Action from the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup match between New Zealand and Costa Rica (red jersey) on August 13, 2014, in Toronto, Canada. (Photo: FIFA via Getty Images)
TORONTO – Costa Rica completed its participation in the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup on Wednesday with a 3-0 loss to New Zealand at the National Soccer Stadium (BMO Field).
The result meant that the Ticas (0 points) finished last in Group D, but the New Zealanders (6 points) secured a runner-up spot behind France (9 points) and a first-ever berth in the quarterfinals.
After fending off early pressure through the surrender of three corner kicks, Costa Rica conceded the game’s first goal in the 24th minute. Steph Skilton latched onto a long free kick by Katie Bowen and beat goalkeeper Noelia Bermudez with a glancing header.
Viviana Chinchilla had a chance to level just before halftime, but her shot from the edge of the 18-yard box went wide of the right post.
The Central Americans were dangerous out of the break with captain Mariana Benavides forcing New Zealand goalkeeper Lily Alfred to make a save in the 47th minute. Eight minutes later, Anyi Barrantes put an effort wide.
New Zealand netted a critical insurance marker in the 69th minute, when Megan Lee intercepted an attempted clearance by Benavides and dribbled past Bermudez to make it 2-0.
Costa Rica, which entered the match with slight hopes of advancing, continued to attack. Alfred, though, saved a Michelle Montero header off a corner and then denied Melissa Herrera.
In the fourth minute of second-half stoppage time, the Kiwis notched a third goal as Tayla O’Brien scored from a corner after Bermudez failed to punch the ball clear.