Linc Sport World Cup: Day 9

Nine days into the World Cup and England are out of the tournament.

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The Group D underdogs Costa Rica again upset the odds by beating Italy by a goal to nil to ensure it was the end of the road for Roy Hodgson’s men.

Following their 2-1 defeat by Uruguay last night, only an Italy win would have given England hope, and a mathematical chance, to qualify going into their final group match.

However a goal just before half time from Bryan Ruiz of recently relegated Fulham ensured that England would go home following the two sides meeting on Tuesday and Costa Rica would progress to the second round.

Ruiz, who spent the second half of this season on loan at PSV, struck right on half time to give his side another shock win.

The win was no more than Costa Rica deserved and means that Italy and Uruguay, who are level on points, will face off for a place in the last 16 on Tuesday. A draw would see Italy qualify on goal difference.

In Group E, France lit up day with an impressive 5-2 win over Switzerland.

Goals in the space of a minute from Olivier Giroud, Blaise Matuidi put France into a commanding position, with Mathieu Valbuena extending the lead just before half time.

The French looked on top of their game and were absolutely dominant and assured, a far cry from the French side of four years ago that crashed out of the 2010 World Cup in shambolic circumstances.

Karim Benzema had a great chance to get on the score sheet but saw his penalty, which he won himself following a foul from Johan Djourou, saved by the Swiss keeper.

However, they couldn’t keep the Real Madrid striker out for much longer, and he added a forth with just over 20 minutes to go.

Newcastle’s Moussa Sissoko added a fifth before Switzerland scored two late consolation goals courtesy of Blerim Dzemaili and Granit Xhaka.

In the late kick-off, Ecuador came from behind to beat Honduras 2-1 in a battle between two sides who lost their opening fixtures.

Carlo Costly gave Honduras a lead before a brace from Enner Valencia turned the game on its head.

Honduras pilled the pressure on late on but Ecuador held on for a priceless win.

The results mean that France have all but qualified due to their superior goal difference.

Switzerland and Ecuador will be level on three points but with Switzerland taking on Honduras and Ecuador having to face France, Switzerland are the more likely to qualify but in this World Cup of shocks, it is not guaranteed.

Honduras could still qualify but they would have to thrash Switzerland with France also beating Ecuador.

Today at the World Cup…

Argentina play Iran (17:00) knowing that a win would put them into the knock-out stage. Lionel Messi and co will be expected to beat their Asian opponents with minimal fuss.

Bosnia & Herzegovina will also be hoping for their first World Cup win as they take on Nigeria(23:00). Bosnia were unlucky against Argentina in their Group F opener and both sides will go into the game knowing their World Cup’s could be over if they lose.

In Group G, Germany face Ghana knowing that a win would all but see them through to the last 16. The Germans were scintillating at times in their opener against Portugal but Ghana, who lost their opener to the USA, will be fighting for their lives as defeat could see the 2010 Quarter Finalists eliminated from the World Cup.

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