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Monday, May 20, 2024

Costa Rica and Brazil to play friendly in New Jersey

Costa Rica and Brazil, two national teams that have gone in opposite directions following the dramatic 2014 World Cup, will collide next month in New Jersey. The Costa Rican Football Federation (FEDEFUTBOL) confirmed Tuesday that the two sides will meet in a Sept. 5 friendly at Red Bull Arena.

Costa Rica’s “La Sele” is still in search of its first win under coach Paulo Wanchope, who carries an 0-4-5 record as he tries to replicate the team’s historic success at last year’s World Cup in Brazil. For its part, the former host has rebounded well after its embarrassing 7-1 loss to Germany in the tournament’s semifinals. With the return of manager Dunga, Brazil is 12-1-1 since the disappointing World Cup finish.

La Sele is headed back to play in the same state where it lost in controversial fashion to eventual champion Mexico in the recent Gold Cup quarterfinals. A result that set off an uproar in regards to the region’s officiating has been one of the few distractions that could momentarily hush the constant criticism of Wanchope in Costa Rica.

“It’s always important to go against the best,” Wanchope said about the upcoming friendly. “It’s the best measure to see where we are and where we’re going.”

Despite its recent run of success, Brazil is also coming off a quarterfinals loss after it was ousted early by Paraguay in penalty kicks at June’s Copa América tournament.

It will be the first time the teams have met since the October 2011 affair in Costa Rica where a Neymar goal gave the Brazilians a 1-0 win.

A few weeks ago, the federation also announced a Sept. 8 friendly with Uruguay at the National Stadium in San José. Costa Rica has enjoyed some recent success against “La Celeste,” as it topped Uruguay in penalty kicks in a November friendly after beating them 3-1 to begin their miraculous run in last year’s World Cup.

Rafael Vargas, FEDEFUTBOL’s secretary general, said Tuesday that the federation is also finalizing an agreement for an October friendly at National Stadium, saying that Ghana or South Africa could be possible opponents.

The Sept. 5 kickoff with Brazil is slated for 2 p.m. Costa Rica time.

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