(AP) — Costa Rica coach Jorge Luis Pinto will need every bit of his tactical know-how if he is to lead the Central American nation out of Group D at the World Cup, where the team will play Italy, England and Uruguay.
Pinto and Costa Rica begin their World Cup campaign in Group D on June 14 against Uruguay in Fortaleza, followed by Italy on June 20 in Recife and England four days later in Belo Horizonte.
“Italy is a very tactical team, I know them well from the last five or six World Cups. Uruguay is robust and has important attackers. And England plays fast football, sometimes without much precision,” Pinto said of Costa Rica’s rivals.
One of three Colombian coaches at the World Cup, Pinto has led club sides in Costa Rica, Peru, Venezuela, Colombia and Ecuador and has had stints previously with both the Colombian and Costa Rican national teams.
Pinto was fired from Costa Rica in 2005 in his first spell as coach despite qualifying the team for the 2006 World Cup. He was let go as Colombia coach after a 4-0 loss to Chile on Sept. 10, 2008. Exactly five years later, Costa Rica earned its place in Brazil.
“What I dreamed of with Colombia, I achieved with Costa Rica,” Pinto said.
The coach is known as a student of the game and has his own website (www.jorgeluispinto.com), where he discusses tactics and different aspects of the game at length using videos.
Pinto traveled to the last five World Cups to analyze and comment on tactics and playing styles.
“Football is my life, my passion, my profession and my distraction,” reads the introduction on Pinto’s website.
Pinto’s Costa Rica team usually plays a 5-4-1 formation, and he has worked hard on improving the team’s defense, which only conceded seven goals in 10 games in the final stage of CONCACAF qualifying.
The defense will again be key against Uruguay, Italy and England, and Pinto will make his team difficult to beat, even if getting out of Group D will be an uphill task.