A late rally by the Costa Rican national soccer team was just enough for them to lose 3-2 against Iran in the non-consequential, World-Cup-warm-up match Wednesday in Tehran, Iran.
Iran’s race in the first half of the game to a 3-0 lead over the Costa Rican team – La Selección Nacional or La Sele for short – had some Tico fans wringing their hands and worrying about their team’s viability in this year’s World Cup, to be held in Germany in June.
Iran seemed to have little trouble getting their first shots off, resulting in a 10th-minute goal by the Iranian Ali Karimi to begin the scoring. That was followed by a second goal less than six minutes later by Ali Daei. Vahid Hashemian made it 3-0 in the 34th minute with a sliding toe-touch after the ball escaped from the prostrate Tico goalie, Alvaro Mesén.
Costa Rican Carlos Hernández managed to fire a shot straight through the middle of Iran’s defense for Costa Rica’s first goal, just one minute before halftime. La Sele returned for a stronger closing half, with a second goal off Danny Fonseca’s bald head in the 60th minute, but the efforts were just not enough.
Costa Rica played in Iran despite calls last week by a legislator and others in Costa Rica to cancel the match because of Iran’s nuclear aspirations and human rights record (TT, Feb. 24, 2005).
Accenting that argument, Iranian women gathered outside the Azadi Stadium, where the game was played, to protest their exclusion, as women were not allowed to inside to watch the match, the Associated Press reported.