Costa Rica follows Uruguay win with 1-0 upset of Italy
RECIFE, Brazil (AP) — Costa Rica followed up its surprise win over Uruguay with another upset World Cup victory on Friday, beating four-time champion Italy 1-0 to secure a spot in the next round and eliminate England in the process.
Costa Rica captain Bryan Ruiz scored in the 44th minute, heading in off the underside of the crossbar following a cross from Junior Diaz. Goal-line technology was used to show that the ball bounced down and in after hitting the bar.
There was a frenetic end to the first half, as moments before Ruiz's goal Costa Rica had a penalty appeal waved away when striker Joel Campbell was bundled over by Giorgio Chiellini.
Costa Rica leads Group D with six points, while Italy and Uruguay have three each.
So after entering the tournament as an expected underdog in a group featuring three former world champions, Costa Rica is now on top.
"Maybe there are a lot of people who didn't have faith in us because we were in the 'Group of Death'. But the dead are the other ones and we're going to the next round," Ruiz said.
FRANCE 5, SWITZERLAND 2
SALVADOR, Brazil — Forwards Olivier Giroud and Karim Benzema each scored one goal and created another as a rampant France thrashed Switzerland on Friday to take control of Group E and all but seal a place in the next round.
France has six points with a game remaining against Ecuador, which moved into second place — edging Switzerland on goal difference — with a win over Honduras.
Giroud and Blasie Matuidi scored a minute apart and Mathieu Valbuena added another to give France a 3-0 halftime lead.
Benzema made up for a first-half penalty miss with a poacher's finish in the 67th, and then turned provider for Moussa Sissoko, who made it 5-0 with a neat side-footed effort in the 73rd.
Switzerland pulled back two consolation goals, with Blerim Dzemaili sending a free kick under the defensive wall in the 81st and Granit Xhaka slotting in the second in the 87th.
Benzema thought he had scored his second — and the goal of the night — but his curling, first-time strike wasn't allowed because Dutch referee Bjorn Kuipers blew his whistle for full time just seconds before the shot.
ECUADOR 2, HONDURAS 1
CURITIBA, Brazil (AP) — Ecuador forward Enner Valencia scored two goals in a comeback victory over Honduras that kept his team in contention at the World Cup.
Ecuador moved into second spot in Group E on three points — ahead of Switzerland on goal difference — with a game remaining against group-leading France, which has tallied eight goals and conceded two in a pair of dominating wins.
Honduras took the lead in the 31st minute with its first World Cup goal in 32 years when Carlo Costly latched onto a long ball following a misjudgment from Ecuador defender Jorge Guagua. The goal ended a 511-minute drought that stretched back to the 1982 World Cup.
Valencia equalized three minutes later, tapping in with his left foot from close range after Brayan Beckeles had failed to clear a cross from the right, and added the winner in the 65th minute when he out-jumped the Honduras defense to head home a free kick from Walter Ayovi.