The road to Brazil has been something of a divine quest for the minnows of Group D. Faltering to Uruguay in a qualifying playoff for the tournament in 2010, Costa Rica were hell-bent on returning to the big dance in 2014. Courageous displays against CONCACAF juggernauts Mexico and the United States that include share of the spoils in the Azetca and battling through whiteout conditions in Denver have etched character in Jorge Luis Pinto’s men.
With eight years passed since their last expedition in Germany, the squad has evolved into a dynamic and well-oiled machine. Christian Bolaños (Copenhagen), Celso Borges (AIK) and Michael Barrantes (Aalesund) will all be valuable assets in the middle of the park– each decorated with a half-century of caps in the engine room.
Keeper Keylor Navas (Levante) is entering the tournament in excellent form after claiming the starting berth between the sticks for his parent club over the past two seasons. Costa Rica’s most prized possession is the wealth of talent they possess in attack. Their most experienced star striker, Alvaro Saborio unfortunately misses the tournament due to breaking his foot during a training session, Arsenal’s Joel Campbell will be expected to lead the attack in his place. Their other striker, Marco Ureña (Kuban Krasnodar) has an exceptional seven goals in his 21 appearances for the national team since his debut in 2009. Captain Bryan Ruiz (PSV), will be hoping to supply Costa Rica’s attack with quality and style.
Los Ticos’ opening match against Uruguay in Fortaleza on June 14 will be against their most familiar foe in group D (eight losses and two draws) before meeting Italy(one loss) in Recife on June 20 and England(never met) in Belo Mineirão on June 24.
Costa Rica will be hoping to avoid heavy defeats and maybe get a draw or two out of the group, in a group so difficult, getting a point out of any of these teams will be a great feat.
Written by Kyle Hufnagel.
Costa Rica 23-man World Cup roster
Keylor Navas (Levante)
Patrick Pemberton (Alajuelense)
Daniel Cambronero (Herediano)
Giancarlo González (Columbus Crew)
Jhonny Acosta (Alajuelense)
Michael Umaña (Saprissa)
Roy Miller (New York Red Bull)
Óscar Duarte (Club Brugge)
Junior Díaz (Mainz 05)
Cristian Gamboa (Rosenborg)
Heiner Mora (Saprissa)
Waylon Francis (Columbus Crew)
Yeltsin Tejeda (Saprissa)
José Miguel Cubero (Herediano)
Óscar Esteban Granados (Herediano)
Celso Borges (AIK)
Michael Barrantes (Aalesund)
Christian Bolaños (FC Copenhague)
Diego Calvo (Valerenga)
Bryan Ruiz (PSV)
Joel Campbell (Olympiacos)
Randall “Chiqui” Brenes (Cartaginés)
Marco Ureña (Kuban Krasnodar)