Costa Rica survived a Greek comeback and a red card to win the teams’ Round of 16 match 5-3 in a penalty shootout on Sunday after the game ended 1-1, keeping its improbable World Cup run alive.
Michael Umana scored the shootout winner and keeper Keylor Navas made a brilliant penalty stop on Theofanis Gekas to claim the win.
Greece tied the match one minute into injury time, when Sokratis Papastathopoulos scored on a scramble in the Costa Rican box, sending the game to extra time.
Bryan Ruiz looked like he had the winner for Costa Rica when he scored in the 52nd minute to give his side a 1-0 lead.
Oscar Duarte got his second yellow card in the 66th minute and was sent off, leaving Costa Rica down a man and opening the door for a Greek comeback.
One of the best shootouts you’ll ever see tilted Costa Rica’s way with a magnificent stop by Navas on Gekas, and it allowed Umana to become a national hero with the final kick of the match.
Man of the match
Keylor Navas. The Costa Rican keeper made two world-class saves before his stop on Gekas in the shootout. Kept Greece at bay when Los Ticos were down to 10 men, hobbled, and without a substitution left.
The last nine World Cup matches that have gone to a shootout have been won by the team who kicks first.
It was a good day for…
Taking notes on penalty kicks. Each high-pressure kick was taken very well, even Gekas’ effort, which took all of Navas’ effort to stop. Every single team should record that penalty shootout and save it for reference.
It was a bad day for…
Ball-watching. Sometimes, the movement of a soccer ball can be hypnotizing. The worst time this can affect someone is when they are playing in a World Cup match, and trying to prevent said ball from entering their net, slowly.
They said it
"To the entire people in Costa Rica, those at home and out on the streets, this is for you... This is a people that love football and they deserve it. ... We will continue fighting. We will go on. We see beautiful things." — Costa Rica coach Jorge Luis Pinto
"Definitely sadness. Not much [else] goes through your mind at that time." — Greece coach Fernando Santos
What this means
For the first time in its history, Costa Rica is off to the quarter-finals. Next up is the Netherlands on Saturday (CBC TV, cbc.ca/fifaworldcup, 4 p.m. ET). Though the Dutch will be favoured, they looked vulnerable against strong defensive play, and were two minutes away from elimination because of it. Costa Rica shouldn’t be counted out.
The Greeks very nearly pulled off two miraculous comebacks in a row, but offensive issues came back to bite them once again, as they couldn’t find the knockout blow against a spent 10-man force in extra time.