Goalkeeper Keylor Navas was Costa Rica's hero as his penalty shoot-out save put ten-man Costa Rica into the World Cup quarter-finals for the first time after a 1-1 draw in extra time against Greece in Recife.
Los Ticos will face Netherlands in the last eight following a hard-earned shoot-out win at the end of a tense, cagey match between two of the surprise qualifiers for the knockout phase.
Bryan Ruiz scored seven minutes into the second half when he spotted Greek goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis out of position and simply side-footed the ball into the bottom right corner from the edge of the box.
Oscar Duarte was then sent off 14 minutes later for a second yellow card - a decision he accepted without a murmur - but the Central American side appeared to have held on until Greek defender Sokratis chose the perfect moment to score his maiden international goal, an equaliser shinned into the goal from a rebound in injury time.
Only a fine save from Navas prevented Greece from pinching it at the death - and Navas was again the hero with a brilliant save from Theofanis Gekas in an otherwise-perfect shootout, with Michael Umana converting Costa Rica's fifth penalty to put his side into the last eight.
PRE-MATCH: Campbell and Samaras lead the attacks: It's Arsenal's starlet, Joel Campbell versus Celtic's Georgios Samaras in the battle of two sides no-one predicted to face-off in the last 16. Costa Rica pick the same team that beat Italy 1-0 in the group stage while Greece bow to social media pressure and leave Kostas Katsouranis out.
7' - COSTA RICA CHANCE! Ruiz picks up a loose ball 40 yards out and plays in Bolanos who sears a shot past the near upright.
38' - STUNNING SAVE! A wonderful ball from the left is met by Salpingidis at the far post, but Navas somehow keeps it out.
52' - GOAL! COSTA RICA 1-0 GREECE. Ruiz opens the scoring with a shot from the edge of the area after Bolanos picked him out from the left. It lacked pace but completely fooled the keeper who thought it was going to fizz towards his right-hand post. It didn't and Cost Rica lead!
54' - PENALTY SHOUT - It should be a penalty as a cross from the right is touched by the hand of Torosidis. Greece with a great escape!
66' - RED CARD! Duarte sent off! It's a second yellow for a late tackle on Holebas. Costa Rica down to 10-men.
88' - GREECE CHANCE! Christodoulopoulos glides to the right byline and drills a low ball towards Mitroglou who can't convert and Navas is able to gather.
90+1' - GOAL! COSTA RICA 1-1 GREECE. They've done it!!!!! Papastathopoulos pounces on the rebound after Gekas' shot on the turn was beaten out by the keeper. Extra time beckons.
90+3' - GREECE CHANCE! Mitroglou glances a header at goal and Navas tips it over the top!
107' - COSTA RICA CHANCE. Brenes gets in behind a complacent Greek defence but hammers his right-foot shot wide of the upright.
108' - GREECE CHANCE. Katsouranis slips a slide-rule pass into the left channel for Gekas but Navas comes off his line to thwart the forward.
113' - GREECE CHANCE. Five Greeks break on two defenders from the corner... It's played to Christodoulopoulos who drills a shot at the keeper. They should have walked that in!
120' - GREECE CHANCE. Mitroglou latches onto a flick on and sees his shot brilliantly saved by the keeper! Astonishing stuff.
GOAL! 1-0 Costa Rica. Borges steps up and hammers it high and true into the net.
GOAL! 1-1. Mitroglou confidently runs up and coolly waits for the keeper to dive to his left before sticking it the other side.
GOAL! 2-1 Costa Rica. Ruiz thumps a left footer into the roof of the net with the keeper diving out of the way.
GOAL! 2-2. Christodoulopoulos stutters his run... and buries it!!! Four out of four so far.
GOAL! Gonzalez for Ticos... SCORES! 3-2 Costa Rica.
GOAL! Holebas looking to keep this perfect run of spot-kicks going... and he SCORES. 3-3. No one has blinked yet!
GOAL! 4-3 Costa Rica. Arsenal's Campbell strolls up looking absolutely shattered, but still manages to slot it into the left-hand corner.
SAVED! It's still 4-3 and advantage Costa Rica! Gekas sees his low shot saved by Navas who dives to his right and pushes it away.
GOAL! It's 5-3 and Costa Rica WIN! Umana steps up and makes no mistake, lashing home the decisive kick to send Costa Rica into the last eight!!!
TALKING POINT: Can Costa Rica keep surprising us? Ticos topped a group containing the more fancied England, Italy and Uruguay and no-one is expecting them to go much further. But they have a never-say-die spirit that continues to see them prevail and despite playing an hour with 10-men they held on for penalties. Even the blow of conceding a last-gasp equaliser in normal time couldn't knock them out of their stride. Holland will be huge favourites to make the last four, but in this tournament in the spiritual home of football, anything seems possible.
Oscar Duarte is the first Costa Rica player to be sent-off at the World Cup.
Bryan Ruiz scored with Costa Rica’s only shot on target in the match.
Sokratis’ goal was the first Costa Rica had conceded from open play in the 2014 World Cup.
Sokratis scored the 145th goal of the 2014 World Cup. The 2010 World Cup featured 145 goals in total.
The Greeks have scored five goals in 10 World Cup games.
Greece had 70% of possession in the second half of the match.
Greece enjoyed more possession in the whole game (60%) than in any other World Cup match in their history.
This match featured the joint most cards in a game at this World Cup (7: 6Y 1R), the same as Brazil v Chile.
There were just two shots on target in extra-time (both from Greece).
Costa Rica have remained unbeaten in four World Cup games for the very first time (W2 D2).
Greece have drawn two of their last three World Cup matches (W1); having drawn none of the first seven (W1 L6).
Only Alexis Sanchez (24) has been fouled more than Georgios Samaras (21) and Joel Campbell (19) so far at the World Cup.
The last team from CONCACAF to go further than the last 16 at the World Cup were the USA in 2002.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Keylor Navas (Costa Rica): It could only be the goalkeeper. A stunning save in the first half was followed by a one-man mission to keep his country in it during extra-time as he produced a series of fine stops. He followed it up with the key block to deny Gekas from the spot in the shoot-out, allowing Umana to win it.
Greece: Karnezis 6, Maniatis 6, Manolas 6, Samaris 6, Karagounis 7, Salpingidis 6, Torosidis 7, Lazaros 6, Sokratis 7, Cholevas 6, Samaras 7. Subs: Mitroglou 7, Gekas 7, Katsouranis 6.
Costa Rica: Navas 9, Gonzalez 7, Duarte 4, Gamboa 7, Umaña 7, Diaz 7, Borges 7, Bolanos 7, Tejeda 6, Ruiz 7, Campbell 7. Subs: Cubero 7, Acosta 6, Brenes 7.
MATCH IN A TWEET
- Sports & Recreation
- Costa Rica
- Keylor Navas
- Theofanis Gekas