In June, in Brazil, Costa Rica’s national team La Selección or La Sele as is affectionately known, will face in the division play three teams that each have won a World Cup: England, Italy and Uruguay.
However, that is no pressure for the Ticos, rather they relish the prospect of taking them on, according to Costa Rica assistant manage, Paulo Wanchope.
“We knew that it was going to be a hard group but being a group with three former World Cup winners is something big,” Wanchope told Sky Sports News. “But we will give it a try – the pressure is on the other three teams and our players are looking forward to that challenge during the summer.”
Costa Rica first faces Uruguay in the June 14, then play Italy on June 20 and England on June 24.
In 2006, lead by Brazilian coach Alexandre Guimarães (Wanchope played forward), Costa Rica faced Germany, Ecuador and Poland, losing all three games,
Uruguay has twice won the World Cup, in 1930 as hosts, defeating Argentina 4-2 in the final, and in 1950, upsetting Brazil 2-1 in the final game. In 2010, Uruguay finished in fourth place.
England are one of only eight countries to ever win the FIFA World Cup, which they did in 1966 when they hosted the finals. They defeated West Germany 4–2 in extra time in 1966 to win their first, and last, World Cup title. However, since 1966, they have never made it past the semi-finals. England also reached the semi-final of the UEFA European Championship in 1968 and 1996. They were the most successful of the “home nations”, in the British Home Championship with 54 wins (including 20 shared wins) before the competition was suspended in 1984. In the 2010 World Cup, England placed 13th, eliminated in round 2 play.
Italy is the second most successful national team in the history of the World Cup, having won four titles (1934, 1938, 1982, 2006), just one fewer than Brazil. The team was present in 17 out of the 19 tournaments, the second most frequent along with Germany, reaching six finals, a third place and a fourth place. In the 2010 World Cup, Italy placed 26th, eliminated in the first round play.
The World Cup Finals is the most widely-viewed sporting event in the world, with an estimated 715.1 million people watching the 2006 tournament final.