Sunday Jun 29, 2014. 23:50
A perfect penalty shoot-out display from a ten-man Costa Rica, beating Greece 5-3, saw them into the quarterfinals of the 2014 FIFA World Cup after their Last 16 match at the Arena Pernambuco in Recife on Sunday ended 1-1 after 120 minutes.
The result goes a long way to exacting some revenge for ivory Coast who were dumped out of the World Cup after losing 2-1 to Greece in their last group game.
Greece were fortunate to make it to the shootout after a 91st
minute goal saw them level the game.
In the shoot-out a fantastic penalty save from Keylor Navas to deny Theofanis Gekas was the difference between the sides as Costa Rica converted all their spot-kicks.
The opening 45 minutes was not the most exciting of halves as both teams struggled to mount any sustained periods of pressure.
Costa Rica saw more of the ball, but Greece were more threatening in attack with more shots on goal than the North Americans.
Costa Rica, though, created the first scoring opportunity in the eighth minute when Bryan Ruiz played Christian Bolanos into space 16-yards out, but he fired narrowly over the crossbar.
Greece’s best effort of the half came in the 37th
minute when Dimitrios Salpingidis met a left-wing cross with a four-yard volley, but Keylor Navas produced a great point-blank save to deny him.
The half ended 0-0.
Seven minutes into the second half Costa Rica took the lead when a perfectly placed shot from the edge of the box by Bryan Ruiz found the bottom left-corner of the net, 1-0.
Costa Rica looked to be cruising to victory after that, but suffered a set-back in the 66th
minute when Oscar Duarte was sent from the field after receiving his second yellow card.
With a man advantage Greece began throwing players forward and laid siege on the Costa Rica goal, but they struggled to find a break through.
Finally, as we have become accustom with Greece, they made their pressure tell in the 91st
minute when Sokratis Papastathopoulos equalised from 14-yards out after firing home an initial save from the Costa Rica keeper that fell into his path, 1-1.
Neither side could find the winner in extra-time as both sets of players tired dramatically to see the game go into the dreaded penalty shoot-out.
In the shoot-out costa Rica ran out 5-3 winners to make the quarterfinals of the World Cup for the first time in their history.