Pinto: Penalty practice helped Costa Rica

Costa Rica boss Jorge Luis Pinto has revealed that intense practice and studying the opposition helped his side to their penalty shootout win over Greece on Sunday, BBC Sport has reported.

The Central American side won 5-3 on penalties after a 1-1 draw to make the quarter-finals of the World Cup for the first time ever after a dramatic encounter in Recife. The Greeks missed out despite controlling long periods of the game.

In a first half if few chances, Dimitrios Salpingidis came closest when his angled shot was well saved by Keylor Navas. Costa Rica took the lead early in the second period when Bryan Ruiz found the bottom corner, only to be reduced to 10 men minutes later when Oscar Duarte was shown his second yellow card.

The Greek pressure finally told in stoppage time when Sokratis Papastathopoulos pounced after Navas had saved from Theofanis Gekas. Despite further Greek chances in extra time, the game went to penalties, and Costa Rica scored all five, while Gekas saw his effort well saved by Navas to hand Pinto’s team the win.

After the game he said: ‘We practised penalties before and we had studied the opposition and that’s why we scored 100%. It was a dramatic match, a very difficult one. There were moments when we dominated the match but there were other moments when they did – but we were strong and we came through. We are making history. It’s beautiful what we have done. This win is for everyone in Costa Rica.”

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