Costa Rica has stunning victory against Italy and cements England's exit from the 2014 World Cup. Sarah Toms reports
There have been eight teams to win a World Cup. Costa Rica drew three of those teams in its group. The Ticos have now beaten two of those countries.
Costa Rica has officially become the Cinderella of the World Cup.
The Ticos, expected to be just a doormat in one of the most difficult groups in the tournament, instead have become one of the first teams to qualify for the knockout stage. Costa Rica downed Italy, 1-0, on Friday behind a Bryan Ruiz header to move atop Group D and secure a spot in the knockout stages.
Ruiz's header came just a minute after a penalty kick was not called, and Costa Rica employed a defensive formation to thwart Italy while controlling the game with its counterattacking style. The Ticos have proven they are not scared of going at any opponent -- no matter the name or prestige attached to that squad.
"I think it’s only now, a little after the game, that it's sinking in how much this achievement will mean to the people of Costa Rica," Ruiz said.
In other games yesterday...
* France proved it should be considered one of the absolute favorites to win the tournament moving forward, trouncing Switzerland, 5-2, to advance to the knockout stage. Les Bleus did what they wanted against a very solid defensive Switzerland team, going up five goals before two late Swiss tallies made the scoreline somewhat more respectable.
Karim Benzema is in fine form and helped lead France with a goal, while Olivier Giroud, Mathieu Valbuena, Moussa Sissoko and Blaise Matuidi also found the back of the net.
At the very least, France has proved to be one of the most fun teams to watch in the tournament. Watch the full highlights here.
* Ecuador downed Honduras, 2-1, to eliminate the Catrachos from the tournament.
Enner Valencia scored twice to lead Ecuador to the win and keep their hopes alive as they head into the final group games.
In today's games...
12 p.m. ESPN - Argentina vs. Iran - After a 2-1 win over Bosnia and Herzegovina to open the tournament, Lionel Messi and company will look for a more convincing performance against Iran in the second group game. Messi scored his first World Cup goal since 2006 in the last game, and he will surely be involved again in this one.
Keep an eye on: Argentina midfielder Angel di Maria, the Real Madrid midfielder who is part of the dynamic attacking style for La Albiceleste.
3 p.m. ESPN - Germany vs. Ghana - In an important game for U.S. fans to keep tabs on, Germany will look to continue its dominant form against a Ghana team that must rebound from its loss to the U.S. A Germany win would put them through and possibly help the U.S.
Keep an eye on: Germany's Mesut Ozil, the player dubbed "Avatar eyes" by Ray Hudson, Ozil had a breakout run in 2010 and was awarded best young player of the tournament. Now, he employs his beautiful passing abilities with Arsenal.
6 p.m. ESPN - Nigeria vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina - Two teams who will be playing for the second spot in Group F. Bosnia looked solid in the opener against Argentina, while Nigeria struggled against Iran.
Keep an eye on: Nigeria's goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama, who will likely play a featured role against Bosnia's talented attack. He'll have to have a big game today to help his team earn points.
Follow Paul on Twitter @PaulTenorio.