World Cup - Brazil 2014
Sunday, 29 June 2014,
- Kickoff: 21:00 BST
- Stadium: Arena Pernambuco
- Referee: -
- Stadium: Arena Pernambuco
- Attendance: 41,242
- 52' Bryan Ruiz
- 66' Óscar Duarte
- 91' Sokratis Papastathopoulos
- Live Commentary
50-50 Challenge: Costa Rica vs. Greece
Costa Rica was the shock winner of Group D and now face another surprising team in Greece for a place in the quarterfinals of the World Cup. Our ESPNFC bloggers Matt Levin (Costa Rica) and Chris Paraskevas (Greece) preview the round of 16 tie.
Form and fitness
Matt Levin: The trailblazing Ticos arrive in Recife in superb shape. They're healthy and they're loving competing in Brazil's tropical weather. Only two players have even picked up a yellow card: centre-back Giancarlo Gonzalez and reserve midfielder Jose Miguel Cubero. And most importantly, La Sele are brimming with confidence after topping a group with Italy, Uruguay and England. Costa Rica should be well-rested, too. The Ticos clinched their spot in the knockout round in their second match, a 1-0 win over Italy. And so Costa Rica used their final encounter against England to play reserves and give a break to some starters.
Chris Paraskevas: Goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis is battling to be fit for the Costa Rica match after being forced off against the Ivory Coast. Panagiotis Kone, the attacking midfielder who has impressed for Greece at this tournament, will miss the game through injury. Greece delivered its best performance under Fernando Santos in their final group game to qualify: It was an unusually proactive display.
The big question for the Portuguese coach is whether he returns Kostas Katsouranis to the starting line-up. Katsouranis was suspended against the Ivory Coast and has been poor in Brazil, though he is one of Santos' most trusted players (they have worked together extensively at club level). If he does start, it will be at the expense of another Euro 2004 veteran, Giorgos Karagounis.
Beyond that, expect Lazaros Christodoulopoulos to retain his place on the left wing, with Georgios Samaras playing as the lone striker. The former Celtic man wrote his name into Greek folklore with an injury-time penalty against the Ivory Coast, taking Greece into the knockout stages for the first time in their history.
World Cup history
ML: Costa Rica and the Greeks have never met before in the World Cup or anywhere else. The Ticos are in the knockout round for only the second time in four tournament appearances. The Greeks are here for the first time in three attempts (However, Greece have the more impressive prize between the two sides after winning Euro 2004). Both teams will bring a similar style to the pitch. They rely on a shutdown defense and a lethal counterattack, and one goal might be all that's necessary to win this battle. This match also could very easily come down to penalties. In Recife -- the same sweltering city where Costa Rica beat an equally defensive Italian team -- La Sele hope at least to maintain an edge with their conditioning.
CP: This will be the first meeting between these countries, and the stage could not be bigger. Greece has a fairly short history when it comes to nations from the CONCACAF, so this promises to be a really interesting clash of styles, particularly because Costa Rica are reminiscent in set-up and approach to the Greek team that won Euro 2004.
ML: Joel Campbell vs. the Greek defence. Campbell is supposed to be the Costa Rica's trump card in this match. He spent the last season on Greek league champions Olympiacos on loan from Arsenal. He was a key contributor to the club, and Campbell has all the insights on how the Greeks play. The striker will even see a few of his Olimpiacos teammates on Sunday, including accomplished defender Kostas Manolas. La Sele coach Jorge Luis Pinto surely will incorporate Campbell's knowledge of the Greek side into his game plan. Campbell, who just turned 22 on Thursday, looks fully capable of keeping up his fantastic play in Brazil against a rival he knows well.
CP: Joel Campbell v. Kostas Manolas. These two were both stars for Olympiacos this season domestically and in the UEFA Champions League and will know each other's game inside out. They have also hit form at this tournament, with Manolas the stand-out Greek defender and Campbell suddenly a chance to nail down a place at parent club Arsenal next season.
Campbell's pace and direct running style has the potential to upset the Greece back line, which is why it's so important that Manolas is at his best. The latter has proven adept at covering his fellow defenders and reads the game superbly. He is also excellent in one-on-one situations. This is a key match-up in what will probably be a tight game.
