By Robbie Blakeley, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – England drew 0-0 with Costa Rica this afternoon at the Mineirão Stadium to end their 2014 FIFA World Cup campaign with a whimper. The Three Lions didn’t manage a single win and picked up just one point in three outings after a dreadfully disappointing display.
With Costa Rica needing just a point to finish top of Group D, this contest was no better than ordinary. The tempo picked up slightly during the second half, but England’s experimental reserve line-up looked uncomfortable with their exit having already been confirmed last week.
Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge missed England’s best chances before the break. He shot just wide before missing the target with a header from an Adam Lallana cross, summing up England’s profligacy in front of goal.
Wayne Rooney forced a good save from Navas in the Costa Rica goal after the break but English momentum was patchy at best. England ended the game with Steven Gerrard, 34, and Frank Lampard, 36, in the middle of the park, two veterans who will surely not be around come the European Championship of 2016.
Chances for Costa Rica were few and far between. Randall Brenes went close just before half-time, as did Christian Bolanos just after the hour mark, but a goalless draw was sufficient to send them into the knock-out phase as group winners.
The substandard action underlined England’s worst performance at a World Cup tournament since 1958. That is the last time the country was knocked out at the group stages. For England, the hard work starts here. Drawn in a tough group, they have finished bottom, scored just twice and were never, at any point in their three games, holding the lead.
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