Costa Rica vs. England: World Cup Group D Score, Grades and Post-Match Reaction

Alex LivieFeatured ColumnistJune 24, 2014

England ensured their World Cup campaign did not end in abject failure as they played out a 0-0 draw with Costa Rica in Belo Horizonte.

The Three Lions went into their final game of the group knowing they were already out of the competition, and manager Roy Hodgson made a raft of changes.

There were bright moments, but England could not break down a Costa Rica side who took the point they required to top Group D.

Joel Campbell has been a shining light for Costa Rica so far in this competition, and he almost put England behind inside 120 seconds.

Showing good feet, Campbell fired on goal, and his shot—albeit with the aid of a deflection—beat Ben Foster but drifted just wide.

Hodgson's much-changed England side were happy to knock the ball around at pace, and it caused problems for Costa Rica.

Daniel Sturridge looked particularly bright, seemingly happy with his team-mates moving the ball quickly.

England's first chance fell to Sturridge on 12 minutes. The Liverpool man was afforded space on the edge of the box, and he curled a shot narrowly wide of the target.

Daniel Sturridge comes close to breaking the deadlock. #ENG

— World Soccer Talk (@worldsoccertalk) June 24, 2014

There has been a dearth of quality, threatening free-kicks so far at this World Cup. Celso Borges came within a whisker of netting the first one of the tournament, but his curling effort forced Foster to tip the ball onto the crossbar.

England had claims for a penalty on 27 minutes when a loose ball fell at the feet of Sturridge. A clumsy challenge sent the forward tumbling to the floor, but referee Djamel Haimoudi waved away the protests.

A long punt down the field proved England's undoing against Uruguay. It was almost a carbon copy in the final minute of the first half.

Costa Rica 'keeper Keylor Navas lashed the ball downfield, and England defenders Gary Cahill and Chris Smalling inexplicably allowed it to bounce.

It ran through to Borges, but Cahill got back and was able to make the block.

Navas showed great courage just after the interval, racing off his line to dive at the feet of Sturridge, who had been left free in the box.

England dominated the ball in the early stages of the second half, but they were prone to mistakes. A slip from Phil Jones handed possession to Bryan Ruiz, who fed Christian Bolanos, and he forced a decent save out of Foster.

Sturridge was again England's brightest attacking threat, but his radar continued to be awry. A neat one-two with Jack Wilshere gave Sturridge a clear sight of goal. He set his sights on the far corner but curled his effort a couple of feet wide.

Sturridge moaned why he was never centre-forward at Chelsea. That's why.

— Joe Krishnan (@joekrishnan) June 24, 2014

A huge cheer rang round the Estadio Mineirao in Belo Horizonte when Steven Gerrard came on for his 114th cap.

Wayne Rooney was also introduced as a second-half substitute, but they could not deny Costa Rica the point that secured them the top spot in the group.

Costa Rica can now put their feet up and see how Group C plays out. Securing top spot in the pool hands them a clash with the second-placed team in Group C.

As things stand, that could be any one of four teams.

Costa Rica Player Ratings
Player1st-half Rating2nd-half Rating
Keylor Navas77.5
Giancarlo Gonzalez77
Roy Miller66
Oscar Duarte66
Cristian Gamboa66
Junior Diaz76.5
Yeltsin Tejeda66
Celso Borges76.5
Bryan Ruiz66
Joel Campbell66
Randall Brenes66
Christian Bolanos6
Marcos Urena6
Michael Barrantes6
England Player Ratings
Player1st-half Rating2nd-half Rating
Ben Foster87
Phil Jones65
Chris Smalling5.55.5
Gary Cahill5.56
Luke Shaw6.56.5
Frank Lampard5.56
Jack Wilshere6.56.5
James Milner77
Ross Barkley6.56
Adam Lallana5.56
Daniel Sturridge77
Raheem Sterling6
Steven Gerrard6
Wayne Rooney6

Post-Match Reaction

Hodgson spoke to ITV after the game and was pleased with the performance.

It is still hollow as we showed what a good team we can be. It is disappointing not to finish with a win, but I can’t fault the performance. We were very unlucky not to win this game.

We created the chances, that is important, and Daniel is normally clinical. He will take them in the future, we just have to keep giving them to him.


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