10-man Costa Rica edge Greece


Although the game ended dramatically, it got off to a slow start as both teams struggled to create chances in the first half.

The closest Greece came to taking the lead in the first period was after Dimitrios Salpingidis got his foot to a brilliant cross by José Cholevas only for a sprawling Navas’ to deny the Greeks.  

Costa Rica set the game alight in the 52nd minute when they scored thanks to Bryan Ruiz’ well placed shot. The shot, which was taken from just outside the box rolled into the bottom right corner leaving Orestis-Spyridon Karnezis with no chance.

Costa Rica surged forward following the goal and looked as if they might take control of the game until the 66th minute when Oscar Duarte picked up a second yellow, leaving Costa Rica one man down and Greece with 24 minutes to win the game.

The Greeks pressed forward, but despite dominating in possession, it looked as if they would be knocked out of the World Cup until they scored in the 90th minute.

Navas could only parry a shot Theofanis Gekas into the feet of Sokratis Papastathopoulos who had no trouble in putting the ball in the back of the net, as Greece somehow kept themselves in the tournament for a while longer.

With half an hour of extra time to follow, Costa Rica looked vulnerable. Navas and Joel Cambell both looked slightly injured, but neither could be substituted because Costa Rica had already used all their substitutions.

The first period of extra time failed to create a clear cut chance for either team. Greece did the attacking while a tired looking Costa Rica were happy to park their ten man bus.

The second half saw more of the same, with Greece unable to make their superior numbers count. In a move typical of the second half of extra time, following a Costa Rican corner Greece broke with five Greeks running towards only two Costa Rican defenders, but the Greeks were unable to challenge Navas.

It looked as if Greece might score at the absolute last moment again, but Navas brilliantly denied Konstantinos Mitroglou’s shot and send the game into a penalty shootout.

Both teams were impressive in the shootout, with all the penalty takers comfortably converting their spot-kicks. It took another moment of brilliance from Navas to deny Theofanis Gekas’s shot which looked to be heading towards the top left corner. Costa Rica will face the Netherlands in the last eight.