Soccer

World Cup Team Profile - Costa Rica

Group: D

Confederation: CONCACAF

Coach: Jorge Luis Pinto

Captain: Bryan Ruiz (PSV)

Full Costa Rica Roster

The Road to Rio: Apart from twice being blanked by Mexico, Costa Rica managed to get through the third round of CONCACAF qualifying with relative ease. The Mexican losses aside, Costa Rica outscored El Salvador and Guyana 14-2, handily taking second in their group.

Life in The Hex, however, proved difficult. Opening on the road in Panama, a draw looked like a decent start, but the real trouble lay ahead in Colorado. In near-blizzard conditions, the Costa Ricans were shut out by the Americans. Their protests would not be upheld, but the game was sight enough to get national media coverage stateside.

The rest of the way would be fairly painless for the Ticos. They would lose only once in their remaining eight games, in their trip to Honduras and conceding just four goals the rest of the way. Their strong finish helped serve notice that CONCACAF qualification is no longer just a battle for the one spot the U.S. and Mexico leave open.

Last World Cup appearance: Germany 2006 (Group Stage)
First World Cup appearance: Italy 1990 (Round of 16)
Previous World Cup appearances: 3
Best World Cup finish: Round of 16 (Italy 1990)

It was already going to be a tough road out of Group D for Costa Rica, having to get through England, Italy and Uruguay but without striker Alvaro Saborio, who has been ruled out with a broken foot, they have huge problems.

Minus Saborio, Los Ticos will depend on captain Bryan Ruiz who will press forward from an attacking midfield position and can provide goals for his team. Though he hasn’t really done the job for Fulham, who sent him out on load to PSV Eindhoven, he will have every chance to make his mark in Brazil for Costa Rica. Arsenal’s Joel Campbell, who spent the season on loan with Olympiacos, will play up front and at the age of 21 could be one of the tournament’s young breakout players; even if he most likely will only have the group stage to make his mark.

They play a strong defensive system and only conceded seven times in their 10 group games which helped earn them second place in CONCACAF qualifying. Three scoreless draws will not be nearly enough to get them into the Round of 16 and, if they find themselves chasing a game at any time in this tournament, they will be forced to open up on offence and their entire defensive system will be out the window.

Their advantage will be that the other three teams in this Group believe the battle for the top two places are amongst them and the three points from Costa Rica are in the bag. They could use that underestimation to spring an upset on at least one of the three teams they have to face in Group D and if they can get a result it would have to be considered a positive finish.



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