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 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:
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:
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.
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