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Costa Rica buried predictions of their
early demise to emerge into the knockout
stages of the World Cup for only the
second time with a 1-0 group D win over
Italy today that sent England crashing
For ward Bryan Ruiz headed powerfully
home a minute before half-time to
leave Costa Rica fans dancing in the
sunshine at Recife’s Pernambuco arena
and mocking those who thought they
would be the sacrificial lambs in one of
the tournament ’s toughest pools.
The watertight defence and quickfire
counter attacks that helped unpick Italy
ensure they are going to be a handful for
any future opponent, while they could
even be dark horses to go deep into the
“ Today is very special,” ecstatic coach
Jorge Luis Pinto said.
“ We knew today we could make history
and we have been able to do so. That ’s
what I told my players today, lets respect
the past because it is very positive, but
today let ’s change history ...
“ We have played an historic team, so of
course we feel really proud, our team feels
proud, our country feels proud. I am very
demanding as a coach and I know this is
sometimes hard for my players, but today
they have given everything.”
Costa Rica top the group with six
points, having beaten Uruguay in their
first game, while Italy, three points adrift,
now need at least a draw from their
final game against the Uruguayans, also
on three points, to go through on goal
In making the last 16 for the first time in
24 years, the Central Americans ensured
England became the latest team to make
a surprise early exit, leaving at the group
stages for the first time since 1958.
While Costa Rica may have caused a
stir in becoming the first team to make it
out of the group, there has been nothing
fortuitous about the way they have gained
Apart from a brief wobble 30 minutes
into the first half when Mario Balotelli
wasted Italy’s best efforts, their rigid
organisation made them almost
impenetrable at the back.
Balotelli is one of the most feared
striking talents in the world but he
spent most of this match in the pocket
of 26-year-old Columbus Crew defender
Giancarlo Gonzalez who skilfully
marshalled the Costa Rica backline.
“ You do not win matches just because of
the titles you have won in the past,” Italy
coach Cesare Prandelli said.
“Costa Rica worked very hard to get
here in excellent shape, they were very
organised and are going to go far.
“It is not a surprise. I said to my
colleagues that the team is well-equipped
with highly-qualified players. I said it
would be a challenging group.”
The midday sun reduced the early stages
to shadow boxing, with Italy hogging
the ball but strolling round the pitch at
walking pace while Costa Rica were busy
Costa Rica’s back-five pushed high up
the pitch to compress the space as Italy
sat back and looked to hit on the break, a
tactic which almost paid dividends on the
half-hour mark as Balotelli was sent clear
by a superb through ball from Andrea
The striker, who headed the winner
in Italy’s opening win over England,
miscontrolled the ball with his first touch
and then tried and failed to lob keeper
Kaylor Nevas with his second.
As the first half was drawing to a close,
Costa Rica showed why they can pose
such a threat.
In the space of three minutes, Oscar
Duarte headed fractionally over, Joel
Campbell had a penalty appeal waved
away by Chilean referee Enrique Osses
and Ruiz headed them in front.
Junior Diaz floated a beautiful cross to
the far post and Ruiz arrived to head it
in off the underside of the bar and over
the line, with the decision to award a goal
confirmed on the big screen.
Italy brought on Antonio Cassano at
half-time, but Costa Rica expertly took
the sting out of the match, reducing their
opponents only to glimpses of goal, while
they continued to look threatening on
the counter. — Reuters
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TOMORROW JUN 22 MONDAY
Queenstown airport closed
for the fourth consecutive day
due to ice and snow on the
runway. People were having
problems with diesel freezing
and water in pipes freezing
before it had a chance to
drain away, blocking the
TODAY IN HISTORY
of the New Zealand Herald
The New Zealand Under 20s will
have to be content with third place in
the Junior World Championship.
They tried to play as much rugby as
possible but were held in check for
large tracts of the bronze 45-23 play-
off last night by the Ireland pack and
the whistle of referee Alexandre Ruiz.
We should not have been surprised.
Ireland pushed New Zealand to
31-26 in the 2013 JWC, and have
been full value in the last three weeks.
