FINAL: Costa Rica 0, England 0
Costa Rica's Jorge Luis Pinto managed Tuesday's match the exact same way he did when beating Uruguay and Italy. Costa Rica maintained defensive shape, held possession, took shots when they were there, but most importantly, didn't force the issue.
It didn't force the issue because it didnt' have to. A 0-0 draw was good enough for the Costa Ricans to win the group, which is exactly how Tuesday's final Group D match ended.
England probably had the better chances in the second half, but keeper Keylor Navas was excellent ... again. He cut off a few point blank crosses and showed good composure in the air. Daniel Sturridge had the best scoring chance of the match from a perfect give-and-go near the right edge of the box 20 minutes into the second. Sturridge tried to bend it around the keeper but missed the frame entirely.
Costa Rica didn't have many chances -- a few from outside the box but nothing too substantial -- but again, it didn't need to score to win the group. Celso Borges almost buried a first half free kick, but a diving Ben Foster save kept the result at nil-nil.
By winning Group D, Costa Rica earns the right to take on the second-place finisher in Group C, which could be the Ivory Coast. England, for all its history and stardom, leaves Brazil with a single point. The fact that Costa Rica can take out Uruguay and Italy, while tying England, is an example of the ever-improving parity in international soccer.
90' -- Three minutes of added time. Corner coming for England.
89' -- Gerrard with a deep set piece that barely misses Rooney's head. Could've been the go-ahead goal, but it's just out of his reach. Only a few minutes left.
86' -- Costa Rica keeping possession of the ball and is completely content to continue to pass it around the midfield.
GROUP D UPDATE: Uruguay has scored and is leading Italy 1-0. Doesn't impact Costa Rica, which still leads Group D. A draw and it wins.
80' -- Wayne Rooney tries to chip the keeper from the box. Decent try but Navas tips it over the bar.
GROUP D UPDATE: It looks as if Costa Rica will win Group D. Even if England scores here, Costa Rica can lose and still advance on goal differential over Italy. It's still 0-0 late in the other match.
All of England's key players are on now as it tries to salvage the 2014 World Cup. The fans have belted out chants all game long, knowing full well that it had no chance of advancing.
76' -- Wayne Rooney on, Milner off.
75' -- Sterling chases the ball down and earns England a corner. Lampard gets a head on it but nothing dangerous.
73' -- Good header from Cahill to deflect pressure. Very few chances for Costa Rica this half, but their defense has been solid.
SUB: Steven Gerrard is on, Wilshere is off. Might this be Steven Gerrard's last appearance for the national team?
GROUP D UPDATE: Italy-Uruguay still tied at 0-0. If results hold, Costa Rica wins group and Italy advances.
This Sturridge-Wilshere combo nearly gave England the lead:
65' -- SUB: Campbell out, Urena in. Costa Rica's striker now on the bench with an eye towards knockout rounds.
64' -- Sturridge and Wilshere with a beautiful give-and-go on the right side of the box, but Sturridge can't curl it around Navas and missed the frame entirely. Huge chance.
62' -- Nice midfield build up from Costa Rica and it leads to a blast from Christian Bolanos. Foster handles it, but good chance from Costa Rica.
SUB: Lallana off, Sterling on.
60' -- Now Gonzalez earns a yellow off a poor tackle. Free kick coming for England's Lampard.
SUB: Brenes off, Bolanos on.
58' -- Huge save for Navas who dives off his line and snags a cross from Lallana. England with four chances this second half, but Los Ticos have stuffed them all.
56' -- Now Lallana draws a yellow off a late tackle on Bryan Ruiz. Not a chance at the ball and he still went for his legs.
55' -- Gamboa down after a hard challenge with Luke Shaw. Nothing dirty.
52' -- England is peppering the box with crosses but no strikers are there to finish. Good work from Lallana. Barkley is a bit too aggressive in trying to win a ball, draws a yellow.
49' -- Sturridge had a chance and misplayed the ball in the box. Then he slid, cleats up, into Navas' thigh. Goalie looks okay after the magic spray is applied to his thigh. Magic spray cures all.
48' -- Luke Shaw with a nice run down the left flank, earns a foul for a decent set piece chance. Headed out, but a rebound kicks back in only to be saved by Navas. Furious pace there.
46' -- Slight delay in start of second half was because games need to be played concurrently. We're underway in the second.
HALFTIME: Costa Rica 0, England 0
A surprisingly well-played first half between two sides with completely different motivations. Costa Rica has packed its defense in and is seemingly relying on counter attacks to score. Los Ticos have had a few chances but backup goalie Ben Foster has looked confident coming off his line.
England's young guns -- Jack Wilshere, Daniel Sturridge and Ross Barkley -- have looked increasingly comfortable in the attacking third. The Three Lions have worked it inside a few times, but just haven't found space to take a shot. Still, England has had the better chances 45 minutes in.
