Martin O’Neill’s Republic of Ireland side began their two game American odyssey with a one-one draw against England’s group C opponents, Costa Rica in Philadelphia.
Ireland took a first half lead through Kevin Doyle before a second half Celso Borges penalty leveled it for Costa Rica. Robbie Keane also missed a penalty in the second half in his first game of this group of fixtures.
Just three minutes in and fresh from MLS action, Robbie Keane tried his luck from all of forty yards. The shot was never troubled keeper Keylor Navas.
15 minutes in and Costa Rica attempted to open their account for the evening as Jose Miguel Cubero struck an effort from distance. It was charged down by debutant Shane Duffy and cleared to safety.
Seventeen minutes into the game, Ireland broke the deadlock. After picking up the ball on the left touchline, Marc Wilson turned inside onto his prefered right foot.
He took a touch before swinging a sweeping cross to the edge of the box from which Doyle nestled a beautiful header past Navas into the bottom corner.
Costa Rica didn’t cause Duffy and Keogh much difficulty in the opening half hour, the closest they came to unlocking the Irish defence was a move which ended with Marco Urena’s pass to Celso Borges being cut out excellently by Duffy.
Joel Campbell is one to watch at the World Cup this summer and he almost made Ireland pay for some lax marking 35 minutes in.
He ran in the channel behind the Boys in Green defence and crossed for Bryan Ruiz, who under pressure headed over.
Borges appeared to fancy his chances at beating David Forde but his drive from distance was high and wide.
Moments later though, Forde almost gifted Borges a Costa Rican equaliser. Heiner Mora got down the line and centred the ball, Forde split it and it fell to Borges but his acrobatic effort dipped over Forde’s bar.
Four minutes before the break, Costa Rica were reduced to ten men. Giancarlo Gonzalez swung a flailing arm at Doyle, busting him open and the referee judged that enough to flash the red card at the central defender.
Moments after the red card, Costa Rica could well have been level. Borges lofted a free kick to the back post and Oscar Duarte rose above Stephen Kelly but could not direct it inside Forde’s post.
Five minutes into the second period, Marco Urena skipped past Glenn Whelan and into the Irish area before skying a poor effort over Forde’s bar.
Costa Rica continued to turn the screw as Campbell beat Duffy out on the Irish left before striking a low, weak effort right at a grateful Forde.
Mora and Campbell began to cause out of position left back James McClean big problems and when Mora beat the Wigan man, he looked destined to hit the target only for Duffy to throw his body in the way to prevent the chance.
Just past the hour mark, the quality of Campbell was on full display as he played a truly wonderful defense splitting pass to Urena.
He went down under a challenge by Forde and Borges stepped up to slot the penalty home and bring Costa Rica deservedly level.
Two minutes later, Ireland were awarded a penalty of their own. Stephen Quinn rushed through on goal before being felled by Mora at the edge of the area.
Up stepped the ever reliable Robbie Keane, who missed from the spot after a fine save by substitute keeper Patrick Pemberton.
With 15 minutes left on the clock, Keane almost made amends for his miss from the spot. McClean broke down the left and fizzed a ball to the front post which Keane tried to sneak inside the front post. Pemberton was equal to it though.
Ireland again went close through Shane Long and Simon Cox late on but Pemberton was in unstoppable form and the game finished one apiece.
Costa Rica: Keylor Navas (Patrick Pemberton 46) ; Heiner Mora, Giancarlo Gonzalez, Oscar Duarte, Michael Umana; Junior Diaz, Marco Urena (Randall Brenes 79), Jose Miguel Cubero, Celso Borges; Bryan Ruiz (Cristian Bolanos 74); Joel Campbell (Diego Calvo 87)
Subs not used: Daniel Carbonero (GK), Waylon Francis, Michael Barrantes, Johnny Acosta, Christian Gamboa, Oscar Garanados, Yeltsin Tejeda.
Sent off: Gonzalez (41)
Republic of Ireland: David Forde; Stephen Kelly, Richard Keogh, Shane Duffy, Marc Wilson (James McClean 40) ; Anthony Pilkington (Aiden McGeady 66), Glenn Whelan, Paul Green (Jeff Hendrick 66) ,Stephen Quinn (Simon Cox 84); Kevin Doyle (Shane Long 70), Robbie Keane (Wes Hoolahan 84)
Subs not used: Ian Lawlor (GK), Rob Elliot (GK), Alex Pearce, David Meyler
Booked: Whelan (45), McClean (59)
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Joel Campbell (Costa Rica)