Daniel Sturridge, Roy Miller , Giancarlo Gonzalez

Costa Rica win Group D after stalemate with England

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Costa Rica finished atop the Group D standings on seven points, as they battled to a 0-0 draw versus England in Belo Horizonte on Tuesday.

England pushed hard throughout the game but the ‘B’ team Roy Hodgson put out failed to spark in the final third.

Daniel Sturridge had most of the chances but put a header over the bar and a shot wide in the second half as the Three Lions left the World Cup with one point and finished bottom of their group.

On the other side of the spectrum, Los Ticos are heading into the knockout stages and came closest to winning this one with Celso Borges’ free kick  being tipped onto the crossbar in the first half.

It was a lackluster game in warm conditions, as both teams go their separate ways.

[ RESULTS: Rodriguez carries Colombia | Greece shocks Ivory Coast | Uruguay eliminates Italy ]
[ RELATED: World Cup news, analysis from Soccerly ]

England’s much-changed side looked hungry and took the game to the Costa Ricans early on. After plenty of probing early on, Sturridge came close to giving the Three Lions their first lead of the World Cup. The Liverpool man picked up the ball on the edge of the box, swiveled and then curled a delicious shot just wide of the post as Costa Rica’s goalkeeper, Navas, was beaten.

On the 17th minute Sturridge looped a speculative effort from distance towards goal as the game failed to spark into life.

Costa Rica finally got going midway through the first half and England had second-choice ‘keeper Ben Foster to thank as he tipped Borges’ free kick onto the crossbar superbly. A real moment of controversy arrived just before the half hour mark when Sturridge was bundled to the ground six-yards out by Oscar Duerte just as he was about to finish. No penalty.

England continued to push as Phil Jones headed a corner back across the goal but Sturridge headed over the bar from close range. Ross Barkley made a marauding run but shot well wide, as the half time whistle blew and the game remained after the first 45 minutes.

The second half failed to get going as England continued to miss glorious chances. Sturridge played a delicious one-two with Jack Wilshere but the Liverpool man put his shot just wide with the outside of his right foot as England’s killer-touch in the box alluded them. England’s captain Steven Gerrard came on for the final 15 minutes, as he replaced Wilshere, with many believing this could be Gerrard’s last appearance as an international.

England failed to grab a late winner as they depart Brazil without a win, while Costa Rica fly the CONCACAF flag into the knockout stages.


Costa Rica: Navas, Gonzalez, Borges (Barrantes, 76′), Duarte, Campbell (Urena, 64′), Ruiz, Brenes (Bolanos, 58′), Diaz, Gamboa, Tejeda, Miller

England: Foster, Cahill, Wilshere (Gerrard, 73′), Lampard, Sturridge, Smalling, Jones, Milner (Rooney, 75′), Lallana (Sterling, 60′), Barkley, Shaw

Everton’s John Stones out of England squad with injury

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 12: John Stones of Everton clears during the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and Chelsea at Goodison Park on September 12, 2015 in Liverpool, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
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John Stones has been ruled out of England’s upcoming EURO qualifiers after suffering a knee injury while playing for Everton.

The 21-year-old center-back has missed Everton’s last two Premier League matches, and was unable to recover in time for England’s qualifiers this weekend.

Manager Roy Hodgson has called in Tottenham’s Andros Townsend and Kyle Walker as replacements for the absent Stones.

[ REPORTS: Klopp, Liverpool making quick progress ]

England has already qualified for EURO 2016 with a perfect record in Group E, winning all eight of their matches. With upcoming games against Estonia and Lithuania, Hodgson has said he will experiment a bit with some new players, which lessens the impact of Stones’ injury.

Despite the match being meaningless in terms of a result, players will still be eager to impress the manager in an effort to lock up a spot on the final roster for the tournament in June.

Manchester United’s Luke Shaw is out for an extended period of time after breaking his leg in the Champions League, while Everton’s Leighton Baines hasn’t played since August after undergoing ankle surgery.

[ RELATED: Samir Nasri rules out a return to France squad, hints at MLS move ]

Southampton’s Ryan Bertrand has been recalled to the side, and said he will try to grab the left-back position “by the scruff of the neck.”

Liverpool’s Danny Ings was given his first call-up and Swansea City’s Jonjo Shelvey returns to the fold, although both players missed training with injuries and their status moving forward is uncertain.

Landon Donovan: Klinsmann should be fired if USMNT loses to Mexico

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 04: Head coach Jurgen Klinsmann of the United States looks on before playing Peru during an international friendly at RFK Stadium on September 4, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
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Landon Donovan and Jurgen Klinsmann haven’t had the rosiest of relationships.

Since being left off of the 2014 World Cup roster and retiring from the game, Donovan has often been critical of Klinsmann and his tenure with the USMNT.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s USMNT coverage ]

Ahead of Saturday’s CONCACAF playoff match against Mexico, Donovan said he believes Klinsmann should be fired if the United States loses.

Speaking to ESPN FC:

Around the world, if a player plays poorly and a player has a bad string of results, they get dropped from the team.

Jurgen said many times he wants our players to feel pressure — so if they lose a game they can’t go to the grocery store the next day. If they lose a game, they are getting hammered in the press.

Well, the same holds true for the coach, and so we had a very poor summer with bad results in the Gold Cup. The last game against Brazil was probably the worst game I’ve seen them play under Jurgen.

The reality is that now, anywhere else in the world, if this coach had those results, and they lose this game against Mexico, they’d be fired.

I think if Jurgen wants to hold all the players to that standard, then he has to be held to that standard too.

Heading into the Gold Cup this summer on the heels of some great wins over the Netherlands and Germany, the United States’ performance was wildly disappointing, losing in the semifinals to Jamaica and finishing in fourth place.

[ RELATED: Top moments from USMNT vs. Mexico ]

President of U.S. Soccer Sunil Gulati has shown great faith in Klinsmann, giving him a contract until 2018 as both manager and technical director of the program. However, pressure has been building after a string of poor results.

For Klinsmann, this is arguably his biggest match in charge of the USMNT. Not only does it have implications for the Confederations Cup in 2017, but it is also against Mexico, which always puts added pressure on a manager. If the U.S. loses, more people than Donovan will be calling for a change.