Luis Fernando Suarez has called for more of the same after seeing Costa Rica keep their World Cup dream alive to set up a daunting showdown with Germany.
Keysher Fuller’s late strike handed Suarez’s side a 1-0 victory over Japan, whose 2-1 win over the Germans in the opening round of Group E fixtures had blown the group wide open.
Now they will go head-to-head with Hansi Flick’s men at the Al Bayt Stadium on Thursday evening knowing their fate will be in their own hands.
Speaking at his post-match press conference, Suarez said: “We are still alive. We weren’t dead yesterday and now we are very much in this, alive still.
“We have to think about the next match on Thursday, which will obviously be just as tough as today’s game.
“We will have to apply the same pressure as in the past two games, but we are alive, that’s the main thing.”
Costa Rica’s victory was all the more remarkable as it came just four days after they were trounced 7-0 by Spain, a fact which was not lost on Suarez, who had nothing but praise for his players.
He said: “I believe that the main thing here is the ability of this team. These players, to do such amazing things like today – I’m not going to talk about technical or tactical aspects, there will be more appropriate times to do that.
“Today, I need to value and appreciate what they have done to get this result. Costa Rica, we had to face many challenges.
“However, we firmly believed and wanted to do things well to be 100 per cent committed for our country to play well against an opponent – and we have to mention this – an opponent such as Japan.
“You can say yes, we won against Japan, but we have to emphasise that we won against this national team of Japan, they are playing so well during this World Cup. That’s something that we need to appreciate greatly.”
It proved a sobering day for Japan boss Hajime Moriyasu as the joy of that shock win over Germany ebbed away, leaving his side knowing they may need to do something special against Spain in their final group fixture to progress.
Moriyasu said: “Spain is a strong team. However, from the beginning we were thinking from three matches, we would try to advance, so we will just go for good preparation for a good match for next time.”