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HomeCosta RicaCosta Rica Heads to Qatar with Dreams of Repeating Brazil 2014

Costa Rica Heads to Qatar with Dreams of Repeating Brazil 2014

Costa Rica goes to the World Cup in Qatar with the hopes of repeating the feat of Brazil-2014, when they reached the quarterfinals for the first time in a World Cup after playing the mighty Italy, England and Uruguay in the group stage.

The Ticos, grouped in Qatar-2022 in Group E along with Spain, Japan and Germany, will once again seek to be the surprise team, after the fiasco of Russia-2018.

Coach Colombian Luis Fernando Suarez, will face the competition with a group of players who made history in Brazil, such as PSG goalkeeper Keylor Navas, who at 35 years of age will be playing in his third World Cup. 

Navas will be joined in his third World Cup adventure by defender Óscar Duarte (33); midfielders Celso Borges (34), Bryan Ruiz (37), Yeltsin Tejeda (30) and forward Joel Campbell (30). 

The squad also includes some fifteen youngsters who are expected to take over from a Tricolor whose fans know it by heart.

Among the promising newcomers are attacking midfielders Brandon Aguilera and Jewison Bennette, from England’s Nottingham Forest and Sunderland, respectively, and striker Gerson Torres, from Costa Rica’s Herediano.

“I have a good feeling about what we can do,” Suarez said during the call-up announcement.

Remembering Brazil 2014

Costa Rica goes to Qatar with the hopes of repeating the role played in Brazil-2014, when, against all odds, they finished first in the group of death, where they defeated Italy and Uruguay and drew with England.

In the round of 16, the Ticos eliminated Greece, but the Netherlands ended the dream in the next round in a penalty shootout.

“The hopes of a large part of Costa Rican fans is that the national team achieves a heroic act as it did 8 years ago,” said Irene Chinchilla, a journalist for Costa Rica’s Tigo Sports channel.  

“It’s difficult to achieve a feat like Brazil 2014, but it’s soccer and anything can happen,” she adds.

Now, two world champions await Costa Rica in the first phase: Luis Enrique’s tiki-taka Spain, against which it will debut on December 23, and Germany, winner of four World Cups, against which it will play on December 1. Before that, on the 27th, they will face Japan, runners-up in Asia.

Repeating the feat “could be possible”, but the result of the first match against Spain will be “decisive” because of “the emotional blow”, argues Andrea Zamora, a journalist for the TD+ sports channel.

“Eight years ago many nicknamed us the Cinderella because they knew little about us, the rivals did not see us as they see us now, now they know that Costa Rica could surprise and they study the team and its players more closely,” she adds.

Questions Remain

The Costa Rican team qualified for the World Cup after beating New Zealand in the playoffs, which they reached after a spectacular comeback in the CONCACAF round of 16. 

At the beginning of the qualifiers there had been some poor performances, but now they are in a good place with an effective defense in front of goal, without allowing many chance and with tactical order and good counter-attacks.

In Qatar 2022, Costa Rica will play its sixth World Cup, the third in a row. For Suarez it will be the third World Cup after coaching Ecuador in Germany-2006 and Honduras in Brazil-2014.

“What we can expect is a team that knows how to defend well and will have to have a minimum margin of error in the opportunities it manages to generate,” says Chinchilla.

“Costa Rica’s expectation for the World Cup is an unknown quantity, in the sense that the qualifiers are closing very well, but we are facing two very strong soccer powers,” Zamora maintains.

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