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Sunday, July 14, 2024

Costa Rica coach Pinto gives status updates on trio of key players for the World Cup

At a press conference Thursday morning, Costa Rica coach Jorge Luis Pinto discussed the status of a few players who might provide a boost for his team against Group D’s high-ranking rivals.

He said injured star Bryan Oviedo remains on path towards a remarkable comeback. Oviedo is less than three months removed from breaking two bones in his left leg during an English Premier League match. In the upcoming days, the left back will take on more vigorous physical activity to determine how close he is to returning for La Sele.

Right back Cristian Gamboa seems to be the more pressing concern for Pinto. Gamboa, who plays in Norway, damaged ligaments in his right knee. The injury requires approximately six weeks of recovery time, leaving the coach to worry about the health of both his top wing-backs.

Pinto and potential backup goalie Esteban Alvarado have apparently reconciled any tensions after a falling out that occurred in late 2011. Pinto recently met with the Dutch league goaltender Alvarado, who apologized for past actions that had led to a falling out with the head coach.

Alvarado suddenly abandoned the team — later claiming he was injured — before two friendly matches in November 2011 against Panama and Spain. It was thought that Alvarado would remain barred from the Costa Rican national team through the World Cup, but the goalie’s strong play in Netherlands seems to be reopening doors for him.

Costa Rica already has a star goalie in Keylor Navas. But goalies in the local Costa Rican have failed to impress Pinto in his search for a reserve. So Pinto met with Alvarado in Amsterdam last week. Alvarado would be a safety valve for the Tico squad if Navas struggles, gets injured or is expelled from a match.

“We talked about football, of the past, of what happened, of the present, and we are open to dialogue (about a possible future for Alvarado on the World Cup team),” Pinto said. “He’s a friend, we don’t have quarrels nor hate nor nothing. We had a friendly conversation.”

National team players will begin a final training session in mid-May. All World Cup participants must submit their final rosters to FIFA by June 2.

During the press conference, Pinto also promised again a “big reward” if anyone returns to him the items stolen from his car Monday.

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