The Ticos of Costa Rica went down 4-2 to Germany in the opening game while Ecuador shocked Poland 2-0. With yesterday’s German victory, both teams need the points available here to insure they advance to the second round. An Ecuador victory eliminates Poland and Costa Rica, and sets up an intriguing final game against Germany. Of course it would also render the last group game between Poland and Costa Rica a study in irrelevancy.

Early action here is mostly in midfield. No good chances.

And then GOAL to Ecuador off a header in the 7th minute. Costa Rican defense on the cross looks worse that the US. The cross was unmolested and the marking of two(!) attackers in the middle was nonexistent. Sorry, Ticos.

Yellow to Marin of Costa Rica a minute later, but the challenge looked legit to me. The replay of course shows just how wrong I am. Really stomped the guys foot. This is why my career as a World Cup referee died well before high school. I’d be out there telling the guy who was stretched off to “get up.”

Twelve minutes in and Ecuador wins another corner. The Ticos are under pressure, and it will be interesting to see if they collapse like a house of cards (or like the USA), or if they weather the storm. I’m guessing the latter, but that’s why they play the game.

Costa Rica having dreadful problems in the attacking third. Solis of Costa Rica in the 27th gets a Yellow. Hard to argue when you take down a guy on the break. Wow, first Costa Rican sub at the 28th minute, which is as early as I’ve seen this Cup without some kind of injury.

Finally in the 30th minute Costa Rica gets a corner. Gets them nothing.

Free kick shot from Ecuador goes high in the 34th minute. Costa Rica’s impotence in the attacking third continues. Nothing dangerous or on frame so far. By contrast Ecuador’s had a few chances. Nothing as good as the one they got the goal on but still.

Finally Costa Rica puts one on frame in the 39th minute. No problem for the keeper, but it’s a step forward anyway. big chance for Ecuador in the 40th as the keeper cheats out a la Meola of the US in 1994. Costa Rica misses it’s best chance on a header that goes wide in the 41st. They’re still in it, at least, which is something that the US couldn’t say at this point against the Czech Republic.

Yellow to Castillo of Ecuador in the 43rd, but for what we’re all wondering. He missed both ball and man and it wasn’t dangerous. Just a bad call, I think.

Huge opportunity missed by Ecuador in the 45th. Ball on the ground across the middle should have been finished. Extra time now. OK, 1-0 Ecuador at half.

After a Yellow to De la Cruz of Ecuador.

GOAL to Ecuador in the 9th minute. Beats the keeper near post on a hard shot. Really should have been covered by the goalie. 2-0 to Ecuador. Ticos World Cup run is about 35 minutes from over. Presumably the substitution being made by the Ticos is a defender out and a forward in.

Good run by Costa Rica in the 38th minute. Corner kick wasted. Yellow to the Ecuador keeper for wasting time. Ecuador midfielder hurt on the following play. Maybe a cramp? He’s hobbling off. Don’t think it was faked at least.

OK, kids are up. Light blogging from here on out.

Costa Rica unluckily off the bar in the 86th.

Ecuador twists the knife with a goal in extra time. Well executed, but really the Ticos had no chance having pushed so many forward in an effort to get on the board. A couple late chance for Costa Rica thereafter, but no joy in San Jose.

And that’s the game 3-0. Ecuador and Germany will advance from the group, the remaining excitement being their upcoming match to decide who advances first and who advances second.