2014 World Cup: England Can Only Look Forward After Draw In Meaningless Game vs. Costa Rica

England midfielder Ross Barkley

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Costa Rica seemed fully content to come away with a draw as they had already qualified for the knockout round of the World Cup before their clash with England even began on Tuesday.

England actually seemed to be in control for most of the match, which ended 0-0, as manager Roy Hodgson gave an opportunity to most of the younger players in their final contest of the group stage. Players like Daniel SturridgeRoss Barkley, Jack Wilshere, Adam Lallana, Luke Shaw and Chris Smalling all played an impressive match, while Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard may have played their final match in an England shirt, with the latter appearing only as a late substitute to a roar of applause.

The creativity and speed were on display for England, but where they were lacking was their execution in the final third. The final passes to put players in on goal eluded teammates far too often.

With Costa Rica ahead of the group and guaranteed a spot in the knockout round, they frequently had large numbers behind the ball and only looked to counter aggressively in the latter stages of the game. This strategy presented England with more looks on net as they outshot Costa Rica 9-4.

The best look for Costa Rica came when Joel Campbell‘s free kick was tipped onto the crossbar and over by England keeper Ben Foster in the 23rd minute. England’s best chance came from Sturridge after he danced on the edge of the box before playing a neat one-two combo with Wilshere that put him in on net at a difficult angle. Sturridge’s curled shot flew about a foot from the far post and had Costa Rican keeper Keylor Navas frozen.

Costa Rica will move on to play the runner-up in Group C, which will be decided in the later contests as Japan faces Colombia, while Ivory Coast will take on Greece. England’s disappointing campaign comes to a close as they managed just a single point in one of the toughest groups, but with all the talent they possess playing the English Premier League, considered by many to be the top league in the world, one can’t help but consider this a massive failure.

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