Pinto proud after historic Costa Rica victory

Jorge Luis Pinto said Costa Rica's win over Italy was a special moment in the country's history as they qualified for the knockout phase.

Costa Rica were given little hope of advancing from Group D, but the Central American nation booked their spot in the round of 16 after building on their opening win over Uruguay to edge Italy 1-0 in Recife on Friday.

Friday's triumph marked the first time Costa Rica had made it past the group stage since 1990, having made swift exits in 2002 and 2006, while they failed to qualify for South Africa four years ago.

"Today's a very special moment for us," Pinto told reporters at his post-match news conference.

"We knew today we could make history for Costa Rica, and we have been able to do so.

"It is true that in 1990, in 2002 and 2006, we already fought very hard. But today we wanted to change history."

Pinto also heaped praise on his defenders, who battled hard to keep their first clean sheet since August last year, when they trounced the Dominican Republic - a run of 11 games.

"I think our defence was perfect," Pinto said.

"I don't want to be too positive, but I think our defence was really good. We have played very well."

Junior Diaz played a big part in Costa Rica's stunning triumph, providing plenty of support in defence and attack as a wing back.

Diaz, who replaced injured team-mate Bryan Oviedo in the 23-man squad, delivered the pinpoint cross for captain Bryan Ruiz to head home the eventual match winner.

"It's extra special for me because I was never guaranteed to be in the starting XI," Diaz told

"To be a part of creating the goal and helping the team, this is the best moment in my career and one of the best in my life."