YOKOHAMA, Japan (Ticker) -- Edison Mendez scored three minutes after the interval as Ecuador recorded a 1-0 upset of Croatia in Group G.
But the result sends both teams home as Mexico and Italy advance to the round of 16.
From a high cross into the box, Agustin Delgado knocked it back to Mendez, who fired a half-volley past goalkeeper Stipe Pletikosa.
Making its World Cup debut, Ecuador posted its first victory in soccer's showcase event.
"It was important for the country," Mendez said. "We are not satisfied totally with the result because we could not make it to the second round. But the victory was very important, so that we didn't have to go home empty-handed."
After taking third place four years ago in its inaugural World Cup appearance, Croatia failed to reproduce that magic in Asia.
Alen Boksic, who missed France '98 due to injury, watched a first-half effort glance off the left post and rocketed a volley over the crossbar with eight minutes left.
"The players were aware that there was something lacking in the rhythm of the game and that Ecuador was dictating the rhythm," Croatia coach Mirko Jozic said. "The attackers, especially after a few substitutions, finally started going forward in front of the goal, but in the last minutes they lacked concentration. They had three or four good chances, but they didn't use them."
Mario Stanic came closest to scoring for Croatia in the 87th minute. But his header off Milan Rapaic's corner was cleared off the line by Alex Aguinaga.
But for the most part, Croatia failed to rediscover the form it displayed on Saturday. Ivica Olic and Rapaic scored during a three-minute span as the the Croatians rallied late to beat the Italians and claw their way back into contention for a second-round berth from Group G.
"I was good for only one game," Boksic said, referring to his performance against Italy. "In the World Cup, you have to be good at all times. There is a lot of disappointment at losing the game tonight."
Despite also exiting the tournament, Ecuador has a different perspective than Croatia.
"I think today we've shown something much better than the other times," Ecuador coach Hernan Dario Gomez said. "This team is writing history right now. With one goal versus Mexico and now this victory which brings us the three points, we are going home very, very happy. The country will celebrate this."