On what was a dramatic day of football, Costa Rica finished bottom of their World Cup group despite a valiant effort against Germany.
At one point, Costa Rica seemed to be heading into the next round of the competition as they were leading against Germany and Japan were beating Spain. But Hansi Flick’s men ended up winning the game but still got knocked out of the World Cup.
For Costa Rica and their fans, it was a memorable experience even though they didn’t progress. They gave themselves quite a fair chance of making it and for a good amount of time, they were pretty much in promised land. But superiority prevailed – as it should have and in the end, the heavy loss to Spain also did the damage.
Most important player: Joel Campbell added a fair bit of spark to the Costa Rican attack, which would have otherwise been quite clunky. The ex-Arsenal player brought pace and dexterity to the plate and did well in two games, even though he didn’t score. Yeltsin Tejeda also had a good tournament, but Campbell added something which was sorely missing from the side.
Biggest disappointment: In hindsight, the 7-0 loss was probably a killer blow for Costa Rica and even for Germany, who have gone out purely because Spain had a higher goal difference. But conceding less number of goals may not have dented Costa Rica’s confidence and they may have got something out of the game.
Grade: C – A decent tournament, one that fans will remember for a while.