Costa Rica rallies to beat Japan 1-0 in Group E of World Cup 2019
Costa Rica’s Jose Villar scored the only goal in the shootout to help the host country defeat Japan 1-0 in the World Cup group stage on Tuesday.
The 1-0 victory over Japan in a group that also includes Belgium and Saudi Arabia, as well as USA and Mexico, was decided with a shootout after both teams had scored in regulation and extra time to advance.
Japan won Group E in a penalty shootout 3-2, but Costa Rica’s win in the shootout was key as the result did not help their cause in the round-of-16, which begin on Thursday.
Costa Rica, who beat Mexico 2-1 in the quarterfinals and USA 3-0 in the semifinals, opened the scoring in the fifth minute through a penalty corner kick by Jose Villar with the score in the 10th minute.
Japan had their best chance to win the shootout in the 28th minute when Shinji Oyama tried to shoot the post, but he could not get a shot on the underside of the crossbar.
With the scores level at 2-2 in the 32nd minute, Japan’s Kenki Nakatani scored a header on a corner kick and went on to beat goalkeeper Keisuke Honda to the ball with Japan 2-0 up.
Sergio Opaz was sent off with Japan with just over two minutes left on the clock when he received his marching orders for a second booking in the match.
Costa Rica made sure that they would advance when Villar scored with a low drive in the 48th minute to put them one step away from advancing.
Japan went into the last 11 minutes of regulation and extra time without a goal after captain Akira Fitzgerald was sent off with 10 minutes left in regulation.
Fitzgerald’s second booking came after he was hit by a Brazilian defender and was on the ground. The referee immediately signaled to the referee in the box. Fitzgerald was then cautioned for simulation and was shown a red card by the referee, leaving the game in a stalemate.
In the shootout, Costa Rica was trying to salvage a win but could not in the end as the Japanese made a successful attempt from the goalkeeper’s spot when Osami Kitajima went to the goalkeeper and fired a shot from