Costa Rica head coach Jorge Luis Pinto (pictured) wants his team to finish first in the final round of World Cup Qualifying. (Photo: Imagenes en Costa Rica)
SAN JOSE, Costa Rica – Despite having already qualified for next year’s World Cup finals, Costa Rica is not treating its last two qualifiers like friendlies.
In fact, head coach Jorge Luis Pinto is sending the message to his players that this is not the time for rest and relaxation. The objective continues to be the same: to win and finish in first place in the CONCACAF Hexagonal.
“The idea of these matches serving as warm-ups for the World Cup has never entered my mind,” said Pinto. “They are qualifiers and we will take them with all the seriousness that that a qualifying match deserves.”
Currently, Costa Rica is second in the final-round table with 15 points, just one behind the United States. Up next for the Ticos is Friday’s difficult test away to Honduras, before closing out the qualifying schedule at home against Mexico on October 15. It will be a great challenge, but Pinto believes that with hard work, the team can reach its goal.
“Our intention is to finish first in the region, above everyone else,” affirmed the Colombian. “We know that these games will be difficult and hard because the opponents are in need of points, but we are going to do our things like we have always done, with the only objective being to go for first place.”
For Pinto, the process of analyzing players to compete at Brazil 2014 starts immediately. There have not been many personnel changes during the Hexagonal, but the 60-year-old maintains that the opportunity for others to earn a place in the side is always available.
“This list is a continuation of what we’ve been doing, but that is not to say that we have closed the doors on it,” Pinto noted. “In the next several months we will continue observing players, to see if there is a possibility of someone coming into into the group that we already have.”