Oscar Arias Sanchez, President of the Republic of Costa Rica
On 8 May 2006, Arias Sanchez was elected President of the Republic of Costa Rica for the second time, having already occupied the post between 1986 and 1990. His political career began in 1972 when, at the age of 30, President Jose Figueres Ferrer appointed him as the Minister of National Planning and Political Economy. In 1986, the year he was elected Prime Minister, he signed the Esquipulas Agreement (a peace plan for the Central American region), also known as the Arias Plan. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in Stockholm in 1987.

FIFAworldcup.com: How would you describe Costa Rica's performance in the opening game of the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany™?
Oscar Arias: I think Costa Rica did well, particularly in view of the high quality of the opposition. I did not attend the game expecting to see us win, but I did expect to see a performance to make Costa Ricans proud. To tell you the truth, we haven't made a bad start at all. I think we put in a good performance in this Opening Match.

Were you surprised by your team's performance?
Well yes, and I feel happy and very proud. If I may say so, I suspect the Germans will be slightly more disappointed, they must have expected a more emphatic victory against a small country such as Costa Rica.

Did you think at any point that the game might end in a draw?
When we pulled it back to 3-2, I thought for a moment that we might get something out of it. But (Germany coach Jurgen) Klinsmann, who must have been thinking the same, made the necessary changes and the fourth goal, an unstoppable missile of a shot, finished the game as a contest.

We know you were at the FIFA World Cup Stadium Munich for the game. Who did you watch it with?
I was sitting between the President of Germany, Horst Kohler, and Franz Beckenbauer, which is a bit like sitting between Beethoven and Immanuel Kant! As you can imagine, I was in very good company and we had a chat about the final result. They congratulated me on our fine performance and I said to them that perhaps they should be somewhat concerned, because they are not likely to finish as world champions if they continue playing like that.

How do you think Costa Rica will do in the rest of the tournament?
We'll see. I hope that we will be more relaxed for our other games than we were today, although it's understandable, as this was the Opening Match. Let's face it, even if we had spent the country's entire budget, we couldn't have promoted Costa Rica as well as we did this afternoon. The eyes of the world were on this game and there is no doubt that having produced such a respectable performance against Germany will be crucial for our future aspirations.