The FIFA World Cup dream came to an end for the final surviving CONCACAF team in a penalty shoot-out after a 0-0 at the Arena Fonte Nova stadium in Salvador, Brazil. Costa Rica, stand out team for the North American Confederation, fell 4-3 in a penalty shoot-out against The Netherlands in the quarterfinals of Brazil 2014.
“No one likes to be left out. The lesson is this: we can leave with our heads up,” Costa Rica goalkeeper Keylor Navas said. “We didn’t lose a single game, we only lost in penalties. That says a lot about this group.”
Costa Rica drew Uruguay, Italy and Uruguay for their group. The Ticos were not expected to earn a single point against the three former world champions, let alone win the group. But they stunned the world with a 3-1 victory over Uruguay in their first game. The second was a 1-0 over four time champion Italy. They ended Group D play with a 0-0 against England.
Ending top of their group gave them the chance to play the second place team of Group C, Greece. In the Round of 16 the 2004 European champions took the Ticos to limit. The hero was Navas who stopped Theofanis Gekas’ shot sending Costa Rica to the quarterfinals, the farthest they have reached in their three appearances at the maximum tournament.
The Dutch on the other hand, won a controversial game against CONCACAF giant Mexico. Bayern Munich superstar Arjen Robben was involved in a controversial play that led to a penalty against El Tri. But in the game against Costa Rica the Orange machine could do nothing to get past Navas. After 120 minutes of game time, the last semifinalist would be decided from the spot.
At point blank range, Navas could do nothing to stop the four shots that came from the Dutch side. However, Bryan Ruiz and Michael Umaña erred on their shots and there was no need for Holland did not need to take their fifth shot.
“We’re all proud, for the effort we gave the jersey, for the team’s attitude,” Costa Rica Coach Jorge Luis Pinto said. “We’re not a powerhouse team. We work with what we have, and we leave without losing a game at the world cup.”