Gonzalez, Ticos beat Italy, advance to Round of 16
Two matches, two stunning wins, six points. And a trip to the Round of 16.
That's what Giancarlo Gonzalez's Costa Rica has done at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, defeating Italy today by a 1-0 final to seal the Ticos' place in the final 16.
Bryan Ruiz notched the match's only tally just before halftime, a goal that held up as Costa Rica and Gonzalez flawlessly defended against an Italian side featuring Mario Balotelli. Playing a high line all afternoon, the Ticos stymied the four-time World Cup champion Italians, who could not find a late equalizer. The result also, in turn, eliminated England from contention to advance.
Costa Rica's six points top Group D at the moment, and the Ticos are set to play the Three Lions in their final match of the opening round. Should Costa Rica earn at least one point, it would win the group and move on to play the runners-up of Group C.
"Pipo" played all 90 minutes for the second consecutive match, helping his nation earn its second trip to the Round of 16 all-time and its first since 1990. Waylon Francis did not make an appearance for Costa Rica, which has never made it to the Quarterfinals.