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Italy 0 Costa Rica 1: Ruiz scores to send England packing at group stage

Italy 0 Costa Rica 1: Ruiz scores to send England packing at group stage

Costa Rica secured a place in the last 16 of the FIFA World Cup and eliminated England after a surprise 1-0 win over Italy.

Few would have given Jose Luis Pinto’s side any hope of reaching the knockout stages prior to the start of the Brazil showpiece.

But, after stunning Uruguay 3-1 in their opening Group D encounter last Saturday, Costa Rica produced another fantastic performance to progress from the group phase of a World Cup for only the second time.

Friday’s game was settled in the 44th minute as midfielder Bryan Ruiz’s header ensured that England will be heading home early following a 2-1 loss to Uruguay on Thursday.

A below-par Italy now face the prospect of a mouth-watering showdown with Uruguay next Tuesday to determine who will be the other qualifier from Group D.

Costa Rica started brightly and came close after just six minutes when defender Celso Borges headed narrowly over the crossbar from a corner.

But, despite enjoying the better of the opening exchanges, Costa Rica were unable to really test Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, who was restored to the starting XI after missing the 2-1 win over England due to an ankle injury.

Italy, perhaps hindered by the humidity at the Arena Pernambuco in Recife, struggled to create any opportunities of real note.

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