> Sports > 2002 FIFA WORLD CUP 

   04 June, 2002 | 1345 IST



France get the blues

  More Slide Shows

Costa Rica score in second half

E-Mail this report to a friend
Print this page Best Printed on  HP Laserjets

Costa Rica spoiled China's World Cup debut on Tuesday, beating the first team from the Far East to play at the first finals staged in Asia 2-0 to go top of group C.

Thousands of Chinese fans who had travelled to South Korea for the historic game saw their team hang on in a scrappy first half before going under to two goals in four minutes just after the hour.

Costa Rica's Mauricio Wright (R) celebrates his goal against China with team mate Hernan Medford.Striker Roland Gomez grabbed the first with a curling left foot strike in the 61st minute. Centre-back Mauricio Wright scored the second, finishing off a neat move from a corner with a stooping header at the front post in the 65th.

The result leaves Costa Rica level on points with Brazil at the top of the group while China join Turkey at the bottom.

The other disappointment for China was the crowd.

There were only 27,217 people in the 43,000-capacity stadium despite reports that up to 40,000 Chinese fans would descend on South Korea this month to witness their team's historic debut in the biggest event in world sport.

Those that did turn up made plenty of noise, wore red wigs and face paints, and waved Chinese flags throughout the game.

First half action in the Costa Rica-China matchBut they were matched by a small band of whistle-blowing Costa Ricans, some of them sporting sombreros and cowboy outfits.

In truth, there was little to shout about for either set of fans for much of the match and they entertained themselves by launching 'Mexican Waves' around the ground -- a sure sign their interest in events on the pitch was limited.

The first half was marred by clumsy tackles.

Costa Rica's Luis Marin and Mauricio Solis were both booked for late challenges. Chinese midfielder Sun Jihai was substituted with what looked like a minor knock and team mate Li Tie was briefly stretchered off for attention.

The second half also started tamely before Gomez brought the game to life just after the hour.

His clever backheel set Paulo Wanchope through on goal and although his shot was blocked, Gomez was on hand to curl a left foot shot between two Chinese defenders into the far right hand corner of the net.

Four minutes later Gomez collected a short corner, turned his man and crossed for the unmarked Wright to head home only his fifth international goal.

Back to top
(c) Copyright 2002 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.


(c) 2002 India Limited. All Rights Reserved.