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SquadEdit

Goalkeepers: Daniel Cambronero (Herediano), Keylor Navas (Levante), Patrick Pemberton (Alajuelense)

Defenders: Johnny Acosta (Alajuelense), Junior Diaz (Mainz), Oscar Duarte (Club Brugge), Waylon Francis (Columbus Crew), Christian Gamboa (Rosenborg), Giancarlo Gonzalez (Columbus Crew), Roy Miller (New York Red Bulls), Heiner Mora (Deportivo Saprissa), Michael Umana (Deportivo Saprissa)

Midfielders: Michael Barrantes (Aalesund), Christian Bolanos (Copenhagen), Diego Calvo (Valerenga), Jose Miguel Cubero (Herediano), Esteban Granados (Herediano), Yeltsin Tejeda (Deportivo Saprissa)

Forwards: Celso Borges (AIK), Randall Brenes (Cartagines), Joel Campbell (Arsenal), Bryan Ruiz (Fulham), Marco Urena (Kuban Krasnodar)

Costa
Edit

Team ProfileEdit

It will be a case of third time lucky for Jorge Luis Pinto at the 2014 FIFA World Cup as Costa Rica attempt to spring a surprise.

The Colombian has twice failed to guide teams to football's showpiece event.

Poor results ended Pinto's first spell in charge of Costa Rica before an upturn in fortunes followed his exit, with the nation going on to reach Germany 2006.

He was then equally unsuccessful with his homeland in trying to secure a spot in South Africa four years later.

But Pinto will take pride of place in Brazil after finally realising his "life's dream" of qualifying for a World Cup, although progressing to the knockout stages looks a daunting task.

Nevertheless, Costa Rica are brimming with confidence under the 61-year-old.

Pinto has revitalised the Central American nation in his second stint, steering Costa Rica to second behind the United States in the fourth and final round of CONCACAF qualifying, with the aid of five wins from 10 matches.

That those five victories all came on home soil will no doubt concern Pinto, especially given Costa Rica's Group D rivals are Italy, Uruguay and England.

A final group game against England in Belo Horizonte on June 24 will represent the first time that the two teams have faced each other, while first up are Uruguay, who have not lost against Costa Rica in eight previous encounters.

When the duo last met in 2009, it was Uruguay who denied Costa Rica a place at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa after triumphing 2-1 in the inter-confederation play-offs.

Despite being pitted in such a tough group, Pinto is confident the task ahead will keep his side motivated.

We love (the group), Pinto said. The braver the bull, the better the bullfight.

"I like my football teams to pressure the opponent with the ball on the floor, aggressive, balanced in every way tactically and good judgment with the ball.

"We're going to face three strong teams with World Cup pedigree and that will motivate us and make us get a better feeling of the tournament. It will make us react better on the pitch. We have never beaten any of them.

"Let's hope this is the moment."

At their maiden World Cup in 1990, Costa Rica reached the last 16.

However, they have only won one game in two subsequent finals appearances and left Germany in 2006 having failed to gain a single point.

Pressure this time around will fall on many of the European-based players available to Pinto, with captain Bryan Ruiz the most potent threat.

The forward finished the final round of qualifying as the team's top scorer with three goals, but was ably assisted by his team-mates as eight other players also netted.

Equally important will be the form of goalkeeper Keylor Navas, while Arsenal youngster Joel Campbell has impressed during a loan spell with Olympiacos and will provide added creativity.

However, influential Everton midfielder Bryan Oviedo misses out as he has not recovered in time from the broken leg he sustained in January.

And Oviedo is joined on the sidelines by forward Alvaro Saborio, who suffered a fractured metatarsal in training in late May.

Pinto's plans may have been disrupted by that double injury blow, but it is unlikely to spoil his mood in Brazil.



Player Profile (Bryan Ruiz)Edit

Position: Forward
Date of Birth: August 18, 1985
Club: Fulham
International Debut: v Canada (July 6, 2005)
World Cup Appearances: 0
World Cup Goals: 0

Costa Rica may not hold much hope of making a big impact at the FIFA World Cup, but Bryan Ruiz could just hold the mercurial talent to help them spring a surprise.

Ruiz may have never played at a World Cup before, he was overlooked in 2006, but his performances both internationally and at club level make him a vital part of Jorge Luis Pinto's plans for this year's tournament.

In the lengthy qualifying campaign for the 2014 finals, the forward scored three goals in 11 appearances, including the opener against Mexico in their final game in October.

England, Italy and Uruguay now await Costa Rica in Group D and Pinto will be expecting captain Ruiz to lead by example.

Ruiz's movement and ability will pose a real threat to that trio of teams, while no-one should ignore his ability in the air.

However, England's defenders will be confident of keeping the 28-year-old quiet after his disappointing spell in the Premier League with Fulham.

After starring as a youngster in his homeland with Alajuelense, Ruiz made the move to Europe to join Belgian side Gent before making his name with Twente in the Eredivisie. A transfer to Craven Cottage followed in 2011.

Ruiz has spent three years in England, but has struggled as flashes of brilliance have been overshadowed by underwhelming displays.

A move back to the Eredivisie on loan in January after falling out of favour with then Fulham head coach Rene Meulensteen offered Ruiz the chance to revive his fortunes at PSV.

And it was an opportunity that he grabbed to produce a timely return to form ahead of Costa Rica's fourth appearance at a World Cup.

Five goals from 14 appearances helped Phillip Cocu's men finish fourth and clinch UEFA Europa League qualification.

The fact that Ruiz's club future is unclear heading into the World Cup adds intrigue to how he will fare.

By his own admission, Ruiz wants to stay at PSV, but he could be inundated with rival offers if he delivers for his country in Brazil.

Despite believing that Pinto's men have been pitted in the toughest group, Ruiz thinks Costa Rica are capable of springing an upset.

"We are in the group of death, the hardest of all. That is simply a reality we have to face," he said.

"Compared to England, Italy and Uruguay, we are the ugly ducklings of the group, the weakest team. But we know we can surprise all of them."


News SourcesEdit

Costa Rica FA www.fedefutbolcr.com

Tico Times http://www.ticotimes.net/categories/topics/sports

Nacion newspaper http://www.nacion.com/deportes/

Bryan Ruiz official http://bryanruizcr.com

Jorge Luis Pinto official http://www.jorgeluispinto.com/