England held by Costa Rica

England’s World Cup journey ended with a 0-0 draw as they were unable to break down a resolute Costa Rica side in Belo Horizonte.

Despite the lion’s share of possession they just could not make the most of the chances that came their way.

Costa Rica 0-0 England

2014 FIFA World Cup
Group D
Estadio Mineirao, Belo Horizonte
Tuesday 24 June 2014

The result means that Roy Hodgson’s men head home from Brazil with one point, while their unbeaten opponents go through to the knockouts as group winners.

England were desperate to end their tournament on a high, and Hodgson named a young side – average age 25 – with only Daniel Sturridge and Gary Cahill retaining their places. 

The youngest, 18-year-old Luke Shaw, was starting his first competitive game for the Three Lions at left-back, while the oldest, 36-year-old Frank Lampard, was captain for his 106th appearance.

Costa Rica, the group’s surprise package, came out of the traps quickly, though, controlling the early stages and almost opened the scoring inside two minutes. Joel Campbell’s shot took a deflection off Gary Cahill, left Ben Foster stranded, and drifted just wide.

England began to get more into the game, and after good build-up play down the left between Shaw, Adam Lallana and Jack Wilshere, the ball was played into Sturridge 20 yards from goal. 

The Liverpool man created a yard of space before striking goalwards, but it curled beyond the dive of Keylor Navas, and his post. A dipping volley moments later was also off target.

Daniel Sturridge has his run on goal checked by Oscar Duarte

Daniel Sturridge has his run on goal checked by Oscar Duarte

Ben Foster had to be at his best the other end when he kept out a superb Celso Borges free-kick that was heading into the top corner. The West Brom man tipping onto the bar at full stretch.

The game was being broken up frequently by soft fouls, and England had a real shout for a penalty when Sturridge went down inside the box. Having pounced on a defensive mistake from Costa Rica, Lallana and Milner combined before a cross into the box was nodded down by Barkley into the path of the striker. As he went to pull the trigger, he was clipped by a defender, but the referee was not convinced.

Sturridge again came close with 10 minutes of the first half left when Barkley’s deep corner was headed back across the middle by Phil Jones. Sturridge could only nod over. There were signs that England were beginning to open up

Ross Barkley bursts past Oscar Duarte

Ross Barkley bursts past Oscar Duarte

Barkley was becoming instrumental in much of England’s attacking play, always looking to go forward when in possession. And he was unlucky not to at least find the target with a chance just before half-time, but was closed out by tight Costa Rican defending.

Hodgson’s men continued to push for a goal and had openings through Sturridge and Lallana after the turn-around, but neither could finish off inside the box. Then another powerful run from Barkley was halted by a robust foul by Giancarlo Gonzalez 20 yards out. Lampard’s free-kick hit the wall.

Foster was rarely called into action, only a long-range effort from Christian Bolanos asked questions, as Raheem Sterling was added to the England attack in place of Lallana.

But they could not find that goal and another chance was squandered when Sturridge saw an effort narrowly miss the upright after a neat interchange with Jack Wilshere on the edge of the area.  

Luke Shaw runs away from Bryan Ruiz

Luke Shaw runs away from Bryan Ruiz

Hodgson’s final throw of the dice was to bring Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney in with 15 minutes left as the ball spent much of the time in England’s possession.

Rooney was quickly into the action and forced Navas to palm a 20-yard chip over the bar and, with two minutes left, launched himself at a Gerrard free-kick, but could not connect as another opportunity went begging.

And as Uruguay beat Italy, it is the Azzurri who join England on the plane home.

Costa Rica (3-3-2-2): 1 Keylor Navas; 6 Oscar Duarte, 3 Giancarlo Gonzalez, 19 Roy Miller; 16 Cristian Gamboa, 5 Celso Borges, 15 Junior Diaz; 10 Bryan Ruiz (C), 17 Yeltsin Tejeda; 14 Randall Brenes, 9 Joel Campbell.

Substitutes: 7 Cristian Bolanos (for Brenes) 59, 21 Marcos Urena (for Campbell) 65, 11 Michael Barrantes (for Borges) 78.

Bookings: Gonzalez.

Substitutes not used: 2 Johnny Acosta, 4 Michael Umana, 7 Cristian Bolanos, 8 Dave Myrie, 12 Waylon Francis, 13 Oscar Granados, 18 Patrick Pemberton, 20 Diego Calvo, 23 Daniel Cambronero.

Injured: 22 Jose Cubero.

Head coach: Jose Luis Pinto.

England (4-3-2-1): 13 Ben Foster; 16 Phil Jones, 12 Chris Smalling, 5 Gary Cahill, 23 Luke Shaw; 21 Ross Barkley, 8 Frank Lampard (C), 7 Jack Wilshere; 17 James Milner, 20 Adam Lallana; 9 Daniel Sturridge.

Substitutes: 19 Raheem Sterling (for Lallana) 62, 4 Steven Gerrard (for Wilshere) 73, 10 Wayne Rooney (for Milner) 76.

Substitutes not used: 1 Joe Hart, 2 Glen Johnson, 6 Phil Jagielka, 10 Wayne Rooney, 11 Danny Welbeck, 14 Jordan Henderson, 18 Rickie Lambert, 22 Fraser Forster.

Bookings: Barkley, Lallana.

Injured: 3 Leighton Baines, 15 Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Manager: Roy Hodgson.

Referee: Djamel Haimoudi (Algeria).

Assistant: Radouane Achik and Abdelhak Etchiali (Algeria).