Los Ticos eyeing another surprise
Los Ticos owe their place at Qatar 2022 to an impressive revival in qualifying
They beat New Zealand in the intercontinental play-offs
Costa Rica will face Spain, Japan and Germany in Group E
Clevpicks.com will introduce you the Costa Rican national football team...
Costa Rica appeared to have no chance in the last round of Concacaf qualifying for Qatar 2022 despite being surprise quarterfinalists at Brazil 2014 and present at Russia 2018. After losing to Canada in November 2021, Los Ticos appeared to have no chance of recovering. However, they somehow improved their performance to record six victories in their last seven games and wrest the intercontinental play-off spot away from Panama thanks to their renown "never-say-die" attitude.
The team led by Luis Fernando Suarez then traveled to Qatar for a rescheduled winner-takes-all match against New Zealand, which they started as well as they could with a goal from national hero Joel Campbell. In order to secure a spot in the World Cup for a third consecutive year, Los Ticos held onto that slim lead while withstanding everything the New Zealanders could muster.
Costa Rica has their sights set on a repeat of their incredible Brazil 2014 campaign, when they went all the way to the quarterfinals before losing on penalties to the Netherlands. With a golden generation set for its last dance and a clutch of youngsters ready to take the baton from them, Costa Rica has their sights set on a repeat of that campaign.
It won't be simple to repeat that trip, not with Spain, Germany, and Japan waiting for them in the group stages. But if a team with renowned players like Keylor Navas and Bryan Ruiz can overcome that formidable obstacle, the Tico fans might just start having huge dreams once more.
Costa Rica’s Group E fixtures
Costa Rica-Spain (23 November)
Costa Rica-Japan (27 November)
Costa Rica-Germany (1 December)
Luis Fernando Suarez’s approach and tactics
The 62-year-old Colombian will coach at his third World Cup, allowing him to satisfy a lifelong obsession. Suarez, who led Honduras to their third world finals in Brazil in 2014 and was instrumental in Ecuador's historic run to the last 16 in Germany in 2006, orchestrated a highly improbable Costa Rican comeback in the second half of the Concacaf qualifications for Qatar in 2022. He made the proper decisions to motivate a successful late charge at the precise moment when it appeared that his term would end in abrupt disaster.
In doing so, Suarez turned around the fortunes of his team by winning over the veterans, bringing the locker room together, and placing his trust in young players like Anthony Contreras and Jewison Benette. Suarez commands the players to shout "Aita Mikilona" before and after each game as a symbol of their solidarity. The team's motto, "Together to the end," is derived from the Bribri language, which is spoken by one of the largest Indigenous communities in the nation. Suarez, a meticulous coach, now understands his ideal starting lineup and used it to turn around Costa Rica's fortunes in the qualifying round. His system had four defenders, two holding midfielders, four offensive midfielders, and a lone striker.
Key player: Keylor Navas
The goalkeeping of Luis Gabrielo Conejo played a significant role in Costa Rica's improbable progression to the round of 16 in Italy in 1990. Some 24 years later, one of his successors, Keylor Navas, whose performances at Brazil 2014 made him one of the stars of the tournament, helped Los Ticos make history once more. Because of those performances, which enabled Los Ticos advance all the way to the round of eight, the powerful Real Madrid made the decision to sign Navas following the competition. The goalkeeper was a key member of the Merengue team that won three straight UEFA Champions League titles, therefore it was a sensible decision.
The captain is in charge of the Costa Rican pack and is regarded as one of the best practitioners of his craft in the entire globe. He is a complete goalie who is strong in all areas, with no noticeable weaknesses in his play. Navas is a talisman for Costa Rica because of his propensity to make unbelievable save after impossible save. He demonstrated his character by helping to salvage their sputtering qualifying campaign, and he now plans to challenge the top scorers in the world in another World Cup.
One to watch: Jewison Bennette
The 18-year-old Bennette is one of the star performers from Costa Rica's upcoming generation, along with Contreras. The left winger joined Sunderland of the English second division in the most recent transfer window after earning an international call-up as a result of his performances with Herediano. In the intercontinental play-off against New Zealand, the wide player displayed his talent to the world by making a characteristic run down the left wing and contributing to the goal that guaranteed Costa Rica's spot in Qatar 2022.
Bennette is a challenge for opposition right backs because of his speed and dribbling abilities. He already has the Sunderland crowd screaming his praises due to his skill at finding and taking advantage of gaps between defensive lines and generating opportunities out of thin air. He is an explosive and dynamic presence on the field when he gets room to run into on the counter. The young Bennette has a lot of space for growth, but he has what it takes to be one of Qatar 2022's breakout stars.
Costa Rica at the World Cup
The fact that Costa Rica will be playing in its sixth World Cup and third straight shows the status the nation's best generation of players have gained since they accomplished the nation's greatest feat ever at Brazil 2014.
The history of Los Ticos at World Cups dates back to Italy 1990, where they moved from the group stage by defeating Scotland and Sweden before falling to Czechoslovakia in the round of 16.
Costa Rica stunned everyone at Brazil 2014, making up for losing out on South Africa 2010 despite it seeming improbable that they would ever achieve that feat. The Central Americans beat a group that included three former world champions, defeated Greece in the Round of 16, and lost to the Netherlands in the semifinals.
Then, at Russia 2018, they were eliminated early after placing last in a group with Brazil, Switzerland, and Serbia. Having moved past their disappointment, Costa Rica will travel to Qatar with the goal of capping off an illustrious era with a victory.
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