Former Fulham player Brian Ruiz hammered the final nail in England’s coffin earlier today during a shocking 1-0 victory over a one-dimensional Italian side. It is now impossible for the Three Lions to qualify for the last 16 of the tournament.
Costa Rica have been the embodiment of this year’s World Cup spirit and surprised all when they advanced after only two group games at the expense of England. Today’s result sets up a winner-takes-all affair between Italy and Uruguay in Natal on Tuesday but for England their time in the competition is up.
As always, expectations were high back home with most fans believing wholeheartedly that England would come through the group stage relatively comfortably but the inability to hush the star players of Italy and Uruguay has cost them.
Simple defensive errors for Balotelli’s winner and Suarez’s brace will be a scar on the face of what was, a bold attacking approach by Roy Hodgson.
Hodgson gave a statement of intent to the England faithful when he selected a squad laden with youth players but the mistakes made throughout their short stay in the tournament were often from the older, more experienced members of the squad.
Players such as Sterling and Barkley have impressed but it can be argued that Gerrard, Cahill, Jagielka and Johnson all experienced tournaments to forget.
Costa Rica may not have the quality of players that England have but their work ethic and spirit have helped them achieve remarkable victories over two of the world’s best international outfits. Despite having no less than 3 former World Cup winners in their group, Los Ticos have managed to progress leaving bookmakers and pundits scratching their heads.
On reflection one underachiever is surpassed by an overachiever. The most harrowing thought for any England fan now is if they were to beat Costa Rica in their final group game on Tuesday.