In yet another heart-stopping World Cup Round of 16 match, the encounter had to be decided on penalties between Costa Rica and Greece. The former survived 4-3 after playing the majority of the match with a man down and allowing a last-minute equalizer in regulation. They are in the quarterfinals for the first time in their history.
Bryan Ruiz opened the scoring then was forced to drop back into the midfield, leaving the quiet Joel Campbell alone up top after Oscar Duarte was ejected in the 66th minute of play. He proved that he is the captain of this team by setting the great example. To put the icing on the cake, he scored his penalty kick without any mistake or hesitation.
This game was not won by Costa Rica but instead lost by Greece who had so many chances to win the game. They were the better side in the first half when both sides were at full strength. Their defense and midfield clicked beautifully, but their scoring proved to be an issue once again. In fact, their regulation equalizer was scored by center back Sokratis Papastathopoulos who was also strong in the back. The penalty miss from Theofanis Gekas showed that even their strikers are shaky when it comes down to it.
This was Greece’s debut when it came to penalties. They had no prior experience whereas Costa Rica had two previous matches decided by this stage in the Gold Cup with both resulting in losses. Now they have earned a date with the Netherlands for their quarterfinal match next Saturday, July 5, 2014.