U-17 WWC: Brave Costa Rica falls to Zambia
 Costa Rica's Sofia Varela celebrates after scoring against Zambia in the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup at the Estadio Ricardo Saprissa Ayma on March 22, 2014, in Tibas, San Jose, Costa Rica. (Photo: FIFA via Getty Images)
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SAN JOSE, Costa Rica -- Costa Rica ended its participation as host of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup with a 2-1 loss to Zambia on Saturday the Estadio Ricardo Saprissa Ayma.

The young Ticas took an early 1-0 lead through Sofia Varela, but were denied their first Group A points thanks to an African side that rallied to score once in each half.

Varela netted Costa Rica’s first goal of the tournament in the third minute, receiving a brilliant feed from the exceptional Gloriana Villalobos and finishing past goalkeeper Hazel Nali.

Five minutes later, though, Zambia on even terms as Grace Chanda headed in from close range.

Later in the half, Chanda hit the post and Memory Phiri missed on the follow-up.

In the 69th minute, an own-goal gave the Zambians the win.  Defender Maria Araya made a back pass to goalkeeper Yolian Salas, who missed on her kick and the ball rolled excruciatingly over the line.

Also on Saturday, in a battle of two sides that previously sealed quarterfinal berths, Venezuela (3-0-0, 9 points) posted a 1-0 victory over Italy (2-0-1, 6 points) to capture the group.

NOTES: After losing in the opener to Venezuela, 3-0, Costa Rica dropped its next two decisions by narrow single-goal margins.