Sunday, December 28, 2014

Costa Rica All-time 23 member team

Costa Rica 2014

Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.

Costa Rica is the most successful national team in the region after USA and Mexico.   Before the 1990's, Los Ticos won three CONCACAFA Championships in 1963, 1969 and 1989. They also went to two Olympics in 1980 and 1984.  Then, in 1990, they shocked the world at the WC Finals in Italy.  They advanced to the 2nd round by beating Sweden and Scotland.  In 2014, Costa Rica made another strong run at the World Cup Finals.  They were grouped in the Group of Death with England, Uruguay and Italy.  They responded by beating both Italy and Uruguay before drawing England in the final and meaningless game.  They beat Greece in the round of 16 before losing to Holland in a penalty shootout during the quarterfinal.  The result was one of the best ever CONCACAFA finish at the WC Finals.

I also created an all-time CONCACAFA team that excluded players from the big three. 

GK: Luis Gabelo Conejo
He was the hero of Los Ticos' WC run in 1990, where they reached the 2nd round.  He also played in Spain.

GK: Keylor Navas 
After starting out at Saprissa he moved to Albacete, and then to Levante in La Liga.  After a great performance With Levante, he won the La Liga Keeper of the Year award for 2014 with Levante.  Then, he led Costa Rica to the quarter-final of the WC in Brazil.  After the WC Finals, he earned a transfer to Real Madrid.  With Real Madrid, he won two Champions League title as their starting keeper.
Keylor Naves
GK: Erick Lonnis 
He is the all-time leading cap leader for a keeper in Costa Rica.  He captained the national team at the Korea/Japan 2002.  He is an all-time great at Saprissa.

RB/CB: Michael Umaña
He has played for Los Ticos since 2004.  He went to the WC in 2006 and 2014.  He was a part of the great defensive units at Brazil 2014 in which Los Ticos reached the quarter-final.

CB: Roger Flores
Roger Flores was the captain of the national team that advanced to the 2nd round of the Italia 1990.  He  played for the two most popular teams, Alajuelense and Saprissa. 

CB: Luis Marín
He earned 128 caps with Costa Rica.  He spent most of his career with Alajuelense, but he also had stints in Uruguay and Israel.  He was Israel Foreign Player of the Year in 2006-2007.

CB: Gilberto Martinez
He played for Costa Rica at WC 2002 and 2006.  He was a key player with Brescia. 
Gilberto Martinez

CB:  Mario Cordero
He played for Costa Rica between 1950 and 1963.  He was considered a legend with Saprissa and one of Costa Rica's greatest defenders.  

CB: Giancarlo González
He earned a big move to Palermo in Italy after the WC Finals in 2014.  He previously played in Norway and the USA.

CB: Óscar Duarte
He was born in Nicaragua.  He was a part of the great defensive at WC 2014, where Costa Rica only up a single goal in group stage and reached the quarterfinal.  He played in Belgium.

LB: Bryan Oviedo
At the time of writing, he plays for Everton in England.  he previously played in Norway and Denmark.  He missed the 2014 WC Finals through an injury.

DM:  Mauricio Solis
He was an important player during the later 1990's and 2000's.  he was capped 110 times.  He went to both WC Finals in 2002 and 2006.  For his club career, he played in England, the MLS and Mexico.

CM: Celso Borges
His father represented Los Ticos at the WC 1990.  He himself helped Costa Rica to reach the quarter-final at WC 2014.  He was one of the best players at the WC U-16 in 2005. He played professionally with AIK in Sweden. 
Celso Borges

AM:  Walter Centeno
He is the cap record holder for Costa Rica, having gained 137 cap.  he is considered one of the best players of his generation.  he played mainly for Saprissa and had a brief spell in Greece.

AM:  Oscar Ramírez
Nicknamed El Machillo (The Blonde).  He earned 75 caps for Costa Rica and went to the WC in 1990.  For his club career, he played for both Alajuelense and Saprissa.

Campbell was signed by Arsenal in 2010, but was put on loan until 2015-2016, where he is having a break through season.

FW/RW: Hernán Medford
He gained international flame at the WC in 1990 when Los Ticos reached the 2nd round.  He also plaued in Spain, Italy, the former Yugoslavia, Mexico and Austria. 

Hernán Medford

FW/RW: Bryan Ruiz
He is te captain of the national team that reached the quarter-final of  the 2014 WC Finals.  He played his club football in Belgium. Holland and England.  He played with Alajuelense at home.

SS: Rolando Fonseca
Nicknamed El Principito.  He earned 113 caps for his country. He is also the all-time leading scorer for Costa Rica.

FW: Alejandro Morera Soto
He was a part of the legendary Barcelona of the 1930's.  He earned the nickname "El fenomeno costarricense" ("The Costa Rican phenomenon") in Barcelona. He scored over 60 goals for them.

FW: Ronald Gomez  
He was one of the greatest Costa Rican players.  He was capped 93 times.  He went to the WC in 2002 and 2006.  He played in 6 countries.

FW: José Rafael Meza Ivancovich
He was one of the greatest players in Costa Rica during the 1940's.  He started his career with Club Sport Cartaginés.  he went to play for Moctezuma in Mexico, where he was the top league scoer in his first season.  He later joined Estudiantes de La Plata in Argenmtina and Atlante in Mexico, where he was a top player in the Mexican league. He also played in Colombia and Honduras. The Club Sport Cartaginés' stadium was named after him.

FW: Paulo Wanchope
He was probably the most successful Costa Rican Europe-based player in the modern era. He played for Derby, West Ham. Manchester City and Malaga. He also played in Korea/Japan 2002 and Germany 2006. 
Paulo Wanchope

Honorable Mention
Christian Bolaños

Squad Explanation
I selected 7 players(and a 8th player who missed the WC Final) from the WC 2014 team because no Costa Rican team have done more than that team.  They did not just advanced to the quarterfinal.  They actually emerged from the Group of Death that included Italy, Uruguay and England.  They did with ease too.  They only failed at the quarterfinal by penalty kicks against Holland, the finalist in 2010 and the semifinalist in 2014.  Joel Campbell 

Starting lineup
Formation 4-4-2
I started four players from the current generation and an old-timer.  Celso Borges  is the surprise starter.  I need a more balanced midfield.


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