by Satish Sekar © Satish Sekar (June 20th 2012)
Having stunned Uruguay 3-1 in their opening match Colombian coach Jorge Luís Pinto Afanador has master-minded the shock of the World Cup. Costa Rica have qualified for the last sixteen of the World Cup, eliminating England before playing them. Bryan Ruiz González was deemed surplus to requirements by Fulham last season.
This afternoon he scored the goal that sent Roy Hodgsonʼs young team crashing out of the World Cup – one that means that either Uruguay or Italy will be going home early too. Goal difference means that a draw will be enough for Italy, while Uruguay have to beat the Azzurri to progress further.
Whipping Boys – yeah right!
Pintoʼs team were supposed to be there to make up the numbers in a group that contained three former winners of the World Cup. But Costa Rica ignored the script and deservedly add Italy to Uruguayʼs scalp. England could not stem the wizardry of the maestro Andrea Pirlo, but Costa Rica largely controlled the play-maker.
While Mario Balotelli made his presence felt against England he was restricted to a wasteful lob wide after Pirlo had found him in space, a shot parried by Levanteʼs Keylor Navas Gamboa and little else. His petulant tug on a defender to earn the gameʼs first yellow card summed up his match – one that not even Pirlo could turn around.
And it should have been far worse. Júnior Díaz Campbellʼs cross for Joel Campbell Samuels was intercepted by Giorgio Chiellini at the expense of corner, which was punched clear by Gianluigi Buffon. It made its way to Ruiz, whose cross was headed onto roof of net by Óscar Duarte Gaitán. A couple of minutes later the Chilean referee Enrique Osses Zencovich made a decision that was as bizarre as it was wrong.
Chiellini got away with pushing down Campbell after Andrea Barzagli was left trailing in Campbellʼs wake. It clearly should have been a penalty, but thanks to dreadful refereeing Costa Rica got nothing , but the sight of Pinto venting his fury and understandably so. A minute later calm was restored. Júnior Díaz out on the left wing delivered an inch perfect cross to Ruiz at the back post. Ruiz headed it in off cross-bar. ,Goal-line technology shows that it had crossed the line. It proved to be a famous winner.
Both Cesare Prandelli and Roy Hodgson have contracts lasting until 2016. On this showing the Costa Rican Football Federation has to extend Pintoʼs contract. He has defied footballʼs conventional wisdom and should be adequately rewarded for it.