As the world has come to see, the biggest sporting event besides the Olympic games is the FIFA World Cup, this year celebrated on our continent, down in Brazil. Even though this was a difficult year for Brazil, they did an extraordinary job welcoming all the fútbol federations from around the world, including our very own Costa Rica! It was a huge thrill for all the Tico fans to classify for the World Cup. The last time we were in the games was in 2006 and the last time we were in the Round of 16 was in 1990! This time Costa Rica’s national team, fondly called La Sele, not only did an excellent job during the hexagonal, taking second place, but also played great futbol, beating the United States and Mexico in the last round.
When Costa Rica’s team was getting ready for Brazil, we didn’t see great results with a loss against Japan and a draw against Ireland. But as the Cup started, La Sele really stepped up and showed the world what our small country can do! The disapproval from commentators, reporters and fútbol fans around the world was forgotten and Costa Rica got on the map as a contender.
As Tico’s, we put on the biggest national celebration after each incredible match, standing together in unity and showing the whole world who we were. We took on some of the best competitors in the first rounds, beating three past World Cup winners and some of the best teams in all of soccer history: Italy, England and Uruguay in the first round and Greece in the second round.
While we lost in the penalty shoots against Holland in the quarterfinals, what gave us such happiness was the fact that no team could defeat the Costa Rica fútbol team on regular time! So, while we got knocked out in last Saturday’s match, there was not a better way to lose then in the penalty round, fighting until the end, defending the honor of Costa Rica!
Chrissy told me that Quepos was fully alive for each of the games, with everyone dressed in Costa Rica’s colors of red and blue and their faces painted with the flag showing their Tico pride. For the quarterfinals against Greece, the County shut down the Malecón (the main road into town) and set up a big screen TV along the sea wall so everyone could watch together. When we won the game, the streets were filled with cheering people and traffic was at a standstill. They shut it down again for the Holland game but Chrissy was suffering from her day at the bank, having had severe allergies overcome her from spending almost 6 hours in the freezing cold building. She watched the game on ESPN and could hear the cheers coming from the Malecon, about 1 ½ km from her house. But even after the loss to Holland, the town held its head up high. Ticos still celebrated, honking their horns and cheering….Proud to be Tico and to have come so far.
She also happened to be in San Jose after two of the group games and just like in Quepos, everyone was wearing red, cars and people filled the streets, honking their horns and shutting down their businesses for the day. People were not only cheering on the bridge overpasses but were actually in the freeways. The entire nation was smiling. Pure happiness. Pura vida.
One of our clients in Manuel Antonio, Café Milagro, shut down their restaurant and coffee roaster to watch the games all together as a team but after the game against Greece which started at 2:00 p.m., they never reopened that night for dinner. They all went down to Quepos Centro to celebrate with the rest of the country. Chrissy and I both agree…we have some pretty cool clients who put social well-being above their bottom line.
To see Tico pride in action, check out this great video we found on YouTube!
And enjoy the slideshow…
Viva Costa Rica!