Raquel sends Brazil through perfect, Costa Rica eliminated

A late Raquel goal sent Brazil through to the knockout phase as one of only two teams on maximum points and eliminated opponents Costa Rica from the FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015™ in the process with a 1-0 victory.

An under-strength Seleção monopolised possession and had umpteen attempts on goal, but the heroics of goalkeeper Dinnia Diaz appeared set to preserve deadlock and earn Las Ticas a third successive draw until the 24-year-old coolly slotted into the bottom corner in Moncton seven minutes from time.

Having already secured first place in Group E, Brazil rested several key players including the legendary Marta, but that did not stop them creating countless first-half chances. After Gabriela had a goal ruled out for offside, Darlene shot narrowly wide following a neat dribble, before the same player forced Diaz into a smart save. The South Americans’ best opportunity fell to Rosana, whose composure deserted her when unmarked in the box.

Costa Rican breaks were seldom, but Raquel Rodriguez did spurn one gilt-edged opening, heading a pinpoint Shirley Cruz cross straight into the arms of Luciana from close range. On the hour, Rafaelle propelled a rapid counter-attack and fed substitute Beatriz, whose firm strike from inside the area was pushed over the bar by Diaz. The Costa Rica No1 then blocked a point-blank Rosana flick on her line.

Diaz continued to repel opposition strikes, until Raquel broke clear and beat her in the 84th minute. That ensured Brazil, alongside Japan, advanced with a perfect group-stage record, sending Vadao’s girls into a last-16 duel with Australia high on confidence.

Live Your Goals Player of the Match: Andressa (Brazil)