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Last Updated: Monday, 22 May 2006, 16:34 GMT 17:34 UK
Costa Rica team guide

A one-stop guide to all you need to know about Costa Rica ahead of the 2006 World Cup.

Fixtures (Group A):

  • v Germany - 9 June, 1700 BST, Munich
  • v Ecuador - 15 June, 1400 BST, Hamburg
  • v Poland - 20 June, 1500 BST, Hanover

    How did they get to Germany: Seriously struggled until coach Alexandre Guimaraes, who had guided the Ticos to the last World Cup, was re-appointed and turned the team's fortunes around.

    Qualifying star: Paulo Wanchope became his country's all-time top scorer during qualification with goal number 43, in just his 67th international match.

    Manager: Brazilian-born Guimaraes is an adept tactician who preaches team ethics in preference to the individual and is bound to have a well-planned strategy. Played in the famous Tico side of 1990.

    Jafet Soto

    Captain: Jafet Soto, a veteran midfielder with a cultured right foot, used to be the man at the helm but has faded from the first-team equation so the honour is up for grabs.

    World Cup pedigree: Two appearances in the World Cup finals. Accredited themselves well, playing with flair, creativity and an infectious enthusiasm.

    World Cup high: Italia 90, when in their first finals the Ticos reached the last 16 after victories over Scotland and Sweden. Guimaraes says it set "the benchmark for subsequent Costa Rican sides to follow".

    World Cup low: More of a disappointment than a humiliation, Costa Rica missed out on 2002's knockout stages by Turkey's superior goal difference.

    World Cup legend: No-one has reached legendary status as yet, but Juan Arnaldo Cayasso was certainly adored in England after scoring the winner against the Scots in 1990.

    Paulo Wanchope

    Present star man: Former Derby County and Manchester City striker Wanchope. The 29-year-old will retire from internationals after the finals but will be desperate to sign off in style.

    Strengths: Having the sound tactics of their manager and the discipline to carry them out, allied to no little flair, the Ticos could cause one or two upsets.

    Weaknesses: Need to tighten up defensively if they are to compete with better sides in Germany.

    Did you know? Costa Rica nearly fell at the first hurdle en route to Germany, scraping past Cuba in the first-round qualifier on the away goals rule.

    World ranking: 26

    Odds: 500/1

    Local view: "There is every chance that the team could go on to fulfil the dreams of every Tico by reaching the second round and emulating the success of their heroes from Italia 90," Antonio Alfaro, Al Dia newspaper.

    Our verdict: Can prove a tricky opponent and may nick a surprise victory in the group stage. Unlikely to make a bigger impact than that.

    Ranking and odds correct at 22 May. Odds supplied by William Hill.


    Pick your Costa Rica XI
    03 May 06 |  Squad selectors
    Country profile: Costa Rica
    26 Oct 05 |  Country profiles


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