They even led at half-time here.
That New Zealand eventually pulled
clear was down to the clear superiority
of their backline.
Tevita Li scored New Zealand ’s first
try, his sixth of the tournament. He
added another and could even have
Man of the match Richie Mo’unga,
who started at first five and finished at
fullback, scored two tries.
Lock James Tucker had an equally
eventful night, sinbinned once for
pulling down a maul, crossing the
line twice for one try, and winning
his share of lineouts. Flanker Lachlan
Boshier was also in prime form.
The next two New Zealand tries
originated from Damian McKenzie
high ball takes, the Irish persisting
with the Garryowen, as South Africa
did in the semi-final.
Ireland ’s pack was up to the task,
their solid scrum taking no nonsense
in the for ward exchanges.
Australia clinched fifth position,
two better than they managed in
2013, coming from behind to beat
France 34-27 in the early Eden Park
New Zealand 45 (Tevita Li 2, Richie
Mo’unga 2, James Tucker, Mitch
Drummond, Lachlan Boshier tries;
Damian McKenzie 5 cons), Ireland
23 (Penalty try, Oisin Heffernan;
Ross Byrne 2 cons, 3 pens)
— NZ Herald
PICTURE: Getty Images
Costa Rica Bryan Ruiz scores his team’s first goal past Italy’s Gianluigi Buffon in today’s World Cup Brazil group D match
at Arena Pernambuco, in Recife, Brazil.
A late birdie is likely to give
Lydia Ko a buffer inside the
cut line at the US Women’s
Open at Pinehurst.
Ko has birdied her last hole
to sign for a one over par
second round that has her
seven over for the tournament.
She is three shots inside the
American Michelle Wie
has the clubhouse lead at
four under, one shot clear of
overnight leader Stacy Lewis.
— Newstalk ZB
of the New Zealand Herald
In the closest Junior World Champion-
ship final ever, England held on doggedly
for their second crown in two years.
There was no quarter asked, and none
given, in this draining decider. But it
kicked off with a very different look for
South Africa’s pack ripped into their
work, hauling down lineouts, cleaning
out and making clear yards close to the
However, halfback J P Smith was
having a nightmare, twice being charged
down and also knocking on.
The early field position and possession
battle was South Africa’s after an early
foray by England highlighted by the fact
that dangerman on the right wing (but
wearing the No 11 jersey) Nathan Earle
decided to kick the ball instead of having
his man on.
It was left to Junior Boks No 10 Handre
Pollard to break the stalemate with a
classic heads-up play, chipping over the
top of the defence where a fortuitous
bounce found centre Jesse Kriel.
England’s lineout, so smooth for much
of the last three weeks, came under
serious early heat from South Africa,
who challenged them on their ball and
unsettled their rhythm.
Their talented backline was star ved of
quality ball to cut their usual capers.
It was a stark reminder of New
Zealand’s set-piece implosion against the
Junior Boks in pool play.
There was plenty of kicking, expected
from a decider, but South Africa were
more adept with the boot in the first spell.
happened. England fullback Aaron
Morris landed a monster penalty goal
from 55m at the 33 minute mark.
It would have cleared from another few
metres back. Then, against the run of play,
England centre Nick Tompkins made a
long thrust, the ball was swung right on
the blindside and Earle waltzed over for
his sixth try of the tournament.
It gave England an 11-10 lead into the
break, against most odds.
Then the pendulum swung. The Junior
Boks tired. It was as if South Africa had
punched themselves. All it needed was
the knockout blow.
England’s starter plays were executed
in slicker fashion and men like No 14
Howard Packman were able to make
forays well over the gain line. Then
replacement Joel Conlon crashed over on
the end of an effective drive.
England looked energised and it was
South Africa were on the back foot and
seemingly powerless to reactivate their
clinical game. — APNZ
Free-flowing France blew away in-form
Switzerland with a three-goal first-half
barrage en route to a thumping 5-2 World
Cup group E win today that virtually
assures them of qualification for the
France blasted two goals within 66
seconds as Olivier Giroud headed them
into the lead after 17 minutes and Blaise
Matuidi added a second almost straight
from the restart, while Mathieu Valbuena
got a breakaway third late in the half after
Swiss keeper Diego Benaglio had earlier
saved a Karim Benzema penalty.
