Costa Rica's outstanding run in the 2014 World Cup continued on Friday, as they beat Italy 1-0 in Group D play. The result means several things. First, Costa Rica have booked a place in the Round of 16, although their ultimate placement in the group remains in the air (all four teams in the group have one more game to play). The result knocks England out of the tournament, their earliest exit since 1958. And it's the first time in Costa Rica's history that they have won two consecutive games at the World Cup, following their first upset of the tournament, a 3-1 win over Uruguay.
Bryan Ruiz scored the lone goal on the day just before halftime, on a header he hit after chasing down Junior Diaz's cross past the far post. The goal was just desserts for the Ticos, who were jobbed by the referee moments earlier when Joel Campbell was fouled in the box by Giorgio Chiellini but no penalty was given.
Former Chivas USA defender Michael Umana started once again for Costa Rica, and played well along with his backline in keeping Italy off the scoresheet altogether, as he only conceded one foul on the day. It was Costa Rica's first shutout at the World Cup since 2002, when they beat China 2-0.
The result is arguably the biggest in Costa Rica's soccer history, and by ensuring they will advance from the group, they are guaranteed at least two more games in the tournament, their Group D finale against England on Tuesday and a round of 16 game on either June 28 or June 29, depending on whether they finish first or second in the group. The only other time they advanced from the group stage in their history came in their first tournament, in 1990, when they lost to Czechoslovakia 4-1 in the round of 16.
Congratulations to the Ticos and to Umaña for making history!
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