Costa Rica stun Italy, France crush Switzerland

Fri Jun 20, 2014 6:01pm EDT
 
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By Mike Collett-White

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Another European heavyweight fell to Latin American opposition on Friday as Costa Rica shocked Italy 1-0, putting the four-times champions' qualification in peril, but France thumped Switzerland 5-2 in an imperious World Cup display.

After yet another upset in Brazil, Costa Rica's win put them top of Group D and eliminated England, while Italy and Uruguay must now fight it out for the other qualification spot when they meet in Natal on Tuesday.

Luis Suarez will be fit for that game, a huge boost to Uruguay's chances after he scored both goals in a 2-1 victory over England on Thursday.

That will add to concerns for Italy after they were humbled by unfancied Costa Rica in another fairytale twist to a World Cup full of surprises.

Bryan Ruiz's header in the first half separated the sides, leaving delirious Costa Rica fans dancing in the sunshine at Recife's Pernambuco arena after a second successive win.

"We kept up our heads. It was a beautiful match... The people of Costa Rica deserve this. They supported the team and me. This was for them," said ecstatic coach Jorge Luis Pinto.

Italy coach Cesare Prandelli sought to stay positive ahead of the Uruguay clash, with his side needing only a draw to qualify due to superior goal difference.

"Right now I don't think we need to be negative, we need to think about recovering our energies because we have another game in a few days' time, we play against Uruguay and whether we qualify depends on that," Prandelli told reporters.   Continued...

 
Costa Rica's players celebrate after their teammate Bryan Ruiz (on the ground) scored a goal against Italy during their 2014 World Cup Group D soccer match at the Pernambuco arena in Recife June 20, 2014. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich