Friday 26 December 2014

Greeks pay the penalty as Costa Rica's World fairytale continues

Costa Rica 1 Greece 1 (Costa Rica win 5-3 on penalties)

Published 30/06/2014 | 00:03

Costa Rica's players celebrate after the deciding goal during a penalty shootout in their 2014 World Cup round of 16 game against Greece at the Pernambuco arena in Recife
Costa Rica's players celebrate after the deciding goal during a penalty shootout in their 2014 World Cup round of 16 game against Greece at the Pernambuco arena in Recife
Costa Rica's Bryan Ruiz celebrates with his teammate Yeltsin Tejeda after scoring his side's first goal during the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Costa Rica and Greece at the Arena Pernambuco in Recife, Brazil, Sunday, June 29, 2014. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
Sokratis Papastathopoulos of Greece celebrates scoring his team's first goal with teammates during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Round of 16 match between Costa Rica and Greece in Recife, Brazil.
Greece's Sokratis Papastathopoulos (19) celebrates after scoring a goal during their 2014 World Cup round of 16 game against Costa Rica at the Pernambuco arena in Recife
Greece's players celebrate their late equaliser against Costa Rica in the round of 16 game at the Pernambuco arena in Recife
Referee Benjamin Williams of Australia shows Costa Rica's Oscar Duarte (6) the red card during the 2014 World Cup round of 16 game between Costa Rica and Greece at the Pernambuco arena in Recife June 29, 2014. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich (BRAZIL - Tags: SOCCER SPORT WORLD CUP)
Costa Rica's Bryan Ruiz, right, scores the opening goal during the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Costa Rica and Greece at the Arena Pernambuco in Recife, Brazil, Sunday, June 29, 2014. (AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan)

Costa Rica are through to their first ever World Cup quarter-final after recovering from a second-half red card, a late Greece leveller and an extra-time barrage to progress on penalties.

Los Ticos have been the tournament's surprise package in Brazil, overcoming Uruguay and Italy before holding England to a goalless draw as they won Group D.

That dream run continued in Recife on Sunday as they rode their luck against Greece to win a tense clash at the Arena Pernambuco, triumphing 5-3 on penalties to set-up a quarter-final clash against the Netherlands.

The Central Americans came into this match in the unusual role as favourites and looked to be wilting under the pressure, with only an exquisite stop by goalkeeper Keylor Navas stopping Dimitris Salpingidis from giving Greece a first-half lead.

Los Ticos were struggling to replicate the form they had shown in the group stage but managed to open the scoring with their first shot on target, as Bryan Ruiz directed home in the 52nd minute.

Costa Rica should have had a penalty soon after and were reduced to 10 men after 66 minutes, with Oscar Duarte's sending-off eventually telling in stoppage-time as Sokratis Papastathopoulos struck to take the match into extra-time.

There was to be no separating the sides in those 30 minutes, though, and, after Greece coach Fernando Santos was sent to the stands, the match was decided on spot-kicks, with Navas saving Theofanis Gekas' penalty before Michael Umana scored the decider.

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