SAN JOSE, Nov 27 (Reuters) - Factbox on World Cup qualifiers
Form and Prospects:
Costa Rica, who are heading for their fourth World Cup, are
an unpredictable outfit who can play slick, attacking football
on a good day and look utterly toothless when short of
Having missed out on South Africa in 2010, the Ticos cruised
through the CONCACAF qualifying tournament this time, beating
Mexico and the United States at home in the process and
qualifying with two games to spare.
However, they travel poorly and did not manage a single away
win in the final six-team stage of the CONCACAF qualifiers, even
being held 1-1 by bottom-of-the-table Jamaica.
The team has a more cosmopolitan outlook than in 2006 with
players based in Spain, Germany, England, Greece, Norway,
Denmark, Sweden at the United States.
Key players include Real Salt Lake City striker Alvaro
Saborio, a classy if inconsistent finisher who was their top
scorer in the qualifying campaign, Fulham's Bryan Ruiz, young
striker Joel Campbell and goalkeeper Keylor Nevas.
If Costa Rica can get off to a good confidence-building
start, they could emulate their achievement in 1990 when they
reached the round of sixteen. Otherwise, they face a third
successive group stage exit.
Coach: Jorge Luis Pinto
Pinto, 60, is in his second stint as Costa Rica's national
coach after being fired following his first appointment in
2004-05. The team qualified for the 2006 World Cup after he was
He also served as coach of the national team in his native
Colombia from 2007-08 but was sacked during the qualifying
campaign for the 2010 World Cup which they failed to reach.
Pinto, nicknamed the Explosive One for his touchline
tantrums and once banned for 10 games for pushing a fourth
official, has been hugely successful at club level, winning
first division titles in Costa Rica, Colombia, Peru and
He was reinstated as Costa Rica coach in 2011 and safely
navigated their way through the qualifiers to finish second
overall in the final CONCACAF standings.
Key player: Joel Campbell
The 21-year-old Olympiakos forward is a speedy attacker, who
plays either striker or wing, Campbell was signed by Arsenal
when he was a teenager but has yet to play for the English
Premier League side after initially being refused a visa.
Instead, he has spent the past three seasons on loan in
France, Spain and now Greece.
He made his international debut for Costa Rica at the 2011
CONCACAF Gold Cup and has scored eight goals in 28 appearances.
Campbell played a crucial role during the qualifying
campaign, scoring three goals, including one in Costa Rica's
crucial win over the United States.
How they qualified: CONCACAF Final round: 2nd place
Round One: bye
Round Two: bye
June 8 El Salvador H D 2-2 Saborio, Campbell
June 12 Guyana A W 4-0 Saborio (3), Campbell
Sept 7 Mexico H L 0-2
Sept 11 Mexico A L 0-1
Oct 12 El Salvador A W 1-0 Cubero
Oct 16 Guyana H W 7-0 Brenes (2), Gamboa,
Saborio (2, pen),
Feb 6 Panama A D 2-2 Saborio, Ruiz
Mar 22 United States A L 0-1
Mar 26 Jamaica H W 2-0 Umana, Calvo
June 7 Honduras H W 1-0 Miller
June 11 Mexico A D 0-0
June 18 Panama H W 2-0 Ruiz, Borges
Sept 6 United States H W 3-1 Acosta, Borges,
Sept 10 Jamaica A D 1-1 Brenes
Oct 11 Honduras A L 0-1
Oct 15 Mexico H W 2-1 Ruiz, Saborio
World Cup record:
Previous appearances in finals: Three (1990, 2002, 2006)
Best performance: Round of 16 (1990)
William Hill odds to win World Cup (Nov 2013): 1500-1
(Compiled by by Julian Linden; Editing by Mike Collett)