Costa Rica
© AFP

The past

Up against regional rivals of the calibre of two-time world U-20 champions the United States, traditional powers Canada and fast-improving Mexico, Costa Rica’s attempts to reach the finals had been thwarted time and again. That was until Las Tricolores’ qualifying campaign for the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Germany 2010, when they made sure of a historic first appearance at the global showpiece.

The present

At the North, Central America and Caribbean qualifying event on Guatemalan soil, Las Ticas showed remarkable resolve to bounce back from a 1-0 opening defeat against Canada to book a semi-final spot with wins over Guatemala and Cuba, 3-0 and 3-1 respectively. And though denied a place in the final by the USA after a 2-1 last-four reverse, Costa Rica again picked themselves up to grab the third and final available qualifying berth with a 1-0 victory over Canada.

The future

Having built their game around a solid backline and the goals of lethal front-runner Raquel Rodriguez, who top scored in the preliminary phase, Las Tricolores will be confident of making a splash on their first appearance at this level. And such ebullience would appear to be well-placed, after they pushed global superpowers USA all the way and ensured Canada will be watching Germany 2010 from home.

Facts and figures

Former stars

This will be Costa Rica’s first appearance at a FIFA U-20 World Cup.

Key players

Priscila Tapia (goalkeeper), Paola Alvarado (defender), Katherine Alvarado (midfielder), Raquel Rodriguez (striker).

The stat

10 - The number of goals struck by prolific 17-year-old forward Rodriguez over the entire qualifying period, despite being her team’s youngest player.