Costa Rica was close, they tried hard, but their efforts fell short as a late goal by Brazil’s Raquel Fernandes just seven minutes to the end stopped short the Women’s National Team’s dream of advancing to the round of 16 on its first participation in a FIFA World Cup.
As expected Brazil showed a better level of play, and Costa Rica in the first half barely managed to reach the opponent’s side of the pitch on only a couple of opportunities.
Brazil’s control of the game was not overwhelming, but as happened in two previous games, it was enough to beat the opponent.
The victory allowed Brazil to qualify as the best team of Group E, with a perfect record of nine points from three wins.
South Korea will join the South Americans in the next round after defeating Spain 2-1 and tallying four points. Costa Rica finished third with two points, and Spain ended at the bottom with just one.
The South Koreans’ victory also prevented La Sele from qualifying. All other teams that ended third captured at least three points.
Brazil’s coach Vadao left Marta, Cristiane and Formiga — three of his best players — on the bench for the clash. Nevertheless, the team effectively managed the few Tica offensive plays in the game.
In the second half, Costa Rica’s coach Amelia Valverde again sent in the team’s top scorer, Karla Villalobos at 72, and Las Ticas’ game showed a little improvement, but it was not enough.
Villalobos had some chances to score an equalizer, and she also led various offensive plays that ended with shots that went wide or were caught by Brazilian goalie Luciana.
Following Brazil’s late goal, coach Valverde sent her players to the front looking for a tie that would have help them advance in their group. Raquel Rodríguez, Melissa Herrera and captain Shirley Cruz attempted some shots, and as promised, they battled to penetrate the Brazilian defense. But the equalizer never came.
Brazil advanced to the knockout round without allowing a goal and will now face Australia on Sunday.
Costa Rica 0-1 Brazil
Brazil: Fernandes (83)
Costa Rica: Dinnia Díaz, Diana Saenz, Carol Sánchez, Wendy Acosta, Lixy Rodríguez, Katherine Alvarado (Sánchez, 86′), Raquel Rodríguez Cedeno, Shirley Cruz, Melissa Herrera, Cristin Granados (Venegas, 57′), María Barrantes (Villalobos, 72′). Coach: Amelia Valverde.
Brazil: Luciana, Poliana, Mónica (Gessica, 66′), Rafaelle, Tamires, Raquel Fernandes, Maurine, Andressa, Rosana, Darlene (Beatriz, 59′), Gabriela (Rafaelle, 78′). Coach: Vadao.
Referees: Thalia Mitsi (GRE). Chrysoula Kourompylia (GRE), Angela Kyriakou (CYP).
Stadium: Moncton Stadium