Why does your side deserve to progress?
ML: The Ticos might be the tournament's Cinderella story, but this is a frightful team to prepare for. Costa Rica vanquished three former World Cup champions to take Group D, and La Sele managed to out-coach and outplay each of their three opponents. There's a lot to admire on the pitch, from the anonymous back line to the undervalued stars such as Campbell and Bryan Ruiz. And the Ticos have Keylor Navas, one of the best keepers in the world in goal. As Brazil's giant-killers, the crowd will be on the Ticos' side, which doesn't hurt either. After all they've accomplished so far, it could feel like a letdown to fall to a Greek team with minus-two goal differential. Costa Rica can best the success of their historic 1990 World Cup team with a win in Recife.
CP: In a World Cup that has seen a number of notable individual performances from the likes of Lionel Messi, Xherdan Shaqiri, Thomas Mueller, Karim Benzema and Neymar, Greece still draws its greatest strength from its unity. Football is still a team game, and it is difficult to think of a squad as devoid of "star names" as the Greek one.
Perhaps it is an unfashionable quality to have at a time when expensive commercials and colourful football boots are in vogue, but that is precisely why Greece are such an interesting team: because they are so simple, unified and hard-working in their approach. Unus pro omnibus, omnes pro uno.
ML: 2-0 Costa Rica. I don't see Greece scoring on a defence that has given up only one goal -- on a penalty -- all tournament. The creative Tico attack will wear down the Greeks. And this small, army-less Central American country will march into the World Cup quarterfinals.
CP: Greece 2, Costa Rica 0. With Samaras suddenly hitting form, I think Greece can get an early goal here and settle. Their experience in the knockout stages of major tournaments could be the crucial factor.
Theofanis Gekas (Greece) Penalty - Missed at 120'
Michael Umaña (Costa Rica) Penalty - Scored at 120'
José Cholevas (Greece) Penalty - Scored at 120'
Joel Campbell (Costa Rica) Penalty - Scored at 120'
Lazaros Christodoulopoulos (Greece) Penalty - Scored at 120'
Giancarlo González (Costa Rica) Penalty - Scored at 120'
Bryan Ruiz (Costa Rica) Penalty - Scored at 120'
Kostas Mitroglou (Greece) Penalty - Scored at 120'
Goal! Costa Rica 1(1), Greece 1. Celso Borges (Costa Rica) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the high centre of the goal.
Penalty Shootout begins Costa Rica 1, Greece 1.
End Extra Time
Attempt missed. Kostas Mitroglou (Greece) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Kostas Manolas.
Attempt missed. Giorgos Karagounis (Greece) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by Sokratis.
Attempt missed. Giancarlo Gonzalez (Costa Rica) right footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Randall Brenes with a cross following a set piece situation.
Attempt missed. Randall Brenes (Costa Rica) right footed shot from the right side of the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Joel Campbell with a headed pass.
Start 2nd Half Extra Time
First Half Extra Time ends, Costa Rica 1, Greece 1.
Attempt missed. Theofanis Gekas (Greece) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Kostas Mitroglou with a headed pass.
Attempt missed. Lazaros Christodoulopoulos (Greece) right footed shot from the right side of the box is high and wide to the right.
Start Extra Time
Second Half ends, Costa Rica 1, Greece 1.
1 - 1
Goal! Costa Rica 1, Greece 1. Sokratis (Greece) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the top right corner.
Substitution, Costa Rica. Randall Brenes replaces Christian Bolaños.
Attempt missed. Kostas Manolas (Greece) header from the centre of the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by José Holebas with a cross following a set piece situation.
Attempt missed. Giorgos Karagounis (Greece) right footed shot from outside the box is too high from a direct free kick.
Substitution, Greece. Konstantinos Katsouranis replaces Giannis Maniatis.
Substitution, Costa Rica. Johnny Acosta replaces Cristian Gamboa.
Attempt missed. Lazaros Christodoulopoulos (Greece) with an attempt from the centre of the box misses to the right.
