Costa Rica did not get off to the start at the 2018 World Cup they hoped for, losing 1-0 to Serbia in their first group stage game. But they aren't ready to throw in the towel with two games to go.
Next up in Group E for the Ticos: Brazil, a pre-tournament favorite, but a team that also struggled in their opening game, managing just a draw against Switzerland.
Costa Rica and LAFC forward Marco Ureña told reporters this week that his side can spring an upset.
“The group has a lot of confidence," Ureña said in a training session interview. "We saw Switzerland were able to take a point from Brazil. In the end, they’re not invincible. We’re going to go at Brazil with everything we have and hope we can get a positive result.”
While Costa Rica lost to Serbia, they put together a strong if unfortunate performance in their tournament opener, missing several chances in the first half and only conceding through a free kick from specialist Aleksandar Kolarov in the second half.
The Ticos were the toast of the town in the 2014 World Cup, as they reached the quarterfinals for the first time. While Ureña acknowledged Brazil won't be easy, he was confident his team could reprise the magic from four years ago.
“We’re a national team and we’ve gotten people used to surprises. I have faith and maximum motivation. I know the group is tough, but against Brazil we have to play good soccer just like Switzerland did. They’re not invincible. I think they’re managing a lot of pressure because they didn’t win the first game and so I think we can take advantage of this moment of anxiety for them.”
Costa Rica play Brazil on Friday in Saint Petersburg at 8 am ET on FS1 and Telemundo.