Costa Rica’s courage

THIS has got to be one of the most open World Cups in recent times. After just two matchdays we have already seen some major upsets occurring.

The biggest upset so far would be the elimination of Spain, just two matches into the competition. They were in one “group of death”, but no one would have predicted them to be knocked out so early on in limp fashion.

In fact, they are the first defending champions to be booted in a matter of two games. I am happy that Chile has shown its capabilities by defeating the European giants who had previously won three big trophies on the trot.

They play a speedy and intense game that is easy on the eye. I won't be surprised if they defeat the Netherlands to finish top of the group, therefore avoiding a probable clash with Brazil in the next round. 

Then we have Costa Rica who have also qualified from another “group of death.” They defeated favourites Italy and Uruguay who face off in the final match to determine who advances.

Regardless of Costa Rica’s result against England in the final watch, they have done what no one expected them to do in the first place.

Many including myself predicted that Costa Rica would be the whipping boys of the tournament and the group. Instead, just like Chile, they have shown that they can play attractive football. Mind you, all the other teams in the group have won the World Cup.

The over-hyped English team can learn a thing or two about courage from Costa Rica.

They certainly have many stars that are paid humongous salaries, but they don’t seem to have heart and inspiration when it comes to their national team. 

In fact, many of the smaller "American" countries have shown their commitment and passion to their flag, justifying their selection for the tournament.

I am delighted that the likes of Columbia and Mexico in addition to Chile and Costa Rica have shown they have what it takes to go far.

These teams might not have many players who earn thousands of pounds a week (although that might change soon) but they play as if their lives depend on it.

These teams play with flair and I think they could emerge as darkhorses if they retain their form and the draws favour them.

Maybe these teams have an advantage in terms of acclimatising to the conditions, which can be really hot and humid.

It is only the beginning, but the World Cup has been a fresh breath of air. It would be a boost for the beautiful game if one of the “smaller” teams from the American continents went on to win it. 

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