A friendly match between the National Football Teams of Costa Rica and Guatemala at the Mateo Flores stadium last night ended with a meager victory for the host nation and a disappointment for the fans. The game was dull from beginning to end, with the exception of a header by Guatemalan striker Carlos Ruiz at the 25 minute mark.
The game started with a poor performance by Costa Rica, which motivated Guatemala to take advantage of the Tico players’ ennui on the pitch. The midfielders lacked the creativity needed to give strikers Erick Scott and Joel Campbell the ammunition they needed to go on the attack. Coach Jorge Luis Pinto is testing a midfield triumvirate that consists of Michael Barrantes, Oscar Rojas and Randall Brenes, and last night that test was not close to producing the desired results.
The only goal of the game came as a result of a free kick in which Tico defender Roy Miller lost sight of the Guatemalan striker Ruiz, who was able to push a header past goalkeeper Keylor Navas. That was the first and last time that the goalposts of Costa Rica were seriously threatened. The reaction by our National Team was nowhere near swift, and only Alejandro Galindo and Randall Brenes had opportunities to score.
There were multiple substitutions and in-field changes of strategy by both coaches as expected in these friendly matches.
The match was part of a series of friendly warm-up games between the CONCACAF national teams in preparation for the 2014 FIFA World Cup to be hosted by the South American nation that has become emblematic of the jogo bonito: Brazil. Globalization has managed to elevate and ratify football as the most popular competitive team sport in the world, and the upcoming FIFA World Cup is expected to be one of the most exciting and memorable due to the stellar status of its host nation, but judging by last night’s performance by both Costa Rica and Guatemala, it does not seem that the players in either team were interested in qualifying.
The next preparation game for Costa Rica will take place against El Salvador.