By Sportswriter Pan Yi
BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil, June 24 (Xinhua) -- Costa Rica, which had already survived the World Cup Group D, tied 0-0 here on Tuesday with England, which had been out before the match.
Costa Rica held their heads high into the round of 16, topping the Group of Death, also containing former champions Italy and Uruguay, with seven points. Costa Rica had stunned Uruguay 3-1 and Italy 1-0.
Uruguay finished second with six points after edging England 2-1 and Italy 1-0.
Former champions England, one of the favorites, just collected a consolation point today to sit at the bottom.
Costa Rica coach Luis Pinto said,"I know how difficult it is for us to survive a group including three former world champions. I don't agree to the comments that Costa Rica only depend on luck."
"We have proved that we can play football with good quality," Pinto noted.
In their last match of the group stage, Roy Hodgson made a host of changes for England's starting line-up, but Costa Rica fielded a strong starting 11, hoping to win the group. Pinto only left key midfielder Christian Bolanos to the bench.
Hodgson said after the game that many players on the pitch today are very young and lack of experience.
"But the whole team is in high spirit and win our fans' support," he added.
"Apart from the first 10 minutes, we dominated the match," he noted.
Only two minutes into the game, Costa Rican forward Joel Campbell found space on the edge of the English box and stroke towards goal, but the ball deflected off defender Gary Cahill and went behind.
In the 12th minute, England's midfielder Jack Wilshere burst through the Costa Rica midfield and sent the ball into forward Daniel Sturridge who received the ball on the half-turn. Sturridge's powerful shot went wide of the scrambling keeper Keylor Navas' left-hand post.
On 23rd minute, Costa Rican midfielder Celso Borges whipped a devilish free-kick towards goal, which arced to the opposite side of the English wall. Ben Foster stretched and tipped the ball on to the bar and it went out for a corner.
Around the 35th minute, after a succession of corner kicks, England midfielder Ross Barkley whipped a deep ball in from the left. Phil Jones nodded the ball back across goal and Sturridge was there, but the Liverpool man headed just over the bar.
In the 49th minute, England defender Luke Shaw collected the ball from a cleared set-piece and hammered towards goal from the edge of the Costa Rica penalty area. It looped up after a Costa Rica defender got in the way and fell to Sturridge, but the Liverpool forward took a poor first touch and Navas was out swiftly to clear away the danger.
Shaw has been the youngest England player to start a World Cup game since Michael Owen.
Trying for a win, Hodgson sent in Steven Gerrard, Raheem Sterling and Wayne Rooney in the second half, while Bolanos also came off the bench to strengthen Costa Rica's attacking fire.
Both sides played offensive and quick-pace football. Costa Rica captain Bryan Ruiz often showcased his brilliant skill, dancing past English players, but the two teams squandered many chances.
Sturridge was guilty of missing three good chances, although he might have been awarded a penalty when he was hacked down by Oscar Duerte in the first half.
England's fans cheered their team loudly from the very beginning, but the locals and the Costa Ricans inside the stadium belittled England at the end, shouting "eliminado" (eliminated) to mark the end of a disappointing campaign for the Three Lions.