Dramatic passage clinched by Los Ticos

  • Costa Rica join Zambia and Portugal in last 16

  • Ticos finish third in Group C but guaranteed as one of the best four finishers

  • Scored and missed a penalty, while Zambia saw late goal ruled out

Costa Rica survived a dramatic finale to reach the FIFA U-20 World Cup last 16 after they earned a 1-0 win over Group C table-toppers Zambia.

With nothing but a win able to propel Costa Rica to the next round, they got the near-perfect start. After surviving a scare as goalkeeper Erick Pineda pushed a Ngosa Nsunzu effort onto the bar, Jostin Daly took his chance soon after Jimmy Marin was brought down in the box, albeit at the second time of asking after Mangani Banda saved his penalty.

Despite already being guaranteed progression, Zambia looked the most likely to strike next, with Patson Daka twice forcing the Ticos stopper into action. Pineda’s pivotal role in keeping Costa Rica’s hopes alive was beginning to become a theme but, at the other end, the African champions were thanking the post.

Randall Leal had the chance to put both feet in the next round but his penalty rattled the upright and Banda was alive to the rebound. Pineda offered up more miracles, but it seemed to be one too few as Daka finally struck. However, the video assistant referee proved decisive, ruling it out and seeing Costa Rica through.