I remember watching the World Cup 2006 (Germany), a few months after moving down here, but the Costa Rican team lost the first round fairly quickly. Eight years later, Costa Rica headed to Brasil for the 2014 games.
Grouped with three previous World Cup champions, I don’t know that anyone expected the Seleccion Nacional to get very far….this little nation was happy when La Sele beat Uruguay, speechless when La Sele beat out Italy, thrilled when La Sele held its own against England, and euphoric when La Sele scored 5 penalty goals on Greece to advance to the quarter finals.
We’ve never been in the quarter finals before. Ever. Time literally stopped as we rooted on our countrymen via satellite, and La Sele’s victories were OUR victories–made even sweeter by the world’s astonishment.
I’ve never seen such prominent displays of patriotism in my 8 years here. Horns blowing, cars honking, flags waving, red white and blue everywhere, businesses closing, people spilling into the streets in every neighborhood, impromptu parades, mass dance parties blocking highways well into the night. Even President Luis Guillermo Solis was jumping and cheering in the middle of the crowd.
And although we lost today to the Netherlands, at the last possible moment during penalty shootouts, we are filled with pride and celebration. We may be a tiny nation, but we just left our mark on the world.
Costa Rica may be out of the World Cup, but the team reamins undefeated, and La Sele will receive a heroes’ welcome when they fly home next Tuesday. Well done, boys. You did us proud.