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Costa Rica World Cup 2014: Team Guide for FIFA Tournament

Karla Villegas GamaFeatured ColumnistMay 19, 2014

Costa Rica World Cup 2014: Team Guide for FIFA Tournament

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Costa Rica qualified for their fourth World Cup after a good performance in the CONCACAF qualification process.

    Jorge Luis Pinto has been working with the team since 2011 and has managed to balance the youth and talent of one of the most promising Costa Rican generations.

    However, Los Ticos won't have it easy. They landed in Group D along with Uruguay, England and Italy, three of the deadliest national teams in world football and which have already been world champions.

Road to the Finals

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    JACK DEMPSEY/Associated Press

    Costa Rica qualified to the Hexagonal after finishing second in the third round of the CONCACAF qualification.

    In the final stage, they secured their ticket to the World Cup with a 5-3-2 record. They were the tournament runner-ups, with 18 points, three behind the United States.

    Los Ticos won all their home games, but outside their turf, they struggled and only grabbed three points after tying with Panama, Jamaica and Mexico, the latter at the Azteca.

Full Squad

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    Moises Castillo/Associated Press

    Here's Pinto's 23-man squad. Alvaro Saborio and Heiner Mora will miss the tournament due to injuries.

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

    Defenders: Junior Diaz (Mainz 05), Waylon Francis (Columbus Crew), Michael Umana (Saprissa), Roy Miller (New York Red Bulls), Giancarlo Gonzalez (Columbus Crew), Johnny Acosta (Alajuelense), Oscar Duarte (Club Brugge), Cristian Gamboa (Rosenborg) and David Myrie (Herediano). 

    Midfielders: Yeltsin Tejeda (Saprissa), Jose Miguel Cubero (Herediano), Esteban Granados (Herediano), Michael Barrantes (Aalesunds), Celso Borges (AIK), Christian Bolanos (Copenhagen) and Diego Calvo (Valerenga).

    Forwards: Bryan Ruiz (PSV Eindhoven), Joel Campbell (Olympiacos), Randall Brenes (Cartagines) and Marco Urena (Kuban Krasnodar).

    You can check out Bleacher Report’s Costa Rica squad guide here: Costa Rica Player-by-Player Guide

Manager Profile

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    This is the second time Pinto has coached Costa Rica.

    His first tenure, between 2004 and 2005, was far from successful. In the third round of the 2006 World Cup qualification process, Pinto debuted with a 2-5 loss to Honduras at the Estadio Alejandro Morera Soto.

    He tilted the scale to Los Ticos' favor with a 3-1-2 record, enough to lead Group 2 and advance to the Hexagonal.

    However, Costa Rica tied with Trinidad and Tobago in the first matchday, which fostered Pinto's dismissal.

    In 2011 he was hired for a second tenure. He qualified Los Ticos for the 2014 World Cup and secured key victories against Mexico and the United States, both on home soil.

    Pinto managed Colombia from 2007 to 2008. He has won nine league titles in countries like Venezuela, Peru, Costa Rica and Colombia.

Star Man: Bryan Ruiz

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    Fernando Vergara/Associated Press

    Ruiz made his professional debut with Costa Rican club Alajuelense. After three years, 66 appearances and 21 goals, he left for Europe.

    He signed a four-year deal with Gent. In 2009, he became the top scorer of the team with 11 goals. That same year he moved again, this time to Twente.

    During his time with the Dutch club he won the Eredivisie, the KNVB Cup and the Johan Cruijff Shield. In 2010, the Tukkers appointed him Player of the Season.

    Two seasons later, Fulham announced his transfer. With the Cottagers, he appeared 68 times and scored eight goals before being loaned to PSV Eindhoven during the 2014 winter transfer window.

    Ruiz finished as the third-best scorer of the team in the 2013-14 season.

    He is a very talented attacking midfielder. Ruiz can unbalance any defense in the blink of an eye thanks to his speed and dribbling skills.

    He can finish a play with his powerful aerial game or with long-distance shots.

1 to Watch: Keylor Navas

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    Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

    Navas started his career with Saprissa. In 2005, he debuted with the senior team, but it was until the 2007-08 season when he became an undisputed starter.

    With Saprissa, he secured a CONCACAF Champions League title and six Costa Rican first division titles.

    In 2010, he arrived in Spain to play for Albacete, but he was quickly loaned to Levante, which ultimately bought him in 2012.

    He has become a key man for both his club and Costa Rica. In the latest La Liga season, he registered 160 saves, while with the national team he made 10, for a total tally of 170.

    Navas may not be the tallest keeper (6'10''), but he is one of the best aerial players. He can dive, cut the angle and play with his feet with the same ease.

World Cup Record and Statistics

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    DANIEL MAURER/Associated Press

    Costa Rica qualified automatically to the 1990 CONCACAF Championship after Mexico were disqualified because they used overage players in the 1989 FIFA World Youth Championship.

    Once in the final stage, Costa Rica led the five-team tournament with 11 points.

    In Italy, they finished second to Brazil in Group C, with a 2-0-1 record. In the round of 16, Czechoslovakia beat them 4-1.

    Los Ticos missed the 1994 and 1998 World Cups, but in 2001, they won the Hexagonal for the first time and secured a historic win against Mexico at the Estadio Azteca, securing their ticket to Korea-Japan 2002.

    For the second time in a row, Costa Rica landed a spot in Brazil's group, but this time they couldn't qualify to the knockout stage.

    In 2005, they finished third in the Hexagonal, but Germany 2006 was a mess. For the first time they lost all their games (Germany, Ecuador and Poland).

    They missed the 2010 World Cup.

     

    Top scorer at World Cup finals: Paulo Wanchope (one in Korea-Japan 2002 and two in Germany 2006) and Ronald Gomez (two in Korea-Japan 2002 and one in Germany 2006).

    Most appearances at World Cup finals: Luis Marin, Mauricio Solis, Paulo Wanchope, Gomez and Walter Centeno (six).

    Oldest player to feature at World Cup finals: Erick Lonnis (Korea-Japan 2002, 36 years, nine months and four days).

    Most caps: Centeno (137)

    Top scorer: Rolando Fonseca (47)

    Previous World Cup meetings: Costa Rica have never faced any of their 2014 World Cup rivals.

    Other meetings: Costa Rica have played against Uruguay eight times. Los Ticos have a 0-2-6 record against Los Charruas. Italy beat them 1-0 in the only friendly they've played (1994). England has yet to face Costa Rica.

Group Fixtures

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    Scott Heavey/Getty Images

    Uruguay vs. Costa Rica

    June 14, 2014 (4 p.m. local)—Estadio Castelao, Fortaleza

     

    Italy vs. Costa Rica

    June 20, 2014 (1 p.m. local)—Arena Pernambuco, Recife

     

    Costa Rica vs. England

    June 24, 2014 (1 p.m. local)—Estadio Mineirao, Belo Horizonte

     

    All data provided by ESPNFC.com unless otherwise noted.

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