THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

wsc328 previewWhat are the expectations for the team?
Before the draw, hopes were high for a repeat of the Italia 90 success, with Costa Rica getting past the group stages. Some people in the media will talk about "failure" if the Ticos don't repeat that but the general feeling is that chances are slim. Yet the team are expected to be combative at least, and there is a positive feeling that they can upset some people in Uruguay, England and Italy who expect an easy win.

Is the coach popular?
Jorge Luis Pinto is often said to have a defensive style and lack of ambition, and that didn't help him to win over the fans at first. But after the final round of Concacaf qualifying, where Costa Rica finished second winning all their games at home, he received plenty of credit and will head to the tournament in Brazil as a popular figure.

Are there any players who have appeared in TV commercials or other advertising?
Keylor Navas, Levante's 27-year-old goalkeeper, is one of the rising stars of this Costa Rica team. He has an unlikely sponsorship by an ironmongery, Ferretería Brenes, in the city of Heredia. If you buy a gallon of paint, you can win a trip to Valencia to watch him play.

Which players are good interviewees and who are 
the worst?
The players living in Europe or the US, such Bryan Ruiz, Álvaro Saborío of Real Salt Lake and Celso Borges who plays in Sweden, seem the best at handling media scrutiny and all can do interviews in English if necessary. There isn't a particularly controversial player.

Will there be any rehearsed goal celebrations?
Joel Campbell, recently on loan to Olympiakos from Arsenal, always does a military salute when he scores, but the rest of the team have nothing prepared.

What will the media coverage be like?
The coverage is huge even when Costa Rica are not in the World Cup, so in 2014, and with one of their strongest-ever national teams, the media will be 100 per cent focused on the World Cup for at least two weeks. Pundits will include former players such as Mauricio Montero, a defender who starred in the win over Scotland in 1990, Walter Centeno, who played in midfield in two World Cups, and Erick Lonnis, the goalkeeper with the 2002 World Cup team.

Will there be many fans travelling to the finals and will they have any chants?
It's a small country – just 4.5 million people – and an expensive trip, so the majority will follow the World Cup on TV. Agárrense De Las Manos (Hold Hands), a song celebrating the first qualification in 1990, became an instant hit among the fans and it's still sung by them whenever La Sele play.

What is the local view of the England team?
Most of the people here think the Premier League is the strongest league in the world, and it is widely followed since there are some Costa Rican players there such as Bryan Oviedo. If qualifying for the knockout stage comes to the last game against England, there is a feeling that Costa Rica have a good chance as they are perceived as the "easiest" of the three. Antonio Mateo Cabrera

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