Solitary Point Proves Too Little Too Late

[Ben Stansall]

Costa Rica 0-0 England

England claimed their first and last point of the group-stage yesterday evening with a dull 0-0 draw with the group winners Costa Rica. Despite becoming the only team in Group D to avoid defeat to the Central Americans, England stretched their winless record to five matches.

Roy Hodgson made nine changes to the side that faced Uruguay, with only Sturridge and Cahill retaining their place in the starting XI. Costa Rica made just two changes, and one of those, Randall Brenes, set Joel Campbell up for the first chance of the game. Campbell fired through the ball, but Gary Cahill put a mean deflection on the shot, which flew just wide. A wile later, and as Wilshere ran at Costa Rica, he passed to Sturridge, who curled his shot slightly off target.

Despite England’s positive play and possession dominance throughout the match, the best chance of the match fell Costa Rica’s way. Celso Borges, their midfield general, whipped a direct free-kick across Ben Foster. Though the West Bromwich Albion goalkeeper produced a world class save to tip the ball onto his crossbar.

England’s best chances of the match were continuously squandered by lead striker Daniel Sturridge, and he was given a missed another chance shortly after Borges’ free-kick. A Ross Barkley corner-kick was nodded back into the area by Phil Jones, but Sturridge somehow headed the ball quite a way over the crossbar.

Minutes later, a deflected Luke Shaw drive found its way to Sturridge, whose first touc was too clumsy and was gathered by Navas, Costa Rica’s worst class goalkeeper. Phil Jones, often prone to making mistakes, passed the ball to Cost Rica, and Bolaños’ long range shot was caught expertly by Foster.

The best England chance unsurprisingly fell to Sturridge. He passed centrally to Wilshere who played a quality through ball to him. He sprinted to get to it, but curled it inches past the back post. It was a brilliant chance wasted. Sub Wayne Rooney had a decent chance, a chip from outside the box, but Navas tipped over well, and the match ended, rather dully 0-0.

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