They said it couldn’t be done. But they did it, the Ticos defied doubters, winning two and tying the third to land on top of Group D.
Called the “Grupo de la Muerte” (Death Group), Costa Rica’s national team triumphed over three World Cup champions and unbeaten, followed up its wins over Uruguay and Italy by holding England to a dour 0-0 draw on Tuesday.
“It wasn’t the death group after all — at least not for us,” Costa Rica coach Jorge Luis Pinto said. He dedicated the qualification to “those who believed in us and those who didn’t.” “People started believing after the game against Italy,” he added.
Going into the game Tuesday only needed to a draw to stay on top of Group D, but they gave it their all anyways to move to the next round of play, Sunday at 2pm (Costa Rica) time against Greece.
In a way the Italians may be the authors of Costa Rica advancing past the round of 16 play, losing to Uruguay meant the Ticos would face Colombia, unbeaten in all three games and top of Group C.
“We will have to keep fighting,” Pinto said. “Whatever happens we are willing to fight.”