After Costa Rica won their first two games of the World Cup, the second Group D spot in the Round of 16 was up for grabs. It would come down to Uruguay and Italy, with the Italians needing only a draw and Luis Suarez and company having to win to advance. Uruguay would beat Italy 1-0 in the final match to finish in second, meaning the Azzurri would go home after group play for the second straight World Cup. Joining them would be England, whose disastrous tournament ended with a single point and only two goals scored.
Costa Rica — The Tico Boys weren’t thought to have a chance in Group D, but two stunning wins against Uruguay and Italy to start put them into the Round of 16 for the first time since 1990. They would finish 2-0-1 with seven points. They now await the second place team from Group C.
[Related: Group A recap: Brazil and Mexico advance, Croatia and Cameroon go home ]
Uruguay — Their 1-0 win over Italy secured passage to the Round of 16, but controversy will follow them. Will Luis Suarez play again after his alleged biting of Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini late in the match? FIFA will make a decision one way or the other before they meet the winner of Group C on Saturday, which will likely be Colombia.
Man of the Group: Gianluigi Buffon. The 36-year old made eight saves in the two matches he played for Italy. While they both ended in losses, he did everything he could to keep the Azzurri in matches, as evidenced by this double save against Uruguay:
Best Goal: Bryan Ruiz’s goal versus Italy will be on the highlight-reels in Costa Rica for decades.
Best Match: Costa Rica 1-0 Italy. It was the upset of Group D, with the upstart Tico Boys keeping the Italians at bay and grabbing the three points thanks to Ruiz’s header in the 44th minute. The goal came moments after Joel Campbell had a penalty call denied. Italy dominated possession, but all Costa Rica needed was one good cross to continue their run as World Cup Cinderella's.
Deserved Better: Andrea Pirlo. The maestro of the Italian midfielder may have seen his days serving the national side come to a close. After winning the World Cup in 2006, 35-year old has watched Italy bow out of the the previous two tournaments in the group stage. He has 112 caps for his country and would have liked to have seen a better end to his side’s hopes and to his international career.
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