June 20, 2014

Costa Rica 1, Italy 0: A stunner.  A country without an army or navy beats a nation whose army has been an historical joke and its navy better known for training cruise ship captains.   For the second time in 25 years, the Ticos advance out of the group stage.  Whereas in 1990 they surprised two B-List teams in their first trip to the World Cup, this time they knocked two of the sports' powers, with a combined six World Cups between them, and now stand on the verge of clinching the group lead.  The Azurri seemed overconfident, almost stunned with the notion that they play soccer in tiny Central American countries.  Costa Rica scored late in the first half right after the ref swallowed a whistle that should have given them a penalty kick; far from defending at all costs the rest of the way, they came closer to scoring a second goal than the Italians came to tying.

The Costa Rican victory officially eliminates England, the earliest it has been knocked out since 1958; the Three Lions would be excused if they were to hope FIFA never again scheduled another World Cup for Brazil.. A win or draw against England clinches Group D for the Ticos.  Italy and Uruguay face off in the other game Tuesday, with the winner advancing; a draw would eliminate Uruguay. 

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