Substitution, Greece. Theofanis Gekas replaces Dimitrios Salpingidis.
Attempt missed. Georgios Samaras (Greece) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by José Holebas with a cross following a set piece situation.
Substitution, Costa Rica. José Cubero replaces Yeltsin Tejeda.
Substitution, Greece. Kostas Mitroglou replaces Andreas Samaris.
1 - 0
Goal! Costa Rica 1, Greece 0. Bryan Ruiz (Costa Rica) left footed shot from outside the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Christian Bolaños.
Start 2nd Half
Attempt missed. Celso Borges (Costa Rica) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Christian Bolaños with a cross following a set piece situation.
Attempt missed. Sokratis (Greece) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Giorgos Karagounis with a cross following a corner.
Attempt missed. Lazaros Christodoulopoulos (Greece) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Giannis Maniatis.
Attempt missed. Christian Bolaños (Costa Rica) left footed shot from the left side of the box is too high. Assisted by Bryan Ruiz.
Attempt missed. Cristian Gamboa (Costa Rica) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Bryan Ruiz.
Attempt missed. Lazaros Christodoulopoulos (Greece) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right following a set piece situation.
First Half begins.
- Costa Rica
Shots on target
Head to Head
|Costa Rica||1 - 1||Greece|
- 1Keylor Navas
- 16Cristian Gamboa
- -> Johnny Acosta
- 6Óscar Duarte
- 15Júnior Díaz
- 4Michael Umaña
- 10Bryan Ruiz
- 7Christian Bolaños
- -> Randall Brenes
- 9Joel Campbell
- 17Yeltsin Tejeda
- -> José Cubero
- 3Giancarlo González
- 5Celso Borges
- 11Michael Barrantes
- 20Diego Calvo
- 21Marco Ureña
- 18Patrick Pemberton
- 12Waylon Francis
- 13Óscar Granados
- 23Daniel Cambronero
- 8Dave Myrie
- 19Roy Miller
- 1Orestis Karnezis
- 15Vasileios Torosidis
- 19Sokratis Papastathopoulos
- 4Kostas Manolas
- 20José Cholevas
- 22Andreas Samaris
- -> Kostas Mitroglou
- 2Ioannis Maniatis
- -> Kostas Katsouranis
- 10Georgios Karagounis
- 16Lazaros Christodoulopoulos
- 14Dimitris Salpingidis
- -> Theofanis Gekas
- 7Giorgos Samaras
- 5Vangelis Moras
- 12Panagiotis Glikos
- 23Panagiotis Tachtsidis
- 8Panagiotis Kone
- 11Loukas Vyntra
- 18Ioannis Fetfatzidis
- 6Alexandros Tziolis
- 3Giorgos Tzavelas
- 13Stefanos Kapino
Costa Rica reach quarterfinals on pens
Goalkeeper Keylor Navas was the hero for 10-man Costa Rica as the nation reached the quarterfinals of the World Cup for the first time in their history after beating Greece 5-3 on penalties in Recife.
Bryan Ruiz's second-half goal was cancelled out in injury time by Sokratis Papastathopoulos to send the game to extra time and then penalties, before Theofanis Gekas saw his spot kick saved and Michael Umana put away the winning penalty.
In a first half of few chances, Dimitris Salpingidis almost found the breakthrough when he was denied brilliantly by goalkeeper Navas after latching onto Jose Cholevas' cross.
Costa Rica took the lead on 52 minutes as captain Ruiz side-footed home from outside the area from Christian Bolanos' cutback from the left channel.
Los Ticos were reduced to 10 men soon after, with Oscar Duarte receiving a second yellow card for a clumsy tackle on Jose Holebas.
Greece made their numerical advantage pay in the final seconds to force extra time, Sokratis netting from the rebound after Navas parried out Gekas' shot.
Fernando Santos' side struggled to break down Costa Rica during extra time, and when they did they were frustrated by the in-form Navas, who saved from Lazaros Christodoulopoulos and Kostas Mitroglou before the match went to penalties.
After a series of excellent spot kicks, Gekas' saw his effort palmed away by Navas before Umana converted to send Costa Rica through to the last eight.
More to follow...