FIFA World Cup™ finals history
Costa Rica have become familiar faces at the World Cup. Since making their debut at Italy 1990, where they surprised everyone by reaching the last 16, Los Ticos have graced three more finals competitions. Their best ever performance came in the last of them to date, at Brazil 2014, where they underlined their new-found status as CONCACAF heavyweights by reaching the quarter-finals and taking the mighty Netherlands to a penalty shootout.

The team
Following their exploits in Brazil 2014, the Costa Ricans are clear favourites to win a place at Russia 2018. Skippered by Bryan Ruiz, a creative midfielder who has spent several seasons in European football, Los Ticos are a tactically astute side that plays a high-tempo game and has the ability to switch systems in response to match situations. Key players such as goalkeeper Keylor Navas and midfielder Celso Borges have also established themselves in Spain, a development that should further benefit the team.

The coach
An assistant to Jorge Pinto throughout the Brazil 2014 campaign, Paulo Wanchope moved into the Tico hotseat at the end of the year. As well as bringing continuity, the much-travelled Wanchope also has plenty of experience as a former player, if not as a coach, to pass on to his side. During the course of a distinguished 14-year career in which he became one of his country’s all-time leading goalscorers, he ran out at two World Cups and played in the English, Spanish and Argentinian leagues before injury forced him to retire in 2008 at the age of only 32.

The stat
4 -
The number of world finals Costa Rica have reached. Of their CONCACAF rivals, only Mexico with 15 and USA with ten have appeared at more.

The former stars
Hernan Medford, Alexandre Guimaraes, Paulo Wanchope, Walter Centeno, Rolando Fonseca