Pinto Salutes Players
Costa Rica coach Jorge Luis Pinto saluted his players after they helped the nation reached the last 16 of the World Cup. Costa Rica were rank outsiders to reach this stage of the tournament since they were in a group containing three previous World Cup winners – Italy, Uruguay, and England. However, they progressed to the knockout stages of the World Cup after being undefeated in the three matches. Those three matches included two victories against Italy and Uruguay, while the final group match ended in a 0-0 draw with England.
Comprising a group of largely mediocre players, Costa Rica have managed to achieve this feat purely by hard work. One of the stars of their World Cup campaign has been Arsenal striker Joel Campbell, who has been unable to appear for Arsenal team up until now because of work permit issues. Even more impressive is the fact that Costa Rica have the opportunity to be in the World Cup quarter-finals, as they have been paired against Greece in the last 16 stage. Many feel that Costa Rica have an even opportunity to knockout Greece.
Pinto says that getting out of the group was a big achievement since this was often regarded as the group of death. He rested a number of players for the final match against England hoping to keep them fresh for the knockout stages. “We’ve given Costa Rica status in the football world. No-one can say it was chance, luck or just for a few moments. It was a really complicated group of very experienced teams. But we came to fight and compete, and we have done. We’ve been very constant. I hope we can keep on like that. We’ll give our all whoever we face next. This was called the group of death, but it wasn’t – not for us anyway,” said Pinto.