Giancarlo Gonzalez (pictured) celebrates after Costa Rica outlasted Greece on penalty kicks in a FIFA World Cup round of 16 match at Arena Pernambuco on June 29, 2014, in Recife, Brazil. (Photo: FIFA via Getty Images)
SANTOS, Brazil – Following the United States’ elimination at the hands of Belgium on Tuesday, Costa Rica is the lone CONCACAF representative remaining in the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
The Ticos will face the Netherlands in the quarterfinals on Saturday and they are already thinking about their clash with the 2010 runner-up.
After a very demanding encounter in which it overcame Greece in the round of 16 on penalties, Costa Rica is looking to recover physically after playing nearly an hour with only 10 players.
“We are fine,” said standout goalkeeper Keylor Navas. “ In a competition like this, it is logical that a player expends himself little by little, but there are days of rest, massages and other things to recuperate and be able to go into the next match at 100 percent.”
For defender Giancarlo Gonzalez, the match against the Dutch represents another opportunity to show the rest of the world Costa Rica’s quality.
“We are focused on recovery work to be fully fit for the match against Holland and be able to continue demonstrating what Costa Ricans are made of,” commented the Columbus Crew star. “It is true that we have faced renowned players, but we don’t give ourselves any less. We have shown that against these figures we can excel and get results as a team.”
Nevertheless, Navas acknowledges that it is a historic match, since Costa Rica has never played in a World Cup quarterfinal. The 27-year-old also trusts that the team will step on the field with the same winning mentality.
“I believe that it will be one of the most beautiful matches of our lives,” he finished. “We want to win it and although we know that we are against a world power, we have demonstrated that we have what it takes to play. We know that anything can happen, but there is a team to win.”
Costa Rica is 3-3-3 in nine all-time World Cup games against European opposition.