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.

LINEUPS

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

Reports: De Boer offered Crystal Palace manager’s spot

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Multiple reports claim Crystal Palace has offered its managerial position to Dutch boss Frank De Boer.

Palace has been without a manager since Sam Allardyce retired after the season. The Eagles finished 15th in the Premier League, five points behind eighth place Southampton and seven points clear of the drop zone.

[ MORE: Latest on Ronaldo ]

An accomplished defender at Ajax and Barcelona, the 47-year-old De Boer led Ajax in his first managerial stint before spending less than three months at Inter Milan last season.

De Boer twice won the Rinus Michels Award as the top manager in Dutch football, and would become just the second Palace manager from outside the British Isles.

He would inherit a very good group of attackers with Wilfried Zaha, Christian Benteke, and Andros Townsend. Palace also has a talented midfielders Luka Milivojevic and Yohan Cabaye to go with marauding Dutch back Patrick Van Aanholt.

Farcical officiating at end of Mexico-New Zealand match (video)

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Mexico should be counting their Confederations Cup blessings in congested Group A after a prolonged shoving match at the end of its 2-1 win over New Zealand on Thursday somehow ended with a single red card.

New Zealand is fortunate, too, but the All-Whites have already seen their hopes of the knockout round extinguished by a pair of losses in Russia.

With New Zealand counterattacking in hopes of a late equalizer, Mexico’s Diego Reyes pulled back charging Niko Boxall. It was the second pull back in minutes after Rafa Marquez went uncarded at the other end, and Boxall reacted poorly by lunging cleat-first into Hector Herrera’s calf.

Referee Bakary Gassama should’ve easily pulled two red cards there, but lost his focus in an ensuing melee that saw Herrera charge back to knock down Boxall, headbutts between Diego Reyes and Andrew Durante, and an absurd hand-throwing performance from Javier Aquino. Perhaps this lapse was understandable, which is why he had Video Assistant Referee available.

Even video couldn’t get it right, as a long and sloppy review was seemingly bungled by the referees saw a trio of yellow cards given to Boxall, Reyes, and Herrera.

All three should’ve been sent off, and otherwise Man of the Match contender Aquino and his teammate Marco Fabian should not have escaped discipline by any stretch of the imagination. If Gassama needed it to be level, Michael McGlinchey, Ryan Thomas and Durante could’ve left the match as well.

Instead, a terrific match has been left in the lurch. Will FIFA have the guts to issue supplemental discipline ahead of the important final matches of the group stage?

Oscar gets eight-match ban for petulant display in China

Color China Photo via AP
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Oscar‘s antics aren’t missed in the Premier League, and they won’t be missed over the next two months in China.

The 25-year-old Brazilian has been banned for eight matches after igniting a brawl between Shanghai SIPG and Guangzhou (video here) by lashing a pair of shots at defenders and then hitting the ground in comical fashion.

[ MORE: Latest on Ronaldo ]

It’s amazing Oscar lived through the vicious shove (at least this dive didn’t influence a UEFA Champions League match).

While his antics won’t be missed, his playmaking will; It comes as no surprise that Oscar has thrived in the nascent Chinese Super League, posting nine assists and a goal in 13 league matches.

Latest on Ronaldo: PSG offer readied for Perez meeting

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Cristiano Ronaldo will meet with Real Madrid president Florentino Perez at the conclusion of the Confederations Cup, according to reports, at which point a pair of cut-and-dried options could be on the table.

Paris, or the status quo.

Marca reports that Ronaldo will bring a “money no object” offer from Paris Saint-Germain into the meeting, although the same outlet says Perez will know exactly what’s coming due to an understanding between the two big money clubs.

[ MORE: Juve confirms Alves release ]

The 32-year-old Ronaldo remains in fine form at the Confederations Cup, with Portugal’s unbeaten run continuing in Russia. If Portugal is upset by New Zealand in its group stage finale on June 24, it would still stand a good chance of proceeding to the knockout rounds depending on the Mexico-Russia result.

That means the Perez-Ronaldo meeting wouldn’t occur until after July 2, which is when the Final and third-place playoff are scheduled in Russia.

In the meantime, Real manager Zinedine Zidane is said to be cutting his vacation short to meet with Perez regarding not just Ronaldo’s future but the club’s pursuit of Kylian Mbappe (which is a bit over-dramatic given the above news. Feels like a phone call could get the job done).