The Costa Rican National Team played its farewell match before the World Cup. ‘Los Ticos’ won 2-0 against Nigeria at the National Stadium. A packed stadium bid farewell to those who will represent them in Qatar and conveyed unity and optimism.
The atmosphere was superb: a packed stadium, the enthusiasm of the players on the field, the passionate chants of the fans, and the great show put on by the Costa Rican Soccer Federation.
‘La Sele’ won with two goals scored by Óscar Duarte and Kendall Waston, two central defenders.
Duarte’s goal came early during the game. In the 6th minute, after Joel Campbell’s cross from a free kick was left at the center of the area, Duarte managed to anticipate goalkeeper Nathaniel Nwosu and score. Madness was unleashed at the National Stadium.
Later, in the 72nd minute, Campbell crossed into the heart of the penalty area, and Waston made it 2-0 with a header.
The team’s young players, such as Anthony Hernandez, Roan Wilson, and Alvaro Zamora, showed why coach Luis Fernando Suarez had called them.
Nigeria played a great game and, at times, made Costa Rica’s game very difficult. Esteban Alvarado had to repel a brilliant shot from Samson Paul, which could’ve been a goal.
Keylor Navas, who couldn’t fly to Costa Rica for the game, sent a message to his teammates and all Ticos.
“Today, my national team is saying goodbye to the whole country. I would have loved to have been there. It’s a pity it wasn’t possible, but I hope you enjoy this party very much. Let’s go with faith to Qatar! Pura Vida!!!” he posted.
Costa Rica is in Group D of the World Cup along with Spain, Germany, and Japan, one of the most challenging groups. However, supporters and players believe it’s possible to move to the second round.
“The expectations are very high; we have talked about wanting to be champions, which is what we will fight for. It is a dream we must carry, and we will give our best to achieve it. This is a group of experienced players with which we can fight until the end,” said player Bryan Oviedo.
On the other hand, Costa Rican legend Bryan Ruiz played his last game in La Sabana. Ruiz played 67 minutes and was substituted by Celso Borges.
“I know that there are people who do not agree with my call-up, but I assure them that I will not only contribute off the field but also on it and that in the end, in a certain way, I will prove that I am important for the national team,” said the captain.
The rest of the squad assured Ruiz is of utmost importance for the National Team and he will always be ‘El Capi.’
With the World Cup just a few days away, Ticos cannot wait to see La Sele’s debut. If anything, they showed their National Team how much they believe in them and that an entire country will cheer for them throughout the competition.