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Jun 24, 2014

Costa Rica and England play out draw

Costa RicaCosta Rica
EnglandEngland
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2014 FIFA World Cup Group D: Costa Rica 0-0 England

England ended their disappointing World Cup campaign with a goalless draw against Costa Rica that allowed the Central Americans to finish top of Group D.

- Mitten: Young England fail to deliver again
- Hodgson: England were unlucky
- Pinto laughs off group of death tag

Daniel Sturridge was guilty of missing three good chances, although he might have been awarded a penalty when he was hacked down by Oscar Duerte in the first half.

Ben Foster tipped Celso Borges' free kick on to the bar, but other than that Costa Rica rarely tested England's stand-in goalkeeper.

That said, there was nothing really threatening about England either during this often-dour affair in Belo Horizonte. In fact, the atmosphere inside the Estadio Mineirao was more like that of a preseason friendly.

England's fans started off by cheering their team loudly, and the likes of Luke Shaw, Adam Lallana and the impressive Jack Wilshere responded with good performances, but by the end there was a flat feeling among the few thousand who had come to Belo Horizonte.

Despite all the pre-match bluster from Roy Hodgson on Monday, England started off slowly. In fact, they could not get hold of the ball.

For the first minute and a half, Costa Rica's noisy fans shouted "Ole" as England chased shadows in the lunchtime heat. Within four minutes, England were nearly behind. Randall Brenes found Joel Campbell on the edge of the box and his deflected shot looped up off Gary Cahill past Ben Foster's goal.

Finally, England came into the game courtesy of Wilshere, who beat two players and found Sturridge, but he dragged his shot just wide.

Shaw, the youngest England player to start a World Cup game since Michael Owen, showed no sign of nerves going forward, but he gave away a free kick in a dangerous position.

Borges stepped up and bent a dipping shot over the wall and onto the bar via the fingertips of the athletic Foster.

The only other point of note in the dull first period came just before the half hour when Ross Barkley touched James Milner's cross into the path of Sturridge. The Liverpool striker shaped to shoot, but Duarte brought him down with an out-stretched leg.

Referee Djamel Haimoudi waved play on, much to Sturridge's dismay.

Fortune favoured England in a move straight after the break. Shaw's shot looped straight into the path of Sturridge in the box, but the striker miscontrolled, allowing Costa Rica goalkeeper Keylor Navas to smother the ball.

Giancarlo Gonzalez dumped Barkley on the turf with a wrestling move, but Frank Lampard, appearing possibly for the last time in an England shirt, wasted the free kick, driving straight into the wall.

Phil Jones, a few minutes after failing to control a simple pass, Jones then gave possession away inside his own half, but Christian Bolanos shot straight at Foster.

Milner played a lovely one-two with Sturridge to set the striker free inside the box, but he curled an inch wide.

Hodgson tried to inject some life into his team by introducing Raheem Sterling.

The England support then demanded Wayne Rooney enter the pitch. Instead they got Steven Gerrard, who was cheered by the fans, who suspected this might be the captain's final England appearance.

Rooney finally came on with 15 minutes left. The Manchester United striker attempted an audacious chip over Navas within minutes of his introduction. He also came within inches of turning home Lampard's cross in the dying minutes.

England kept on trying, but they could not beat Costa Rica - a team ranked below Scotland by FIFA.

The locals and the Costa Ricans inside the stadium joined forces to belittle England at the end, shouting "eliminado" to mark the end of a disappointing campaign for the Three Lions.

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