Benzema added the fourth and his third
of the tournament in the 67th minute and
Moussa Sissoko came off the bench to
complete the rout six minutes later before
Blerim Dzemaili’s free kick and a smart
volley by Granit Xhaka made things look
better for the Swiss.
France have six points and a goal
difference of plus-six and look well-placed
to advance after going out in the group
stage four years ago when they finished
bottom. Switzerland, who had lost only
once in the last two years and are sixth in
FIFA’s world rankings, have three points.
JUNIOR RUGBY WORLD CUP
Junior All Blacks finish third, Irish make it tough
Ko safe at
of the NZ Herald
When England pieced
together their side for tonight ’s
final test, they changed up
Up front, there is just more
beef. One of the prime cuts
is No 8 Billy Vunipola, listed
at 126kg but perhaps packing
a touch more after injury
curtailed his pre-tour training
before his 24 minutes off the
bench in D unedin.
Whichever way you slice
it, he is a massive unit, the
heaviest man in the touring
group and maybe not yet in
optimum condition to last a
Not that he needs to.
England will ask him to blast
away for about 50 minutes,
or more if things are running
well, before substituting him
with the equally ample Ben
Both players have dented
the All Black lines on their
home turf at Twickenham and
on this tour, where England
would have caused even more
anxiety had they been more
accurate around those sorts of
For big men, Vunipola and
Morgan have the ability to stay
on their feet and get across
the advantage line. If they can
create enough repeat forays,
those raids will take the energy
out of the All Black defenders.
Vunipola will be a big bloke
when he matures and fills out.
He is 21 and in the apprentice
stages of a test career which,
if he dedicates himself, has a
long way to go.
Remember Isitolo Maka,
another No 8 with remarkable
potential who played four tests
with the All Blacks then fell
off the radar. He had a similar
physique and in the form he
showed around 1997-1999 was
a potent part of the packs he
Vunipola was born in Sydney,
two years after brother Mako,
who started life in Wellington
and would have been on this
trip but for injury.
Mother Singa is a Methodist
preacher and dad Fe’ao played
32 times as a hooker for Tonga
and represented the island
nation at the 1995 and 1999
World Cups. Religion and
rugby moved the family to the
UK in 1999, and they have
been there since.
Both sons have reached
the England ranks and if
that progress continues will
become another father and son
combination, like their cousin
Toby Faletau and his father
Kuli, to play in World Cups.
Someone who has no doubt
Billy Vunipola will graduate
and make a strong impact
is former England flanker
Richard Hill, who claimed a
World Cup winner’s medal
with the 2003 side. He likes
the production England is
getting from the Vunipola,
Chris Robshaw, Tom Wood
loose-for ward partnership.
If Vunipola continued
his conditioning work and
developed his grasp on the
international game, his bulk
and power would offer an
arrowhead for England to
“England need their No 8
providing that go-for ward
and that opportunity to get in
behind the opposition defence,
to allow the backs to play on
the front foot, allow for wards
to come around the corner
without an organised defence
in their way,” Hill told the
The Vunipola brothers
flat together north-west of
London and now play for
Saracens, a situation they
both prefer to the occasional
confrontation they had when
Billy was with the Wasps.
The No 8 was in the England
scrum for almost an hour
last year when All Black rival
Kieran Read showed out as the
tourists rampaged to a 30-22
victory. Read ranged with
great effect down the tramlines
while Vunipola worked more
down the middle of the field.
Their work will be at the core
of tonight ’s inspection as they
start this final test of England’s
tour, Vunipola after being
on the bench last week and
Read after time out because of
concussion. — APNZ
France swamps Switzerland
Watch out, NZ
here’s the beef
England wins junior rugby crown
PICTURE: Getty Images
England celebrate after winning the 2014 Junior World Championship final
against South Africa at Eden Park last night.
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