World Cup 2014: Costa Rica v Greece

CRC 1 – 1 GRE (5-3 pens): When towering Borussia Dortmund centre back Sokratis Papastathopoulos drilled in a Greek equaliser deep into stoppage time at the end of the game you could only feel sorry for the battling Costa Rican side who had endured intense late pressure with only ten men after defender Óscar Duarte had been dismissed for a second yellow card with thirty minutes remaining of the game in Recife. It wasn’t a spectacular game and both teams lacked a real flow and cutting edge to take the game to their opponents. Costa Rica, who many thought would lose all three group games and go nowhere in this tournament, looked the more likely to make something happen. They found the inspiration needed from their captain Bryan Ruiz. The PSV forward has led by example in defining his team’s ambitious attacking intent and plucky defending in this World Cup, and it was his measured strike after fifty two minutes from a Cristian Bolaños centre that put his side in front. From the moment of the sending off the Costa Ricans were up against it and they could not deal with a high ball into the box late on which allowed Papastathopoulos to equalise. It was end to end stuff in extra time with both teams having chances to win it, the best in the last seconds when Greek forward Mitroglou had his shot expertly saved by the sensational Costa Rican goalkeeper Keylor Navas. So, it went to penalties. It is always the worst way to lose but in a World Cup as amazing as this one it only adds to the wonderful spectacle. There were some belting penalties but it came down to Greece’s Gekas who had his penalty saved in extraordinary fashion by stalwart keeper Navas. What a save!! Umaña sent the deciding penalty past Greek keeper Karnezis and Costa Rica go through to a dream quarter final against the Netherlands. Get in Costa Rica! What a night…knackered, no sleep, late for work but well, well worth it!!!

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