Costa Rica 1(5), Greece 1(3): 2014 FIFA World Cup | Round of 16 Match Recap
Costa Rica had it. Then they lost it. They couldn't find it, but then Keylor Navas saved it, and Michael Umana converted it.
And with that, the Ticos topped the Greeks 5-3 on penalties after a 1-1 draw through regulation and extra time to punch their first-ever ticket into the World Cup quarterfinals - all despite playing more than 55 minutes a man down. With the win they become just the second CONCACAF team to make it to the final eight in a World Cup they didn't host - following the US in 2002 - and just the third CONCACAF team overall to make it that far.
They'll face the Netherlands on Saturday for the right to advance to the semifinals.
GREEKS AUTHOR MORE DRAMA: After advancing to the Round of 16 on a stoppage-time penalty kick vs. Ivory Coast, Greece also left it for stoppage time vs. Costa Rica. Centerback Sokratis Papastathopoulos was in the box to knock home a rebound just seconds after regulation had expired.
Sokratis supposed to be getting married on July 5th. Is he doing everything possible to avoid it or is it my impression? :-)— Greek Football (@greekfooty) June 29, 2014
CAPTAIN COMES THROUGH: Bryan Ruiz once again found the back of the net for the Ticos in the 2014 World Cup, finding himself wide open in the 52nd minute to send a slow-rolling trickler into the goal as the goalkeeper could only stand and watch it go in.
That ball took a year to get into the back of the net— khalid. (@KHALIDKhan91) June 29, 2014
TICOS DENIED A PK: Just three minutes after Ruiz scored, a Vasileios Torosidis hand ball in the box that prevented a cross from getting to Cristian Bolanos should have been whistled by Australian referee Ben Williams.
Hand of Zeus.— Gordon (@gorayfle) June 29, 2014
COSTA RICA GO DOWN A MAN: Centerback Oscar Duarte made a rash tackle on marauding left back Jose Cholevas and rightly earned a second yellow in the 66th minute, leaving the Central Americans down a man for nearly a half-hour.
THE FIRST HALF? FORGET IT: Not much to write home about in the opening half with neither team have much of an appetite for risk.
Greece actually want to win this game by attacking?! What world am I in? They are the definition of "anti-football." Lol.— Xoel Càrdenas (@XoelCardenas) June 29, 2014
I believe Costa Rica and Greece just got booed off the field at halftime.— Andrew Keh (@andrewkeh) June 29, 2014
NO KNOCKOUT PUNCH: Even with Costa Rica already gassed going into the extra period, the Greeks couldn't deliver a match-winner – not even on a 5-on-2 jailbreak in the 113th minute, when no one seemed to want to take the shot and Navas made a last-ditch hip save when Lazaros Christodopolous finally pulled the trigger.
THE PENALTY STAGE: Costa Rica went first, Celso Borges converting handily down the middle, but Kostas Mitroglou answered for Greece. Ruiz went high and put the Ticos up 2-1, but Christodopoulous got Navas to guess wrong on a low roller to keep things even. Gonzalez and Holebas traded conversions in the third round, and Joel Campbell made it 4-3 with a cool left-side placement to open the fourth round. That's when the Greeks blinked. Gekas went left, Navas dived to his right, and the keeper won. Umana - a former Chivas USA and LA Galaxy defender - pounded his fifth-round try inside the left post, and the weary Costa Ricans celebrated their survival.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Navas, goalkeeper, Costa Rica. Even before his penalty-stage heroics, just getting to the shootout was a testament to the Costa Rican keeper's hard work and athleticism. He couldn't do anything about the equalizer, which came after he got down to stop a hard shot, and his seven saves kept the Ticos in it through 120.