Costa Rica made relatively easy work of qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup – securing progression with two games to spare – as they finished second in the Hexagonal. They lost just twice in 10 matches, scoring a healthy 13 goals and shipping just seven. The triumphant campaign secured Costa Rica’s fourth FIFA World Cup finals appearance, following previous stints in 1990, 2002 and 2006.

Most expect it to be short-lived, however. Drawn together with Uruguay, England and Italy – three previous FIFA World Cup winners – they are clear underdogs in Group D, and anything beyond the group stage will be classed as a commendable achievement by the country’s supporters. “Everyone will be looking at the teams around us, but we knew we’d have tough opponents,” said Coach Jorge Luis pinto. “The fact that we’re facing world champions only increases our desire to do well at the tournament.”

Undoubtedly, the side’s main threat lies with their attacking options. The most important ones include the languid creativity of playmaker Bryan Ruiz, the blistering speed of young forward Joel Campbell, and the instinctive touch of experienced striker Alvaro Saborio. The defence is not bad either, with Los Ticos conceding the lowest number of goals throughout the concluding qualifying group stage. A similarly resolute backline will be crucial in Brazil as Pinto refines his sharp, counter-attacking approach.

COACH>>

JORGE LUIS PINTO

The 61-year-old has an abundance of experience managing in South America, having coached clubs in Peru, Colombia, Venezuela and indeed Costa Rica. Because of the tough group, he will be one of the less pressured coaches at Brazil 2014 and that should play into his hands.

Fixtures Group D

Uruguay
Fortaleza 15 June 2014

Italy
Recife 21 June 2014

England
Belo Horizonte 25 June 2014

*Dates are AEST

Tournament history
Previous tournaments: 3

2010 FIFA World Cup performance
Did not qualify

Best performance
Round of 16, 1990

How they qualified
Second, CONCACAF group