Costa Rica will face the formidable task of confronting three former champions in World Cup Group D, but coach Jorge Luis Pinto said on Friday he remains confident his team's focus, motivation and speed will help in overcoming rivals.
"The three teams are good teams, but we aren't behind them. It'll be a battle for everyone," Pinto said at a news conference at the Castelao arena ahead of the match.
"Costa Rica has to be a level-headed team tomorrow and always. We have the football and we have forward players that are fast and they will help."
The Ticos face Uruguay in their first match on Saturday, opponents who famously beat Brazil in the 1950 final in Rio de Janeiro. They then face off against four-time World Cup winners Italy followed by England, the champions in 1966.
Pinto's views were echoed by forward Marco Urena, who expects Costa Rica to benefit from the absence of star Uruguayan player Luis Suarez in Saturday's match.
"We are in a very strong group, but we all feel motivated. We are here to play with the champions," Urena said at the press conference.
Urena expects his good rapport with Joel Campbell to benefit the team in its fourth appearance at the World Cup finals.
"We had practices, friendlies and we've been able to understand each other better. Everyone can see that," he said.
Despite counting on star players like Campbell and F.C. Copenhagen winger Christian Bolanos, Pinto wants Costa Rica to work well as a group.
"Football is a team art and you have to show that art on the pitch," he said.
- Sports & Recreation
- Jorge Luis Pinto
- Costa Rica