Founded: 1921 (Joined FIFA in 1927). Head Coach: Jorge Luis Pinto. FIFA Ranking: 64. Highest FIFA Ranking: 17 (2003). Lowest FIFA Ranking: 93 (1996). Best World Cup Finish: Round of 16 (1990). Key Players: Bryan Ruiz (Fulham), Álvaro Saborío (Real Salt Lake), Cristian Bolaños (FC Copenhagen)
USA All-Time vs. Costa Rica: 11-12-6
How They Got Here
Costa Rica wound up five points clear in second place of Group B in the Semifinal Round, which makes it all the more hard to imagine that they were on the brink of elimination with two matches to play. The Ticos held only four points from their first four matches, and following a home loss to Mexico they went to El Salvador needing nothing short of a victory to stave off elimination. Facing the intense crowd at Estadio Cuscatlan, Costa Rica snatched a 1-0 victory and then blasted Guyana 7-0 at home in their last match.
Against The United States
These teams are about as familiar as you can get in World Cup qualifying, having competed in 16 games through the last five qualifying cycles in which the U.S. participated (the USA hosted the ’94 World Cup and didn’t have to qualify). The U.S. has no victories and only one draw in Costa Rica, while the Ticos handed the U.S. only one of two home losses in World Cup qualifying since 1985. Their last meeting may have been the most memorable, when a Jonathan Bornstein goal in the 95th minute earned the USA a 2-2 draw and first place in the group while denying Costa Rica a place in the 2010 FIFA World Cup.