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Compact Costa Rica defeat Greece on penalties

Compact Costa Rica defeat Greece on penalties
June 30
01:00 2014

Costa Rica defied the odds once more to continue their FIFA World Cup fairy tale with a 5-3 penalty win over Greece to seal their passage to the World Cup quarter-finals, where the Netherlands lie in wait.

Rated as Group D’s whipping boys having been drawn alongside England, Italy and Uruguay, Jorge Luis Pinto’s men shocked the world by winning the group with a haul of seven points.

And another chapter was written in their remarkable story in Recife on Sunday. After a 1-1 draw over 120 minutes, they triumphed in the shootout against a Greece side who know all about beating the odds following their UEFA Euro 2004 triumph 10 years ago.

Thiofanis Gekas missed the decisive spot kick after the game ended 1-1 following extra time, Costa Rica taking the lead only for Greece to level in the dying moments.


Bryan Ruiz scored early in the second period, netting after finding a rare pocket of space on the edge of the Greece penalty area.

Costa Rica got a little luck when Kostas Mitroglou was unable to control a cross and Navas pounced on the loose ball but the scoreline was rarely threatened until Sokratis netted with seconds to go — building on a red card to Oscar Duarte midway into the second half — pouncing on the loose ball after Navas’ save fell at his feet.

Mitroglou almost won the game in the 93rd minute, but Navas produced a spectacular stop to send the game to extra time.


Extra time saw Greece put on the pressure, trying to make the extra man count. They created some fair openings but didn’t put Navas under any real strain.

Costa Rica threatened on the break, Kostas Katsouranis sliding in to prevent a chance, but Jorge Luis Pinto’s side were restricted to defending deep and playing for penalties.

Randall Brenes came close to giving Costa Rica the lead again in the second half of extra time but his shot flashed wide, while a few forays forward floundered as Costa Rica couldn’t commit in numbers.

The deadlock couldn’t be broken without penalties and it was Navas’ strong hand to keep out Gekas’ well-struck effort that proved the difference.



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