Bryan Ruiz’s goal in the 44th minute was more than enough for Costa Rica as it remained undefeated with a 1-0 victory over Italy. The win moves the Tico Boys into sole possession of first place in Group D and ensures that England will be unable to advance to the knockout stage, no matter the result in its final match. The Italians need a victory or a draw over Uruguay next week in order to move on.
Mario Balotelli had two chances within minutes in the first half, but a lob attempt went wide of the Costa Rican net and then a volley from just outside the box was stopped by Keylor Navas. Not long after Italy’s two chances, Joel Campbell was taken down inside the box, but the referee decided against calling a penalty.
Costa Rica would get its justice one minute later when a beautiful ball from Junior Diaz found the head of Ruiz for the only goal of the match. Italy now falls to 1-8-2 all time in World Cups when trailing at halftime. Its last come-from-behind victory in that situation happened 20 years ago against Nigeria.
Man of the Match
Bryan Ruiz, Costa Rica -- The Tico Boys have now advanced to the knockout stage for the first time since the 1990 World Cup, thanks to the captain's 44th-minute goal.
At halftime, the two sides scuffled as they headed back to the dressing rooms.
Gigi Buffon, in his return to the Italy lineup, looks into the camera and prays Bryan Ruiz's header didn't bounce off the crossbar and over the goal line.
Costa Rica finishes up group play on Tuesday against an already-eliminated English side. At the same time, Italy plays Uruguay. The winner will advance, while a draw benefits the Italians, who have the edge in goal differential.
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