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England Bow Out After Costa Rica Stalemate

26 June 2014 World Cup reporter Tom Blackburn reports on the 0-0 draw between England and Costa Rica.

England crashed out of the World Cup with a yet another disappointing performance, as they failed to score in a draw against Group D winners Costa Rica in Belo Horizonte.

For the first time since 1958 England have failed to get out of the group stages at the World Cup, and questions will continue to be asked of their lack of prowess in front of goal despite looking promising in the midfield.

Roy Hodgson made nine changes to the England side, with only Gary Cahill and Daniel Sturridge keeping their spot in the starting line-up.

Frank Lampard captained the otherwise youthful team in his 106th and likely to be final cap, however there was no swansong for the Chelsea midfielder.

In the first half both teams went close, and on a different day England may have been awarded a penalty when Sturridge was bundled down in front of the Costa Rican goal by Oscar Duarte as he controlled Adam Lallana’s knock down.

Costa Rica’s arguably went closest to breaking the deadlock when Celso Borge’s free-kick was saved brilliantly by Ben Foster in the England goal as he managed to tip the ball onto the bar.

England struggled to create many chances, the best of which fell to Sturridge midway through the second half but his shot went past the post.

Post-match Hodgson defended his team: “Apart from the first 10 to 12 minutes we dominated totally. We didn’t take our goal chances – if we did we would have comfortably won. We created the chances and that’s important.”

Jack Wilshere was one of the few brighter links in the side on his first side of the tournament, looking dangerous going forward and he said: “We showed a great deal of character to deal with the heat and not let our heads go down. We created a few chances and are just happy we didn’t lose all three of our games.

There’s no doubt, however, that some of the England fans who have travelled 2000 miles to see their team fail to win, will struggle assess the performance in the same way as their manager and central midfielder.

So, after just three weeks in Brazil England fly home, to a nation feeling dejected by three lacklustre performances.

There was no doubt in the months leading up to the tournament that this squad would fail to challenge for the trophy, however there was an expectation that they would get through the groups.

Perhaps even greater than the expectation of group qualification, was the anticipation that this current crop of young players may play a more expansive and exciting style of football. However, as fans have seen at so many major tournaments, the team struggled to look at ease or to create clear cut opportunities with any regularity.

To the surprise of many Group D will see Costa Rica and Uruguay qualify, with England’s fellow European nation Italy also failing to progress. Their elimination follows a controversial final game against Uruguay that saw Luis Suarez bite Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini, before Uruguayan captain Diego Godin scored the winning goal.

You can follow Tom on Twitter (@tomblackburn1) to discuss England's short World Cup campaign.

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