2014 World Cup: Costa Rica Becomes First CONCACAF Team to Advance to Knockout Rounds

courtesy fifa.com

courtesy fifa.com

On Friday, Costa Rica became the first team from CONCACAF to advance to the knockout rounds. I’d be lying if I told you I thought they would win a single game,, yet alone advance from the Group D — a group also known as the Group of Champions.

How did they do it?

In their first match last Saturday in Fortaleza, Costa Rica faced off against Uruguay. They came away with a 3-1 win over a team that four years ago in South Africa made it all the way to the semi-finals. Uruguay was also without forward Luis Suarez, who was still recovering from a knee procedure he had undergone on May 22nd. In all honestly, I don’t think Suarez would have helped that much; he would have made Uruguay more dangerous, but in the end it wouldn’t have mattered.

The second match took place on Friday in Recife against four time World Cup Champion, Italy. Costa Rica came away with an impressive 1-0 win over Italy and punched their ticket to the knockout rounds after England lost the night before 2-1 to Uruguay. Some may say that Italy outplayed Costa Rica and deserved the win more, but wins are all that truly matter.

Costa Rica will play their third and final match of the group stage on Tuesday against England in Belo Horizonte. Some will say this final match doesn’t matter, but it does. Costa Rica will be looking for another three points so they can finish atop of the group with 9 points and a perfect record.

I did not expect Costa Rica would haveĀ a chance to win the group when the draw was announced back in December. Now they are only 90 minutes away from accomplishing that feat; I will be pulling for them to do so.

Related Likes:

2014 World Cup Nation Profile: Costa Rica

Chris Blakely writes for Stoppage Time Soccer. You can follow him on Twitter @TheRealCBlakely.

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