Costa Rica is set to play against the hard-striking Holland National team on Saturday, July 5, 2014. This is Costa Rica first-ever appearance in the FIFA Worldcup quarterfinals.
Speaking to local Costa Rican, they feel confident that this National Selection, can easily make it past Holland into the Semifinals. Some are even confident they can make it to the finals.
What is all the hype? Leading up to the 2014 world cup, almost everyone discounted the Costa Rican team as a certain loser in the group of death which included England, Italy and Uraguay, all of which have won championships on repeat occasions.
So what is the secret to Costa Rica’s success?
Jorge Luis Pinto
Commonly called “Pinto”, the coach of the Costa Rican National Team is not even Costa Rican; he is Colombian. Unlike many successful coaches, he was never even a really good player. He started coaching a Colombian team called Millionarios back in 1984. He started coaching the Costa Rican team in 2004 and 2005. He was sent back to Colombia after this and considered a failure only to return in 2010 to again fail after losing to Uruguay and Chile in the 2010 World Cup qualifying matches. In 2011, he returned to Costa Rica and brought the team around to qualifying for the 2014 World Cup, and eventually landing in the quarterfinals.
Bryan Ruiz is the captain of the team and plays right side middle attacker. He also plays second striker. He began his professional career playing at the age of 18 for the the Liga Deportiva Alajuelense “La Liga”. He was quickly nicknamed “la comadreja” or the “weasel” for his facial features. In 2006, his career took a huge step foreward when he was signed by the Belgian team AA Gent. in July of 2009, he then joined the Dutch team FC Twente. Today, he plays for the English team Fulham. In 2012, he mades 31 first team appearances and scored give goals.
The Rest of the Team
In all Costa Rica has a total of 28 play for the European Futbol league UEFA, including the following big names:
- Christian Bolaños – Midfield – Denmark
- Junior Diaz – Midfield – Germany
- Oscar Duarte – Defense – Belgium
- Keylor Navas – Goalie – Spain
In fact, Costa Rica has almost the most players in the European league at 30, just 1 player behind the most which is the US at 31. Given Costa Rica’s population of 4.5 million, it almost begins to look like the Dominican Republic of soccer.
Costa Rica is best known for its beautiful beaches, rainforests and coffee. Fifteen years ago, the main exports were coffee, pineapples and bananas. However, today the major exports also include computer chips, medical devices, and professional services. This monumental shift in the economy started when Intel and HP opened large offices in Costa Rica. This was quickly followed by many other large US companies, who find Costa Rica to be a attractive due to time zone, language skills and productivity.
At the end of the day, or at the end of the game, this has created a very positive growth momentum in a country that has historically been sleepy. Growth attracts immigrants and funds education and health care programs, which improve the standard of living.
However, none of this is truly related to the Costa Rica’s recent success in the World Cup. The upcoming match in Holland will bring Costa Rica back to reality. Both England and Italy both were in terrible shape in this years World Cup. Uruguay and Greece were the only true problems for Costa Rica, and both games were very close.
Even though Costa Rica is probably hoping the dutch team shows up for the game in wooden clogs, they still believe they can play at an equal level.