Costa Rica stun Italy, France crush Switzerland

Fri Jun 20, 2014 9:18pm EDT
 
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By Mike Collett-White

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Another European soccer heavyweight fell to Latin American opposition on Friday as Costa Rica shocked Italy 1-0, putting the four-times champions' qualification in doubt, 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.

In the Friday's third game, goals in each half from striker Enner Valencia gave Ecuador a 2-1 win over Honduras in World Cup Group E to boost their hopes of making the last 16.

France top the group with six points, while Ecuador and Switzerland each have three. Honduras have now lost twice and are facing likely elimination.

Uruguay received a boost on Friday, after it was confirmed that Luis Suarez would be fit to face Italy in a game the South Americans must win to qualify. The forward scored both goals in the 2-1 victory over England on Thursday.

That will add to concerns for Italy after they were humbled by Costa Rica with the central Americans putting in another impressive performance after earlier defeating Uruguay 3-1.

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 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.   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