The Ticos are marching on to the World Cup’s knockout rounds after a 0-0 tie with England Tuesday. Though Costa Rica was already secured a spot in the Round of 16, the tie meant a first-place finish in Group D, edging out second-place Uruguay. Both Italy and England are now on their way home after failing to qualify from the Group of Death.
Costa Rica will meet another surprise contender, Group C runner-up Greece, this Sunday. The match will kick off at 2 p.m. and will be played in Recife at Arena Pernambuco, site of the Ticos’ upset win over Italy.
In a must-win game, the Greeks shocked Ivory Coast 2-1 with a go-ahead penalty kick stemming from a controversial call in stoppage time. Defensive-minded Greece may not play an entertaining, light-up-the-scoreboard brand of soccer, but they will challenge Costa Rica’s attackers by limiting opportunities.
Still this matchup may have been the most favorable one La Sele could have asked for, considering Greece didn’t even score in its first two World Cup matches. This is the first time the Greeks have ever made it to the knockout rounds. If Costa Rica wins, it would then face the winner of Mexico –Holland match in the quarterfinals July 5.
In a local development, from June 15 to June 19, local housing development company Rock Construction offered $1,000 off a new home for every goal that Costa Rica’s national team scored in the World Cup. An advertising representative said the offer only counts for the first round games, meaning the company now owes $5,000 credit to anyone who purchased a house from them in that time span.
Uruguay’s victory over Italy was eclipsed by a bizarre incident late in the second half when superstar Luis Suarez allegedly bit Italian Giorgio Chiellini during a contested play.
The referee didn’t notice, and no free kick or card was given. However, in TV footage that ricocheted around the Internet, Suarez indeed appears to bite down on Chiellini’s left shoulder.
After the encounter, Chiellini pulled his jersey off his shoulder while yelling at the referee, and Suarez appeared to grab his teeth.
Despite not being booked, Suarez could still face disciplinary action from the governing authorities that could keep him out of the next round. The Fédération Internationale de Football Association has given Suarez and the country’s football association until this afternoon to give their positions on the incident and any relevant evidence.
Suarez has a history of biting opponents. In 2010, while playing for Ajax, he accepted a seven-match ban by the Dutch Football Federation for biting another player. After that game, Italy’s coach Cesare Prandelli and the country’s football federation president, Giancarlo Abete, announced their resignations.
In Group C action Tuesday, Colombia sent Japan packing, with a decisive 4-1 victory, having earlier clinched a spot in the knockout round.