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FIFA World Cup finals history
Costa Rica played their first game as a national team in 1921, a 7-0 win over Central American neighbours El Salvador. As they developed as a side, things weren’t always quite so easy, but after many years of manful efforts they finally managed to reach the world’s biggest football tournament in 1990, taking full advantage of Mexico’s suspension to reach the finals in Italy. Once there, they beat Sweden and Scotland to reach the knockout rounds in an impressive debut under the care of wily boss Bora Milutinovic, where they lost to Czechoslovakia.
The key players
Costa Rica’s fortunes lie at the skillful feet of one Bryan Ruiz. Called “a truly special player” by former coach Rodrigo Kenton, Ruiz established himself at club side Twente in the Netherlands before moving on to Fulham in England. Now back in the Eredivisie with PSV Eindhoven, he ranks among the best playmakers in the North, Central American and Caribbean zone. Alongside Ruiz are a number of tried-and-trusted performers like Alvaro Saborio, Cristian Bolanos and outstanding goalkeeper Keilor Navas.The dribbling skills and all-around attacking play of the young Joel Campbell have made him another of Los Ticos’most valuable assets.
Coach: Jorge Luis Pinto
Best performances in a FIFA competition: FIFA World Cup Italy 1990 (Round of 16), FIFA U-20 World Cup Egypt 2009 (Fourth place)
Former stars: Hernan Medford, Paulo Wanchope, Walter Centeno