Show up at their World Cup venue. Get mauled. Repeat.
Costa Rica had its game plan drawn up by the rest of the world but, thankfully, “El Ticos” decided to go its own way; and the result has been spectacular.
Apart from a Spanish title defence that was shorter than the Red House fire, Costa Rica manufactured the genuine shock of the Brazil 2014 World Cup so far by treating the “Group of Death” like a stroll through the Hollows.
Yesterday, Costa Rica edged Italy 1-0 for its second successive win in Group D, which meant that the CONCACAF representative became the fourth nation to qualify for the knockout round after Netherlands, Chile and Colombia.
At the same, Costa Rica’s success meant an early elimination for England who joins Cameroon, Australia and Spain in the departure lounge.
Honduras, another CONCACAF missionary, will probably be departing soon as well although the Central American nation at least showed that it can do more than kick opponents. Honduras led Ecuador through a Carlo Costly goal before ultimately falling 2-1 to the South Americans in Group E.
In the second Group E match, France battered another hapless opponent with an emphatic 5-2 win over Switzerland.
Let’s just say that Karim Benzema and company are not the kind of guys you want to eyeball at a party. Switzerland, like Honduras in the opening round, never knew what hit them. In the case of Swiss defender Steve Von Bergen, that was quite literal. Von Bergen was forced to leave the field in the ninth minute after receiving an accidental boot in the face from France striker Olivier Giroud.
The forced substitution meant Switzerland was forced to pair former Arsenal rejects Johan Djourou and Phillipe Senderos at the back and no good could ever come of that.
Not that being rejected by an English team is the end of the world. The Costa Rican pair of Joel Campbell and Bryan Ruiz is proof of that.
Arsenal signed Campbell in 2011 and got him a work permit last year. And Arsene Wenger was so excited about his Costa Rican purchase that he used him all of zero times while preferring to loan him all over the place like an ugly jeans.
It was arguably even worse for Ruiz. His own club’s supporters at Fulham was so uninspired by his languid playing style that they booed him all the way through the exit in the winter transfer window.
Revenge, of course, is best served cold.
And, after referee Enrique Osses inexplicably looked the other way while Italian defenders Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Barzagli tried to make Campbell into a club sandwich, dropped him and then tried to bury his body, Ruiz popped up in the 44th minute to head home a goal that stunned Italy and eliminated England at the same time. Talk about killing two birds with one stone.
Italy and Uruguay must now play off for one available spot out of the group.
Campbell will live. England stars Steven Gerrard, Wayne Rooney and Frank Lampard probably won’t make it though.
Can it get any worse for the Englishmen who were eliminated from the tournament after just two games?
Well, they face Costa Rica next.
Yesterday’s World Cup action
Costa Rica 1 (Bryan Ruiz 44), Italy 0
France 5 (Olivier Giroud 17, Blaise Matuidi 18, Mathieu Valbuena 40, Karim Benzema 67, Moussa Sissoko 73), Switzerland 2 (Blerim Dzemaili 81, Granit Xhaka 87)
*–Benzema missed penalty in 32nd minute
Ecuador 2 (Enner Valencia 34, 65), Honduras 1 (Carlo Costly 31)
Star of the Day
Costa Rica captain Bryan Ruiz for securing a historic World Cup win over Italy that assured the “Ticos” of a place in the second round.
Villain of the Day
Chile referee Enrique Osses for looking the other way as Giorgio Chiellini flattened Joel Campbell inside the penalty area. With that sort of detection rate, Osses is definitely qualified to head the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service.
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Costa Rica did me a huge favour because they defeated the two European teams I simply do not like. Adios England and pretty soon, bon voyage Italia.
looking at costa rica yesterday they are way ahead of trinidad, maybe now we get serious
Hopefully these results mean CONCACAF gets more respect in the future. I still remember the fuss when the amount of qualifying spots were increased and whether we deserved to have them. Mexico would not have been there to hold Brasil at home.
Good game boys
lol, u win some, u lose some, I’m ok because teams have their off days, it makes things harder to progress now but once there is unity in the Azzuri there will always be a way to win, Prandelli though did get his tactics and subs wrong but then again he left home 3 of his best attacking talents- Rossi, Destro and Berardi and he didn’t even give Verratti a sweat (sigh)
This is the best I’ve seen Costa Rica played in any tournament. Much improvement by the Concacaf teams this also sends a signal to the others who are not at the World Cup………. improve or you’ll never see the big stage again!
Johan Djourou has been more of a problem for his former team and now his National team. He makes rash tackles in critical areas.
my answer to that would be a limbo…. I Believe we could be that team that could make an Impact but there is the non believers, the TTFF and the government…
Yes. They were fearless. I can’t decide if this is a good or bad thing for T&T.
Does it mean we might not be as far off the rest of the world as we feared? Or does it mean we are further from the top of CONCACAF than we thought?
Not a fan But Costa Rica deserved this win….. Great Post!!!
Yeah. That one was easy where Djourou and Senderos go. I always remember when T&T qualified for the 2006 World Cup and a British tv presenter called me to go over the entire list of players because he wanted to get the pronunciation right.
They apparently usually contact the embassy of the respective World Cup countries to go over the names but (perhaps unsurprisingly) that hadn’t really worked out in our case.
You have to respect that sort of attention to detail.
To be fair, I have heard local sport presenters even mangle the names of OUR players like Dwarika. Now that is beyond sad.
Lasana, it is even worse than that!
I have seen football websites with pronunciation guides for the the players’ names. this inattention to finer details is just poor on Villafana’s part. And just to illustrate how bad it is, after an entire half of hearing the English announcers speak about Gee-roo, how can you come up with Gee-rude? Horrible stuff. Had Slovakia made the World Cup, our ears may have been assaulted about their Liverpool defender, Martin Scrittle!
Still can’t get over Villafana talking about how England were virtually out while staring at the group standings. Between that and the frequent mispronounciations, I was so embarrassed.
“The forced substitution meant Switzerland was forced to pair former Arsenal rejects Johan Djourou and Phillipe Senderos at the back and no good could ever come of that.”
I said the same thing when the substitution was made. No fair ganging up on Arsenal. They held on to Campbell despite the work permit issues and I hope he gets his chance next season.