Costa Rica made FIFA World Cup™ history today, and Celso Borges knows better than most the lasting impact that will have. The team's classy playmaker is, after all, the son of Alexandre Borges Guimaraes, the man whose pass laid on the goal that took *Los Ticos *through to the knockout stages for the first time at Italy 1990.
Celso was just two years old when that achievement took place, but has seen first-hand the eternal gratitude it has earned his father, who also coached the national team at the 2002 and 2006 editions. And if he has ever been in need of inspiration or a gentle reminder of the opportunity Brazil 2014 presents, Guimaraes has never been far away.
"We meet up every night and talk a lot together," Borges told FIFA.com. "He's as excited as I am about how things have going and he's told me to enjoy and make the most of every minute. He said that this is a moment and a stage in your football life you might never get back again, and that kind of advice I listen to and respect a lot, of course. I'm very proud that I'm now part of my country's football history, just like my dad."
The landmark feat of Borge Jnr's generation has been to advance as group winners and, for the first time, without having lost a match. Those statistics were preserved today in Belo Horizonte with a hard-fought goalless draw with England, one of three star-studded section opponents that, to most pundits, seemed to offer Costa Rica no hope of advancing.
"We know that most people outside Costa Rica didn't expect us to qualify and we're very happy to have achieved what we have," said Borges. "But even if other people doubted us, we always knew that we could do it. And I think you can see that belief in the way we play.
"What's important now is that we keep on aiming higher. We're in with the last 16, which is a massive achievement for us and for the country, but we have real belief we can go further. The way we're playing, why shouldn't we be confident? We don't underestimate how difficult it will be but we're here to play and to compete, and that's worked well so far."
Borges has been one of *Los Ticos' *key performers, with his vision, composure and assured passing crucial to a style of play that earned the team generous words of praise from England manager Roy Hodgson. All that's been missing for the midfielder so far is a goal, and he very nearly added one against the Three Lions with a superb free-kick that seemed destined for the top corner.
"I knew I had caught that one well and you look up, hoping to see it go in," he said. "But what a great save by their keeper (Ben Foster). Hats off to him for that. I thought I'd put it where he couldn't reach but he's a tall guy and he did well to prove me wrong.
"But although a goal would be nice, the main thing is to play well and enjoy our football. And that's the word I would use: we're *enjoying *ourselves. We came here to do that, treating everything seriously and professionally but also playing with smiles on our faces. Now we have another challenge, but also another chance to give great memories to people back home and write a new page in our history."
And that is becoming something of a Borges family speciality.