RICO’S COSTA RICA BLOG – In two days the Ticos face one of the easier teams to beat in the next round of World Cup play: Greece. According to the rankings anyway.
Although Greece is a former European champion, it does not have a World Cup title. And the Ticos have chewed up and spit out three of them (World Cup champions) in 2014.
Giving the Ticos the edge on advancing to the quarter finals is coming out on top in Group D. Not that coming in first is a recipe for advancing, but it means they won’t have to face the Colombians, a team that this year has gone so far three for three. Costa Rica and Colombia may still meet up, but that wouldn’t be until the final game.
Had Costa Rica not been in first place of Group D, it would be playing the Colombians tomorrow and that would have meant a sure packing for home. This way the packing will be up to the second place Uruguayans.
This is all surprising, since the goal of the Ticos was simply not to finish last in their group play. Instead they are moving forward, unbeaten (two wins and one tie) and full of piss and vinegar to beat their Italy 1990 record.
Michael Umaña of Costa Rica’s defence, says of his team, “we were the Cinderella and now are the favourites. That’s respect and we’ve earned it.”
In the first game of 2014 World Cup play, Costa Rica took down World Cup champ Uruguay 3-1. Then they did what many called the impossible, beat the Italians, a multiple World Cup champion, 1-0. They closed the Group D play with a tie with England, yet another World Cup champion.
The Greeks are any slouches, and although they don’t have a World Cup title, they are a former European champion. But, in the words of Greece’s midfielder, Lazaros Christodoulopoulos, “at this stage, everyone is considered an opponent who is better than us.”
Beating the Greeks would mean the Ticos go into their fifth game undefeated. At this stage of play, the only way to make it to the end is to continue their winning streak, for one loss and they are packing their bags for home.
What is interesting in the match up between Costa Rica and Greece is that “neither” country has ever gone into the quarterfinals.
One of them will in 2014.
And all bets are on Costa Rica.