– Costa Rica will undoubtedly be disappointed, but they haven’t performed badly across their debut World Cup. Rodriguez Cedeno – only twenty-one, and currently playing for the Penn State Nittany Lions – was especially impressive, crafty and hardworking just off the attack, but Costa Rica lacked firepower. Brazil struggled to find the back of the net, but they were able to rest their star players while showcasing the diversity of attacking talent at their disposal.
– So Brazil become only the second side – after Japan – to qualify from the group phase with maximum points. Spain finish second in Group E, and join Brazil in the Round of Sixteen. Costa Rica’s result is good news for Sweden, because it allows them to progress as the final best third-placed finisher.
Our Round of Sixteen competitors are:
20 June – 16:00 – Lansdowne Stadium, Ottawa: Germany vs. Sweden
20 June – 17:30 – Commonwealth Stadium, Edmonton: China vs. Cameroon
21 June – 14:00 – Moncton Stadium, Moncton: Brazil vs. Australia
21 June – 16:00 – Olympic Stadium, Montreal: France vs. South Korea
22 June – 17:00 – Lansdowne Stadium, Ottawa: Norway vs. England
22 June – 18:00 – Commonwealth Stadium, Edmonton: USA vs. Colombia
23 June – 19:00 – BC Place, Vancouver: Japan vs. Netherlands
Lots of enticing games there: Germany vs. Sweden pits number 1 in the FIFA World Rankings against number 5; Canada, the hosts, dull across the group stage, will face a Switzerland side full of goalscorers, but fragile in the midfield and defence; and Cameroon may go into their match against China as favourites.
All done in Ottawa. Full-time results: Costa Rica 0-1 Brazil, South Korea 2-1 Spain
90 (+3) minutes: That is full-time, and Costa Rica are out of the World Cup barring late drama in Ottawa – where six minutes of injury time have been played.
90 (+2) minutes: Brazil win a late corner, which curls just beyond all of the players crowded within the six-yard box.
90 minutes: As the play becomes stretched, three minutes of added time are announced.
87 minutes: Costa Rica have their chance: Cruz works space down the left, and passes the ball over to Herrera, who looks to be through on goal. But the Brazilian defenders are quick and swallow her up, and the opportunity is gone.
85 minutes: The last change for Costa Rica, as Katherine Alvarado comes off for Fabiola Sanchez.
83 minutes: Villalobos thinks she is through, and she attempts to lob the onrushing goalkeeper, but the offside flag is up.
82 minutes: And finally Brazil have their goal. The ball is flicked through to Raquel by Andressinha, and she shoots across Diaz and into the bottom corner. Costa Rica 0-1 Brazil
81 minutes: Alvarado wastes a free-kick in a good position for Costa Rica, shooting high and wide.
80 minutes: So as we move into the last ten minutes, Costa Rica again need a goal. As things stand, their prospective third-placed finish won’t be enough.
78 minutes: Meanwhile Brazil attack again, with the ball laid off for Raquel who shoots from the edge of the area. Diaz parries down low.
78 minutes: Horrible news for Costa Rica, as South Korea move ahead against Spain. Kim Soo-Yun is the crucial goalscorer. South Korea 2-1 Spain
77 minutes: Gabriela comes off for Rafaela in Brazil’s final change.
73 minutes: A poor defensive header from Costa Rica centre-back Sanchez puts Raquel through, but her first-time lob isn’t high enough to beat Diaz.
71 minutes: Tamires, Brazil’s left-back, gets into a good position in the opposition area, but the move breaks down and Costa Rica swiftly attack. Rodriguez Cedeno finds Carolina Venegas, and her cross is blocked for a corner. Maria Barrantes is replaced by Karla Villalobos before the corner kick, which is just flicked away from danger from inside the six-yard box.
66 minutes: Brazil keep the ball down the right flank, and when the cross comes in Rosana gets ahead of her marker and fires instinctively towards goal. But once again, Diaz is right there to make the stop.
65 minutes: Monica is replaced by Gessica for Brazil.
62 minutes: Acosta trips Maurine on the edge of the area, but Rosana lifts the free-kick high over the bar.
61 minutes: A forward pass is flicked on, and Brazil break with three-on-three. The ball is played to Beatriz, free on the left side of the Costa Rican area; but her first touch is poor, and her shot tame and straight at Diaz. That was a fantastic chance, which just needed a more composed finish.
58 minutes: After Poliana’s cross drops into the side-netting, for Brazil Darlene comes off for Beatriz.
57 minutes: Cristin Granados is replaced for Costa Rica by Carolina Venegas.
54 minutes: As Rodriguez Cedeno continues to press the Brazilian back-line, in Ottawa South Korea have equalised against Spain through their captain Cho So-Hyun. That puts Costa Rica back into second. South Korea 1-1 Spain
51 minutes: The ball drops to Raquel just outside the area, but she doesn’t catch her volley cleanly.
50 minutes: Of course, this is some way from a full-strength Brazilian side, with Marta and Cristiane resting on the bench. Raquel and Darlene have threatened without the same end-product. Meanwhile Maurine’s direct free-kick comes to nothing.
45 minutes: The players are out for the second half.
* * *
– At the moment, Spain would finish in second place behind Brazil; and Costa Rica, having scored one goal less than Sweden, would miss out on the final third-placed-team qualification spot.
– Nine shots for Brazil in the first half, but only a couple on target, compared to one and one for Costa Rica. Brazil have had five corners, and 61% of the possession.
