Costa Rica draw to top group
Costa Rica (AFP)
Belo Horizonte - Costa Rica drew 0-0 with England to top World Cup Group D unbeaten and leave their opponents winless and bottom of the table on Tuesday in Belo Horizonte.
As it happened: Costa Rica v England
Costa Rica, who previously made the last 16 on one other occasion in
1990, defied the tag of minnows and outsiders in the group to beat both
Uruguay and Italy.
Uruguay seized second spot with a 1-0 win against 10-man Italy in Natal.
years on from their humiliating 1-0 loss to the United States in the
city, a youthful and much-changed England side were unable to restore
pride after their earliest World Cup exit since 1958.
Hodgson made nine changes to his starting XI, notably handing first
competitive starts to 18-year-old Luke Shaw and 20-year-old Ross
Barkley, but his side laboured in the Estadio Mineirao sunshine.
Hodgson, however, struck an upbeat note, saying: "Apart from the first 10 to 12 minutes, we dominated totally.
"We didn't take our goal chances.
"If we did, we would have comfortably won. We created the chances and that's important.
thought we were really unlucky not to win this game.
"I thought the
whole back four was absolutely excellent. We restricted the team to
almost no chances. In midfield we dominated and outplayed them."
emphasising the mood of change for England, Frank Lampard captained the
team and Steven Gerrard came on for what are likely to have been their
final international appearances.
But the day belonged to Costa Rica.
Luis Pinto's side had already qualified thanks to their shock wins over
Uruguay and Italy and can now look forward to a likely last-16
encounter with the Ivory Coast, whose group concludes later on Tuesday.With
Prince Harry, fourth in line to the British throne, watching from the
stands, England's would-be footballing heirs looked to make an
aggressive start, but it was Costa Rica who threatened first.
forward Joel Campbell's 20-yard dig took a deflection off Gary Cahill
that sent it fractionally wide of the right-hand post, but no corner was
Some of the Costa Ricans' interchanges conveyed the
exuberance of a team riding the crest of a wave, but England began to
make inroads, with Daniel Sturridge curling narrowly wide and thrashing a
Celso Borges then came within inches of
putting Costa Rica ahead, only for England goalkeeper Ben Foster --
making a first competitive start since 2009 -- to brilliantly touch his
25-yard free-kick onto the bar.
England finished the first half
brightly, Sturridge heading over and Barkley blasting wide, but there
was little tempo to the game.
The torpor persisting in the second
period and England's technical deficiencies continuing to dog them, with
Sturridge's poor first touch after a Shaw shot had ricocheted into his
path allowing Costa Rica goalkeeper Keylor Navas to make a brave save.
England belatedly produced a moment of quality, Sturridge initiating a
smart one-two with Jack Wilshere, the Liverpool striker could only bend
the ball wide from 10 yards.
Hodgson sent on Raheem Sterling, Gerrard and Wayne Rooney as the game drifted towards its conclusion.
saw a characteristic chip touched over the bar by Navas, but there was
to be no late salvo from England, whose frustrated fans had to be
subdued by riot police as the final whistle neared.