BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil (AP) — Costa Rica finished first in what many considered the World Cup’s toughest group after a dour, scoreless draw against England.
Costa Rica only needed a draw to top Group D and played that way, setting up in a defensive 5-3-2 formation.
The result gives Costa Rica its best World Cup performance, winning a group that contained former three world champions.
“We will have to keep fighting,” Costa Rica coach Jorge Luis Pinto said. “Whatever happens we are willing to fight.”
Ivory Coast 1
FORTALEZA, Brazil (AP) — Georgios Samaras scored an injury-time penalty to send Greece into the second round of the World Cup for the first time, eliminating Ivory Coast in the process.
Samaras was adjudged to have been tripped in the area by substitute Giovanni Sio, and calmly slotted in the spot kick for the win. Ivory Coast would have advanced with a draw.
“This means so much to me, to us ... Tonight we had energy,” Samaras said, dedicating the win to Greeks suffering through financial crisis.
Colombia 4, Japan 1
CUIABA, Brazil (AP) — James Rodriguez scored a brilliant goal and set up two more for Jackson Martinez as Colombia routed Japan 4-1 on Tuesday to confirm top spot in Group C and eliminate the Asian champions from the World Cup.
Already assured of advancing, Colombia guaranteed first place with its third straight win, setting up a second-round match against Uruguay. Japan finished with a draw and two losses in a disappointing campaign.
The Colombians started with a virtual second-string lineup but still went in front when Juan Cuadrado — one of the few regular starters — drilled in a 17th-minute penalty.
Japan equalized with the last touch of the first half through Shinji Okazaki’s header but Martinez scored in the 55th and 82nd minutes — both from superb passes from substitute Rodriguez — to put the result beyond doubt.
Rodriguez capped it off with his stunning solo goal in the 89th, turning his marker inside out before chipping the advancing goalkeeper with a deft finish that bore all the hallmarks of the great Lionel Messi.