Costa Rica (pictured) qualified for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. It is the Ticos fourth trip to the finals and first since Germany 2006. (Photo: FIFA via AFP)
KINGSTON, JAMAICA – Costa Rica is returning to the World Cup for the first time since Germany 2006 and the whole nation has been enveloped in the joy of the achievement.
The Ticos qualified thanks to their 1-1 draw at Jamaica on Tuesday and the subsequent stalemate between Honduras and Panama later that evening. They currently sit second in the CONCACAF Hexagonal table, one point behind the first-place United States.
Amid chants of “Oe-oe-oe-oe, Ticos! Ticos!” the Costa Rican players spoke to the media while celebrating in their Kingston locker room. It was evident that -- after having missed out on South Africa 2010 – this group of players appreciates the opportunity they have earned.
“It can be said, we suffered a lot, but in the end we are in the World Cup and I hope all the people enjoy because it’s for them,” said Saprissa defender Michael Umaña.
It was not easy for Costa Rica to arrive at this point, especially after experiencing complicated periods in the semifinal round of qualifying, going winless in three of its first four games.
According to Cartagines forward Randall Brenes, the feat of sealing passage to next year’s finals with two matches to go is something to savor.
“This group has worked hard, we have all had difficult moments, but today we can all celebrate because we are in the World Cup and we thank everyone for all their support,” he expressed.
Defender Junior Díaz praised the resilience of the team and its ability to overcome obstacles.
“I’m very happy at this moment,” said Diaz. “It is a moment to enjoy because the truth is that it has taken a lot out of us to achieve this and now we can celebrate to the maximum because we are happy for getting it done.”
Perhaps, Alajuelense goalkeeper Patrick Pemberton summed it up best, when he said, “The entire county of Costa Rica deserves it.”
Of that, there can be no doubt.