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Home >> Sports
UPDATED: 11:02, June 08, 2006
Costa Rica refuses to be underdogs
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While the World Cup opening match is expected to be a lop-sided one, Costaricans believe they have a real chance to overcome the hosts.

The Central American side, transferring from their training camp in Walldorf to Munich for the opening match, were greeted by banners, ovation, and scores of Costa Rican fans at the Munich railway station on Wednesday, making the German city more like their home turf.

"I think we have a good chance to win," said Douglas Sequeira upon arrival, who plays for the Salt Lake City in the United States.

"Germany have good players but we also have good players. I think we're are a excellent team."

Fighting for victory had become a common sense shared among Costa Rican people. It was even more surprising that they took it as a serious belief rather than merely a good wish.

"It is a great opportunity to show the world our strength. I expect the score to be a 1-1 tie or we win 1-0." said Randall Vargas, working for Germany's broadcasting company Repretel.

Asked if the prediction was too optimistic, he said "we have different ideas and I believe in miracles".

According to Vargas, some 2,000 Costa Rican fans had arrived at Munich, flying over thousands of miles and ready to cheer for their fighters.

But some of them still remained cool.

"Frankly speaking, I think it's quite unlikely for Costa Rica to beat hosts. But it's really good to see that optimistic atmosphere make everybody happy," said Pablo Porras, a student in a technical university in Munich.

Half an hour before the Costa Rica squad arrived, the Munich station were already crowded with Costa Rican fans wearing national red and blue, chanting and dancing while waiting for their national heroes.

They yelled the names of the team members as they stepped out of the train and Paulo Wanchope surely gained most ovations.

"It's privileged to play the tournament opening match," the all-time Costa Rican leading scorer said.

Wanchope, annoyed by knee problems, promised he was one hundred percent fit for the tournament, and his fellow Costaricans gave him one hundred percent support.

"It is an old injury, and I believe he is Ok now," said Porras.

Prorras thought Costa Rica was able to finish second in a group also including Ecuador and Poland.

The head coach Alexandre Guimaraes seemed to be the sole person refrained from talking about victory.

Asked if German superstar Michael Ballack's injury would be a blessing for Costa Rica, he said "we are to play against a whole nation, not against one person".

Guimaraes refused to comment on the situation that Ballack might miss the opener and believed that it made no difference whether the German sensation was absent or not.

What did delight Guimaraes was the sunshine in Munich on Wednesday, in contrast to chilly rain in the past week.

"It was a welcome for us, and I think that weather would be in favor of us. We came from a warm country."

It is Costa Rica's third World Cup journey and the second in succession.

Four years ago they narrowly missed out on reaching the knockout stages, also under Guimaraes. Costa Rica beat China, drew with Turkey but then lost 5-2 to Brazil in their final group game, a defeat that allowed the Turks to progress on goal difference.

Source: Xinhua

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