FIFA World Cup 2018 team profile: Costa Rica look for repeat of 2014 heroics
Costa Rica surprised many in the last edition of the FIFA World Cup with their performances and they will look to go one better in this year’s edition of the tournament.football Updated: Jun 11, 2018 20:59 IST
Head coach: Oscar Ramirez
World Cup history: Qualified four times; Best: Quarterfinals (2014)
Qualifying route: CONCACAF fifth round runners-up
Squad: (Goalkeepers): Keylor Navas, Patrick Pemberton, Leonel Moreira; (Defenders): Cristian Gamboa, Ian Smith, Ronald Matarrita, Bryan Oviedo, Oscar Duarte, Giancarlo Gonzalez, Francisco Calvo, Kendall Waston, Johnny Acosta; (Midfielders): David Guzman, Yeltsin Tejeda, Celso Borges, Randall Azofeifa, Rodney Wallace, Bryan Ruiz, Daniel Colindres, Christian Bolanos; (Forwards): Johan Venegas, Joel Campbell and Marco Urena.
Costa Rica were definitely not favourites to make it past the group stages of the tournament in the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
However, they eventually finished as toppers of a group that included three former world champions in Uruguay, Italy, and England.
They were knocked out of the tournament in the quarter-finals on penalties to Netherlands but their performance left a strong mark on the tournament.
The FIFA World Cup 2018 will be their fifth appearance in the tournament and this time teams will know better than to think of taking them lightly.
It helps immensely that in Oscar Ramirez, they have a manager who is well known for being extremely sound tactically and did well in club management.
Ramirez, incidentally, was a part of the Costa Rica side that made their FIFA World Cup debut in 1990 and he will hope to improve on their 2014 showing this time around.
This current side is definitely not short on talent. Keylor Navas has remained Real Madrid’s number one goalkeeper since his transfer to the side in 2014.
Costa Rica’s captain Bryan Ruiz has played in the Premier League for Fulham, and striker Joel Campbell is a highly rated young talent for Arsenal.
The Costa Rica national football team are once again going to start as underdogs given the presence of sides like Brazil and Serbia in their group. But that is a situation where they thrive.
First Published: Jun 11, 2018 20:55 IST