Not that it has any reason to think otherwise, but pre-tournament underdog Costa Rica deserves to be atop Group D. If it draws, it will face the second-place finisher from Group C.
44' -- Not a great free kick from Frank Lampard, who kicks it straight at Navas. Feels like his swan song.
41' -- Great work from Ross Barkley, Wilshere and Sturridge. Barkley can't get a decent chance off with his left, but that trio is the future of English soccer. Definitely promising.
Group D UPDATE: Still 0-0 in Uruguay-Italy. If results hold, Costa Rica wins group, Italy would be second.
35' -- Keylor Navas hops off his line to snag an England cross, and he continues his phenomenal World Cup. Easily one of the best players on arguably the most surprising team of the tournament.
33' -- Corner kick for England takes about three minutes. First attempt bounces off Costa Rican defender. Second attempt gets deflected out and now we've got a a third coming. Sturridge almost finds one off a header, but Los Ticos are in the clear.
...And Sturridge's wishful foul in the box:
Foster's save on that free kick:
27' -- Millner with a dangerous cross in the middle and Sturridge gets taken down in the box by Duarte. Could've been a penalty, but Sturridge just didn't pull the trigger in time and wasn't rewarded by the ref.
25' -- Bad miscue in the back almost leaves Jack Wilshere open in front of the net. Costa Rica's allowed one goal this tournament.
23' -- Borges blasts one from right to left and a wonderful save from Ben Foster as he tips it over the bar. Probably wasn't going in, but Foster's not taking any chances.
22' -- Campbell taken down by Adam Lallana in a dangerous spot outside of box.
18' -- Sturridge blasts a volley from outside the box but can't put it on frame. Still, not scared to take the shot.
14' -- Great interception from Gonzalez to pinch off a through ball. Good early action as Costa Rica playing free, while motivation doesn't appear to be an issue for the English side.
12' -- Wilshere with a wonderful run through the midfield finds Sturridge atop the box, who nearly curls it in with his left. Almost scrapes the post.
10' -- Costa Rica with a ton of numbers back as it tries to stifle any offensive sequences. Just as in its first two games, Los Ticos looking to take advantage on counters.
7' -- Not only is this a pride game for England, but it's also a de-facto tryout for a number of these young guys who hadn't seen the field when England was still in contention. Referring to guys like Luke Shaw, Jack Wilshere and Ross Barkley.
5' -- As if there was any doubt about their first two wins, Costa Rica looks outstanding on the ball in the early going. Good touches, aggressiveness, confidence.
3' - Joel Campbell flicks one from the top of the box and it should've been a corner after knocking off Cahill in the back. Refs missed it.
1' -- We're underway in the final Group D match.
PREGAME: Jorge Luis Pinto isn't resting on his team's six points as he'll start his two stars Bryan Ruiz and Joel Campbell up top against England's inexperienced starting XI. English manager Roy Hodgson made nine (!!) changes to his starting lineup in the wake of his team's elimination. It's young but full of potential.
Costa Rica has already advanced out of Group D and the real intrigue lies within the other match on Tuesday between Uruguay and Italy. All Costa Rica needs is a win or a draw to win the group. It could still win the group even with a loss if it maintains goal differential. The winner of Italy-Uruguay will advance, while a draw goes to Italy based on goal differential (currently at 0 for Italy, -1 for Uruguay).
Starters for Costa Rica: Navas, Duarte, Miller, Gamboa, Gonzalez, Diaz, Ruiz, Borges, Tejeda, Brenes, Campbell
Starters for Englad: Foster, Jones, Cahill, Smalling, Shaw, Lampard, Wilshere, Milner,Barkley, Lallana, Sturridge
England vs. Costa Rica (Group D) | Kickoff: 6/24, 12 p.m. ET | Stadium: Mineirao
Match Preview: Costa Rica hasn't made it out of the group stages since 1990, but Tuesday it has a chance to win Group D. All Los Ticos need is a draw against England and it will win the group and avoid playing likely Group C winner Colombia. After stunning Uruguay and then handling Italy, Costa Rica needs to ride its significant momentum as opposed to resting its starters.
England, on the other hand, has nothing to play for save for pride, and beating a Costa Rican team widely predicted to finish last would likely provide little solace.
Manager Roy Hodgson will field a vastly different lineup than we we saw against Italy and Uruguay. "I'm going to be picking [the team] with the view that all players who are with us get some minutes on the field," he said. "I will be changing the team to give others a chance to show what they can do. It's not purely planning for the future and not purely sentiment." That means Frank Lampard on for Steven Gerrard, and youngsters Luke Shaw and Ross Barkley should expect to see the field.
Costa Rican manager Jorge Luis Pinto may sit stars Bryan Ruiz and Joel Campbell in an effort to keep them fresh, or sub them on late depending on the score. Costa Rica should use its trademark defense to limit England's chances, which may be easier than expected given Hodgson's lineup. Either way, it's a position few thought Costa Rica would be in when the groups were drawn in December.