Historic. Legendary. Few words could better describe the World Cup campaign being enjoyed by Costa Rica at the moment. After topping their group, which included England, Italy and Uruguay, undefeated, the Central American outfit downed Greece in the last 16 and will now play in the tournament's quarterfinal stage for the first time ever. Only the most optimistic of Costa Rica fans could have thought this was possible.
The side suffered right up until the end, and are indebted to their hero and saviour: Keylor Navas. Before, a goal from Sokratis Papastathopoulos had broken Costa Rican hearts, after they had lead through a Bryan Ruiz opener and resisted for so long with a man less. The Greeks could have made it 1-2 barely a minute after with a Kostas Mitroglou header, but the miracle of Keylor Navas rung true: he showed lighting reflexes to tip the ball over the bar and send the game into extra time.
In the final minute, with everyone out on their feet, Mitroglou was played in, and fired from close range, but once again Navas produced a top-drawer save. Practically beaten, the goalkeeper from San Isidro somehow managed to turn the ball round the post with his leg, and send the match into penalties.
The efficiency of the players from 12 yards was incredible, but once again it was the Costa Rica goalkeeper who made the difference. Theofanis Gekas put his shot to the keeper's right, and Keylor's outstretched arm parried the ball away. He and Costa Rica had made history.
"This save is for God, my family, my teammates and Costa Rica", said the player following the game. They will face Holland in the quarterfinals after the Dutch saw off a Mexico side containing three Liga BBVA stars (Giovani dos Santos, who scored for his side, Javier Aquino and Héctor Moreno) 2-1.