Football World Cup: The Effect Costa Rica

Football World Cup: The Effect Costa Rica
Fecha de publicación: 
27 June 2014
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Neither Messi nor Cristiano were the talk of the Cubans this weekend. Beyond the disappointing performance of Argentina and Portugal, people on the street repeat ad nauseam something as uncertain as impossible: “If Costa Rica can play like at world finals, Cuba at least could qualify.” The argument? Costa Ricans and Cubans ten years ago drew couple of games in a World Cup qualifier.

From that selection today remain only Christian Bolaños and Michael Umana; well, after that result, the Technical Director Steve Sampson was separated from the national squad. That team suffered that couldn’t beat those led by Miguel Company, changed face several times before reaching the finals in Germany.

However, how is it possible that a selection of CONCACAF, one of the weakest areas of the football universe, has struck in the face a couple of world champions? It’s so hard to explain. Of the 15 players who stepped on the pitch in the 1-3 victory over Uruguay two play in MLS clubs, two in the Deportivo Saprissa of Costa Rica and the other eleven do it in Europe. When Cuba was defeated 3-0 win in the Gold Cup 2013 by Costa Ricans, many of the World Cup players were not on the court, even its main stars were not there. Of course, all members of the Cuban team played in the National Football League.

Against Italy, the only difference was the entry as a substitute of Brenes for Barrantes; Are players the architects of this wonderful game? In part they are, but much of the credit goes to their technical director. Pinto had already led to the selection, without much success. He returned in 2011, after the failure of Ricardo La Volpe at the head of the Ticos and the team improved considerably, to the point that today they are the only qualified in group D, considered by many the group of death.

Costa Rica´s is not an isolated case. Mexico arrived in Brazil between doubts and suffering, but its performance has been very good, tying a game with local favorite to lift the title. The U.S. has also achieved good results in another very difficult group. Even Honduras has not been the worst. Has the CONCACAF improved?

There isn’t a tournament to measure forces in different regions. Usually, UEFA and CONMEBOL are considered the best football, and of course, have the best leagues in the world and all world champions belonged to these. However, there is no real gauge to know which areas are more powerful, so sometimes these surprises in World Cups astonish more than they should. The same has happened with African teams.

But realistically, if football in Central and North America have improved, by transitivity, this archipelago football doesn’t have to. Ours are kept well away from reality, although the reliable FIFA ranking says otherwise and we place above World Cup teams. Our football needs a monstrous massive cash injection and export of players to begin with. Let´s not talk about a world champion, beating teams like Russia and Cameroon are well distant for our goals, whether that goal would be closer to play a friendly against them.

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