The already qualified Costa Rica used clever tactics against Roy Hodgson’s eliminated men, allowing them time on the ball but defending strongly when the threat veered too close to their goal. The CONCACAF surprise package worked hard and deserved the draw but England didn’t show anywhere near enough tenacity, especially in the final third of the pitch.
England lined up with a hugely changed team from the previous games, Roy Hodgson opting to try something different but it didn’t have the potency required. A Lampard headed effort going out for a throw-in summed up how lethal England were in front of goal.
England had more of the chances in the opening half; three meaningful opportunities for Sturridge and Barkley had a chance that he should’ve put much closer to the target, but nothing to hugely trouble Navas in the Costa Rican goal.
The biggest opportunity of the half for the Tico’s was ruled offside, a decision that could be held in question. Outside of that, England did a decent job of keeping the Costa Ricans quiet, but it was obvious they were saving their energy for the Round of 16. The biggest exertion of effort by Jorge Luis Pinto’s men being their off the ball positioning, to cut out England’s runs and passing play.
The second half saw the Three Lions continue in the same vein, Lallana creating a good chance on the left wing but waited too long to put his cross in and in the end it was easy for Navas to get to the ball before Sturridge.
Just after an hour, Costa Rica sprung to life with a long range effort from substitute Bolanos but Foster dealt with it well. England hit right back and Sturridge missed a massive chance when he put it wide of the far post after a great one-two with Wilshere. Team-mate Sterling was waiting in the box but Sturridge went for goal.
The game ended with more chances but still nothing that ever looked likely to break the deadlock.
England have a big rebuilding job ahead of them and the first priority will need to be settling on a line-up and formation. The uncertainty and changes seen of late will never lead them to any kind of stability or success.
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