The road to Colombia
Just as they did four years ago, Costa Rica qualified for the FIFA Futsal World Cup as regional champions. Unaffected by the expectancy that came with hosting the CONCACAF Futsal Championship, Los Ticos won all five of their matches, scored the most goals (26) and conceded the fewest (6). Indeed, such was their dominance that they defeated the region’s other three qualifiers by a combined score of 17-1, thanks to a 6-0 group-phase win over Cuba, a 7-1 rout of Guatemala in the semi-finals and a 4-0 victory over Panama in the decider.
Strengths and style
Having played for Costa Rica at the 1992 and 2000 editions then coached them at Thailand 2012, Diego Solis has been instrumental in shaping the current Tico squad. Under his stewardship, the core of youngsters he blooded in Thailand, including Diego Zuniga, Erick Brenes and Edwin Cubillo – the latter voted Best Player in the qualifying event – now have leading roles in a well-balanced and audacious side that is intent on reaching the knockout phase for the first time.
FIFA Futsal World Cup record
Colombia 2016 will be Costa Rica’s fourth appearance in the final phase of this competition and second in a row. After debuting at Hong Kong 1992, where they lost all three of their group games, they returned to the world stage at Guatemala 2000. And while they once again failed to survive the group phase, Los Ticos did at least register their maiden victory at the event, helping them to an 11th-place finish, their best to date. It was a similar story four years ago in Thailand, where a solitary victory was insufficient to advance to the Round of 16 and saw them finish in 17th.