Italy's Andrea Pirlo (C) gestures to his teammate Mario Balotelli after he was shown a yellow card during their 2014 World Cup match against Costa Rica at the Pernambuco arena in Recife on June 20. Photo by Dominic Ebenbichler, Reuters
RECIFE- Costa Rica beat Italy 1-0 on Friday to secure their progress to the World Cup knockout stage from a Group D containing three previous winners and guarantee England's first-round exit.
Captain Bryan Ruiz met Junior Diaz's cross from the left with a great 44th-minute header to cap an excellent first-half display by his team, who had a strong penalty claim turned down moments earlier.
Mario Balotelli wasted two good early opportunities for the four-times winners but Italy failed to impose themselves on the game as the group outsiders played with confidence and control to claim their second victory.
Costa Rica lead the group on six points and go into the knockout stage for the second time. Italy and Uruguay, who meet on Tuesday, each have three points but Italy's superior goal difference means they need only a draw to go through. England, on zero points, are now certain to go out at the group stage for the first time since 1958.