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Tuesday, 2 April, 2002, 17:32 GMT 18:32 UK
Guima - The boy from Brazil
Costa Rica's Brazilian-born coach Alexandre Guimaraes
Guimaraes turned around Costa Rica's fortunes
It may have been a very different story if Costa Rica coach Alexandre Guimaraes had stayed in the country of his birth, Brazil.

It is impossible to tell whether Guima, as he is known, would have enjoyed the same heights of success and popularity that he has scaled in Central America.

Having played for Costa Rica in their first World Cup outing in 1990, he has now steered the side to a second appearance in the finals 12 years later.

It could not have happened in more dramatic style with Guimaraes taking over from former national coach Gilson Nunes midway through the qualifying campaign.

After scraping through the semi-final qualifying group, Guima worked his charm to help Costa Rica top the table in the final stage and secure a well-deserved place in Korea and Japan.

Guimaraes factfile
PERSONAL
Born: 07/11/1959
Birthplace: Alagoas, Brazil
Nationality: Became Costa Rican in 1984

PLAYING CAREER
Costa Rican caps: 16
World Cup appearance: 1990

COACHING
1992: Starts coaching career in lower leagues
1994: Has spells with several top flight clubs
2001: Becomes national team coach

But Guimaraes' passion for football began as a child in Brazil, where he was born 42 years ago in Maceio, Alagoaeas.

He moved to Costa Rica in 1971 when his father, a doctor, was ordered there by the Pan-American Health Organisation to help treat malaria.

By the end of the 1970s, Guimaraes had started a fruitful playing career in the Central American nation.

Guima, who became a Costa Rican citizen in 1984, played 12 seasons with four clubs and scored 95 goals in 377 appearances at top level.

He moved from second division outfit Durpanel San Blas to top-flight club Municipal Puntarenas in 1980.

A long spell at Deportivo Saprissa (1982 to 1991) followed before he ended his career at Turrialba FC (1992).

It was at Saprissa that he had the most success, helping the side to claim three league titles.

While with the club, he also earned 16 international caps and appeared at the 1990 World Cup.

Club success

Guimaraes made the crossover to coaching in 1992, learning his trade at lower league sides and working as an assistant manager at his old club Saprissa.

He then began coaching spells at top-flight sides BelÚn and Club Sport Herediano before returning as head coach to Saprissa, clinching two league titles and the Central American Cup.

His success was enough to earn him an assisting role to Nunes for Costa Rica's 2002 World Cup campaign.

Despite a reputation for producing mediocre, defensive-minded teams in his own country, Brazilian Nunes had secured the job on the recommendation of former Fifa president Joao Havelange.

But, after a rocky start to the campaign, he resigned and Guimaraes took the helm for the final stage.

It was not long before Guima's magic had rubbed off on the team and Costa Rica were on their way to Korea and Japan.

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GROUP C
  P GD PTS
BRAZIL 3 +8 9
TURKEY 3 +2 4
COSTA RICA 3 -1 4
CHINA 3 -9 0

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