FIFA World Cup: Costa Rica disappointed after Brazil defeat
San Jose, June 23 (IANS) Costa Rican fans and media were bitter after their team was eliminated from the 2018 Russia World Cup, after losing 0-2 to Brazil.
Costa Rica played an almost perfect defensive game, holding off the Brazilians until the 90th minute, when Coutinho scored to shatter their hopes before Neymar made it 2-0 deep into extra time on Friday, reports Xinhua news agency.
Despite the game falling on a work day, Costa Ricans fans had high hopes for the game. Several restaurants were packed out with people coming to watch the match before starting work.
“Brazil sank Costa Rica when it hurt the most. Goodbye to the World Cup!” read the headline of La Nacion, a daily newspaper. It explained how the second defeat in a row left the country with no chance of making the second round, even if it beats Switzerland in its last game.
The Semanario Universidad newspaper wrote “The Sele (selection) bids goodbye to Russia in the most cruel banner”, while also praising Costa Rica’s defensive masterclass against Brazil.
“Now, the game against the Swiss team will only be for honour before we withdraw with dignity, as we have zero points from two games, no goal scored and three received,” it said.
Finally, the Diario Extra wrote a column named “Costa Rica bids farewell to the World Cup”, while praising the presence of Brazilian ace Neymar, who had a penalty cancelled after it was checked on the VAR system.
“It was difficult, it was a great match. Who could say we didn’t give it our all? It hurts to lose but that is football. I leave with my head held high. We all lost but we leave united,” goalkeeper Keylor Navas told the daily.
Fan Alberto Gomez told Xinhua that “it was a good game with Brazil, but it cannot be that this team has so little to offer in attack. I think we need to change the coach and prepare new players for the next World Cup.”
Costa Rica’s last match is against Switzerland on June 27.
FIFA World Cup: Serbia question non-use of VAR
Kaliningrad, June 23 (IANS) Serbian football association vice president Savo Milosevic has questioned why the video assistant referee (VAR) was not used for a penalty appeal during his team’s 1-2 World Cup loss to Switzerland here.
Referee Felix Brych waved play on after Serbia striker Aleksandar Mitrovic fell to the ground while jostling with Switzerland defenders Stephan Lichtsteiner and Fabian Schaer during the second half of the match at Kaliningrad Stadium on Friday, reports Xinhua news agency.
“I understand that maybe the referee didn’t see it, but that’s why we have VAR,” Milosevic said. “What are those guys doing up there?”
Mitrovic gave his team the lead with an early header before Switzerland drew level through a long-range Granit Xhaka strike.
Xherdan Shaqiri broke the deadlock in the 90th minute by sliding the ball between the legs of goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic.
Both teams have a chance to progress to the tournament’s knockout phase. Serbia will meet Brazil and Switzerland take on Costa Rica in the final round of Group E matches next week.