The Costa Rica soccer team showed that they have an undying spirit, when they won on penalties against Greece. The Central American team becomes the first CONCACAF representatives to advance to the World Cup quarterfinals.
In one of the most exciting matches so far, the Costa Rica soccer team came out on top, even though they were down a man after the ref showed a red card to Oscar Duarte in the 66th minute. Los Ticos had to fend off with 10-men for the duration of regulation and extra time.
Costa Rica soccer star Bryan Ruiz put his team up on the board first when he sent the ball into Greece’s net in the 52nd minute. Greece’s Sokratis Papastathopoulos scored the equalizer after regulation time was over, in the 91st minute.
With both teams on the verge of collapse due to the extreme humid and hot conditions in Recife, the match moved into extra time, but neither the Costa Rica soccer team nor Greece could break the tie after 30 minutes. With players on both sides looking clearly exhausted and out of replacements, it was time for the heartbreak of penalties.
This is how it went down on the shootout:
- Celso Borges scored for Costa Rica (1-0)
- Konstantinos Mitroglou scored for Greece (1-1)
- Bryan Ruiz scored for Costa Rica (2-1)
- Lazaros Christodoulopoulos scored for Greece (2-2)
- Giancarlo Gonzalez scored for Costa Rica (3-2)
- José Holebas scored for Greece (3-3)
- Joel Campbell scored for Costa Rica (4-3)
- Theofanis Gekas missed for Greece. Goalie Keylor Navas stopped the kick (4-3)
- Michael Umaña scored for Costa Rica (5-3)
The Costa Rica soccer team exploded in jubilant celebration after Umaña’s historic penalty conversion and all emotions were released on both sides. Players in the Central American team buckled on the field completely exhausted, drenched in sweat, but relieved beyond words. Greece was left devastated after the valiant effort.
Not only did the Costa Rica men’s soccer team defeat the tough squad from Greece and moved on to the next round for the first time in their history, they also became the first representative of the CONCACAF to advance to the quarterfinals of a World Cup. This is no small feat for the small FIFA confederation, and it is a reflection of how much it has improved in recent years.
The CONCACAF includes North and Central America, and the Caribbean. The teams belonging to this confederation are usually a non-factor in a World Cup, however, the Costa Rica soccer team has changed all that and was joined by Mexico and Team USA advancing to the round of 16.
Goalkeeper Keylor Navas was one of the biggest stars of the Costa Rica soccer team with his multiple saves during regulation and extra time. But none was more important than stopping that last penalty kick. Millions are celebrating the historic feat well into the night.
[Image via Twitter]