Costa Rica 0-3 Ecuador
So, farewell Costa Rica. Like Poland, they were a team that landed in Germany with realistic hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages, but they’ve been found out at this tournament. Against Germany, they were somewhat unfortunate. Two goals from outrageous distance were the key to their defeat, but this afternoon they were simply out-thought by and Ecuador team that is growing in staure and reputation. Against Poland, Ecuador had been competent. It was all they needed to do against a Polish team who seemed to think that they would qualify for the next round by turning up in Germany and drawing all of their matches 0-0. Costa Rica didn’t put up that much more opposition today, but all the Ecuadorians can do is keep grinding out results. They’re not coming up against much opposition at the moment.
Jon Champion was on good form. “Ecuador play their home matches at an altitude of two miles. The altitude today is reportedlt six feet”. This is the sort of fact I would like. I was also taken with the Ecuadorian goalkeeper again – more face-paint in the shape of their flag, and this time he was wearing a natty short-sleeved red jersey and tracksuit trousers, which made him look rather as if he was off to browse around Homebase for the afternoon rather than keep out the marauding, loping Paulo Wanchope. To be honest, it wouldn’t have made much difference if he had gone to look for some new decking.
Costa Rica offered nothing going forward, and not a great deal at the back either. When Tenorio headed them in front after eight minutes, the writing was on the wall. Delgado’s goal was the sealer, and the third, from Kaviedes was notable more for the goal celebration, which consisted of pulling a yellow Spiderman mask out of his underpants and pulling it over his head (as per the above photo). After ninety minutes of running around on a football, that can’t have been a terribly pleasant experience.
So, what are we to make of Ecuador? They look good going forward, particularly on the wings. That said, though, one wonders whether they’re currently playing above themselves. Should they lose to Germany next week, the bubble could be blown. As it stands, though, they thoroughly deserve their place in the second round.