45 (+1) minutes: And that is half-time.
45 minutes: One minute to be added on at the end of the first half.
44 minutes: Poliana plays a left-footed cross from the right wing, and two Brazilian forwards are free, but Darlene doesn’t get enough on the header. Diaz clasps the ball.
43 minutes: Costa Rica force the ball through the midfield, and Rodriguez Cedeno almost breaks through. Then Alvarado’s free-kick drifts harmlessly into Luciana’s arms.
39 minutes: Poliana cuts a cross back from the byline. It is just too high for Darlene at the near post, then Rosana’s effort at the far post is blocked and Brazil have to settle for a corner.
36 minutes: Costa Rica’s defenders fumble with the ball in front of Diaz, and eventually the goalkeeper is forced to make a low save from Darlene.
33 minutes: Darlene cuts back down the left hand side, and attempts to curl a right-footed shot into the far corner of the goal – but it is just wide.
29 minutes: Meanwhile over in Ottawa, Spain have taken the lead against South Korea, with Veronica Boquete the scorer. That puts Spain up into second in Group E. South Korea 0-1 Spain
28 minutes: Monica plays a straight ball over the top, and Darlene attempts to volley in at the near post. Diaz gets both hands behind the effort, and makes the stop.
27 minutes: Rodriguez Cedeno passes the ball out to the left wing for Cruz, and her cross finds Rodriguez Cedeno again on the edge of the six-yard box, but the header is straight at the goalkeeper. A good move, and Rodriguez Cedeno probably should have scored.
22 minutes: Gabriela plays a neat one-two in the area and lifts the ball into the roof of the net – but the goal is ruled out for offside. The Brazilian looked okay there: she was being played on by the Costa Rican left-back.
20 minutes: A free-kick lumped into the Brazilian box causes a mix-up in the defence, and Barrantes almost gets to it, but Luciana grabs the ball at the second time of asking.
15 minutes: After Raquel’s cross from the byline is hacked clear, Brazil win a free-kick just to the right of Costa Rica’s penalty area. Maurine stands over the ball, and curls in a cross, which Monica gets something on – but the ball goes wide.
10 minutes: A long ball by Rafaelle sees Costa Rica’s goalkeeper, Dinnia Diaz, charge from her line and head clear from the edge of her area.
7 minutes: Darlene tries to wriggle free for Brazil inside the Costa Rican area, but the ball runs loose and Costa Rica clear.
5 minutes: On Costa Rica’s first foray forward, Granados almost plays the ball through to Barrantes, but the pass is swept up by the Brazilian defence.
2 minutes: Brazil win an early free-kick, thirty yards out. Rafaelle’s effort is headed behind, then Rosana heads over the bar from the resulting corner.
0 minutes: We are off, inside the Moncton Stadium in Moncton.
* * *
– We’ll follow Costa Rica vs. Brazil here, keeping an eye also on South Korea vs. Spain. The teams:
Costa Rica XI: Diaz, Saenz, Sanchez, Hererra, Cruz (c), Rodriguez Cedeno, Rodriguez, Barrantes, Granados, Alvarado, Acosta
Substitutes: Bermudez, Arroyo, Guillen, Valenciano, Benavides, Cruz, Venegas, Villalobos, Sanchez, Venegas, Coto, Villalobos. G
Brazil XI: Luciana, Monica, Andressa, Tamires, Poliana, Rafaelle, Rosana, Raquel Fernandes, Maurine (c), Gabriela, Darlene
Substitutes: Barbara, Leticia, Fabiana, Rafaela, Beatriz, Thaisa, Alves, Marta, Cristiane, Gessica, Tayla, Formiga
– Just to summarise the group process one last time, the group phase of the competition has comprised six groups of four teams. The top two sides from each group qualify for the Round of Sixteen, along with the four best third-placed teams. Qualification depends first on points, with three points for a win and one for a draw; then on goal difference; then goals scored; before the results of matches played between sides are considered.
– So we arrive at the final two fixtures of the group stage of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The final round of Group E games sees Costa Rica vs. Brazil and South Korea vs. Spain.
After a 2-0 victory against South Korea, then a 1-0 victory over Spain, Brazil head Group E with six points. They will finish at the top of the group whatever happens today. Drawing 1-1 against Spain, and 2-2 against South Korea, Costa Rica currently sit in second with two points. Spain are third, ahead of South Korea by virtue of goal difference, with both sides possessing a single point.
So far Germany, Norway, Canada, China, Japan, Cameroon, the United States, Australia, France, and England have qualified by finishing in the top two places in their respective groups. Colombia, Netherlands, and Switzerland will join them as best third-placed finishers; with one spot up for grabs, and currently being held by Sweden, who have three points and a goal difference of 0.
If Costa Rica draw 1-1 against Brazil, they will have the same points, the same goals for, and the same goals against as Sweden. Should they finish in third place – with one of South Korea or Spain picking up a victory – then lots would have to be drawn to determine the final third-placed qualifier.
If Costa Rica beat Brazil, they will finish second and qualify for the Round of Sixteen. They could still finish second with a draw, or even with a single-goal defeat, provided South Korea and Spain also play to a draw. If South Korea and Spain do draw, then Spain will need a heavy Costa Rica defeat if they are to stay in the competition. A win for either side, and they will go through in some fashion: whether for coming second in the group, or as a best third-placed team.
In short, Brazil are through, and the other three sides in Group E still have it all to play for. If Brazil beat Costa Rica as expected, then the winner will take it all in the match between South Korea and Spain.