Italy. The result means that England are out of the World Cup, and I will leave you with our match report. Be sure to stick around for reaction and analysis, while we will also have player ratings for you on the site shortly. From me, though, it is goodbye for now!