Costa Rica are
perhaps the most surprise side of the 2014 World Cup.
A minnow drawn in to a
pool of sharks, they are the only team in their group who has not won the World
Cup. Experts picked Costa Rica to earn 0 total points at the World Cup. Facing
the stiff competition of England, Uruguay, and Italy.
They started the
tournament with the ultimate surprise, a win against 2010 World Cup
semifinalists Uruguay. They went down early through an Edinson Cavani penalty,
then the South Americans felt the ill affects of playing without their talisman
The Costa Ricans shocked the world and put three past Fernando
Muslera in the second half, to earn a victory in their opening fixture.
Following the game, they were thought to be a one hit wonder, surely Italy, the
mighty and powerful Italy will set everything right in the footballing world
and would smash the lowly CONCACAF side. But it wasn't to be, Costa Rica held
on for a shock 1-0 victory over Italy, and moved to 6 points and automatic
qualification for the knockout rounds.
Their final group game against England
was merely to secure first place in the group, which they did, with a 0-0 draw
against the Three Lions.
The question remains, how far can this minnow go, how
long can the Cinderella story last for Costa Rica?
The question will
be answered when they face Greece in the round of 16. Greece is a winnable game
for Costa Rica, which can put them in to the quarterfinals.
What has made them
so effective is their counter attack play. They are patient defending, and
catch teams on the break. They caught Italy numerous times, punishing them just
once, but were unlucky other times, particularly when they were not awarded
what seemed to be a clear penalty.
None of that matters anymore, what mattes is
that Costa Rica can continue to make noise in Brazil in 2014. They are playing
in favorable conditions for them, the Brazilian climate is similar to the
native Costa Rican climate, which gives them an edge, particularly against the
European sides, whom they have faced and will face.
Costa Rica can be
this years Cinderella story. This little known team may shock the world beyond
what they have already done and may go far in Brazil.
They have Greece
upcoming, and anything can happen in that game. Even if their run ends there,
they have so much to be proud of, especially that they successfully conquered
giants, and got out of the group of champions.