The first Central American country to ever host a FIFA World Cup event will have to watch the quarterfinals from the sidelines. Italy defeated Costa Rica, 1-0, at the National Stadium on Tuesday night to eliminate the hosts during the first round of the Under-17 Women’s World Cup.
Italy’s Gloria Marinelli scored the lone goal of the match in the 19th minute.
The Italians win coupled with Venezuela’s 4-0 blowout of Zambia on Tuesday afternoon means that both those victorious squads will advance to the quarterfinals out of Group A. The two eliminated teams — Costa Rica and Zambia — have yet to score a goal in two World Cup matches so far.
Costa Rica still plays a final Group A match against Zambia on Saturday at the National Stadium in western San José. However, The Ticas will just be playing for pride at that point.
After 35,000 fans attended Costa Rica’s inaugural match — a 3-0 loss to Venezuela — the team saw strong support again in its second game of the tournament. Some 20,000 Costa Rica fans provided boisterous encouragement throughout the night. Even after the team was eliminated, spectators offered a warm salute to The Ticas.
The team’s diligent 15-year-old captain Gloriana Villalobos almost did enough on her own to equalize the match. If Costa Rica does score a goal during this World Cup, she’ll likely be the one to do it. And against an unimpressive Zambian team, The Ticas will at least have a favorable chance to leave their own World Cup on a triumphant note.