Michael Umana will return home a conquering hero, no matter what happens to Costa Rica from here on out.
The Deportivo Saprissa centre-back scored the decisive penalty in Los Ticos' round-of-16 win over Greece on Sunday:
They're headed to the World Cup quarter-finals for the first time in their history, as per ESPN Stats & Info's Paul Carr:
Costa Rica advances to the World Cup quarterfinals for the first time. #CRC— Paul Carr (@PCarrESPN) June 29, 2014
Costa Rica are also the first CONCACAF side to advance to the final eight since the United States' quarter-final run in 2002, per ESPN FC:
Hardly anyone picked Costa Rica this far, and fewer would have expected Umana to be the guy to get them there. If only everybody had known Umana's premonition from the night before, as per CNN's James Masters:
#CRC penalty hero Umana: "Last night, I dreamt, this, it seems untrue. I was relaxed because I dreamed it. 1/2— James Masters (@Masters_JamesD) June 29, 2014
#CRC Umana continued: "I dreamed it but I didn't tell anyone. I felt very confident." 2/2— James Masters (@Masters_JamesD) June 29, 2014
Umana #CRC: "This is for my family,for colleagues who got injured before coming here.They're not with us, but gave us a hand on the pitch— James Masters (@Masters_JamesD) June 29, 2014
The international match feed always focuses in on the penalty taker's face as he steps up to the spot. Sportsound's Richard Gordon thought that the visual offered a perfect snapshot of grace under pressure:
Loved close-up on the face of Umana as he stepped up to take deciding pen. Great illustration of the pressure - then a brilliant spot-kick— Richard Gordon (@RichardGordon48) June 29, 2014
Many will only remember the penalty, but Umana was one of the best Costa Rican players on the pitch. WhoScored.com gave him a final rating of 7.1, which was third best on the team and top among the team's defenders.
Umana's job became that much harder after Oscar Duarte's sending off in the 66th minute. He did his best to try to keep Greece off the scoresheet. Although Los Ticos' defense was breached in the 91st minute, Umana more than made up for it in the penalty shootout.
He'll need a similar performance against the Netherlands in the quarter-finals. The Dutch have a lethal attack, and without the services of Duarte, Costa Rica will have their backs against the wall from the opening whistle.