World cup 2014: Italy v Costa Rica

ITA 0 – 1 CRC: Nobody expected this! Football is littered with great teams but these great teams talked about all over the world are usually the big nations or clubs with the big names who so often have a plethora of individual talent to draw upon. But the truly great sides in footballing terms are those teams who wholeheartedly commit to each other to raise their level of performance to one theycould never have imagined. Take a bow Costa Rica. The Central American minnows were never given a hope, prayer or generally good word before the tournament started, however after this sensational win against Italy in Recife the Costa Ricans have now beaten two of the world’s top ten teams in the last week to turn Group D on its head. This was a simply unfathomable but well deserved win for a brilliant Costa Rica who were better than Italy in every single department tonight – work rate, winning second balls and being first into the tackle especially made the difference. Just before half time they scored a great goal and they should have had a penalty too. Experienced FC Mainz full back Júnior Díaz put in arguably the cross of the tournament to find a his captain Bryan Ruiz at the far post and he guided a fantastic header past a stranded Gigi Buffon. The Italians were shell shocked and failed to muster a fightback in a second half that was epitomised by Costa Rica’s hard work, spirit and clever game plan. Yeltsin Tejeda and Celso Borges were terrific in midfield and allowed the Italy stars not one inch of space. Pirlo was stifled and Marchisio and De Rossi were battled out of proceedings as the energy levels of the Costa Ricans were supported by a confidence that grew as the game went on. Watching the players and back room staff celebrate at the end of the game gave me goosebumps – a tremendous achievement that is what this wonderful competition is all about. Italy were physically tired and mentally exhausted at the final whistle and will need to bounce back from this quickly as they now face a Suarez-inspiired Uruguay for a place in the last sixteen. England are now officially out of the tournament. When’s the next flight to San Jose? It will be the place to be tonight…

Italy v Costa Rica
Italy v Costa Rica

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