Brave Costa Rica held out with 10-men to reach their first ever World Cup quarter-finals after edging out Greece 5-3 on penalties following late drama in Recife.
Neither team was expected to reach the knockout stages of the tournament, and after this tepid first-half performance it was not difficult to understand why.
An uninspiring opening saw both keepers rendered virtually obsolete before Costa Rica’s Keylor Navas pulled off a superb save with his foot to deny Dimitris Salpingidis in what was the most exciting moment of a lacklustre first-half.
Fulham flop Bryan Ruiz opened the scoring after the interval with a mistimed shot that skewed into what appeared to be the opposite corner he was aiming for in what was Los Ticos’ first attempt on target.
However, Oscar Duarte was then sent off for a second bookable offence on 66minutes – leaving Costa Rica to hold out until extra-time before Sokratis Papastahopolous chose the ideal time to score his first goal for his country.
Despite playing at a disadvantage, Costa Rica had chances in extra-time before Mitroglu almost broke their hearts for a second time with a last minute winner before the referee blew for penalties.
Costa Rica reached their first ever World Cup quarter-finals after winning the shootout 5-3.