Cin­derella then, favourites now

DNA Sunday (Mumbai) - - FRONT PAGE - — Agencies

Rio de Janeiro: Hav­ing left for­mer cham­pi­ons Uruguay, Italy and Eng­land be­hind to sen­sa­tion­ally win their group — one of the tough­est at the World Cup — the Costa Ri­cans line up against their low­est- ranked op­po­si­tion so far in Greece in the sec­ond round on Sun­day.

“We were the Cin­derella and now we are favourites. That’s re­spect and we earned it,” Costa Rica de­fender Michael Umana said.

Costa Rica’s ex­pec­ta­tions have sky­rock­eted, not just be­cause of the re­sults but the way they earned them. It pro­gressed from the group stage for the sec­ond time and first since 1990, do­ing it with panache and at­tack­ing verve and with for­wards Joel Camp­bell and Bryan Ruiz leading from the front.

“What we have ac­com­plished is now part of his­tory but there are still some chap­ters left and we want a happy end­ing,” Costa Rica di­rec­tor of na­tional teams Adrian Gu­tier­rez said.

Greece’s Por­tuguese coach Fer­nando San­tos, for one, says his side won’t be tak­ing Costa Rica lightly.

“We’ll study them. We’re go­ing to have to be care­ful, they won the ‘ group of death’. For that rea­son we can’t un­der­es­ti­mate them,” he said.

— AFP

Costa Rica’s Ju­nior Diaz ( front) and mid­fielder Celso Borges train at Vila Belmiro Sta­dium in San­tos on Thurs­day

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