|Costa Rica's National Soccer Team|
A couple weeks ago, even Costa Ricans were doubtful that their team would make it past the first round. Group D, which included Uruguay, Italy, and England, was popularly referred to as El Grupo de la Muerte, or "The Group of Death".
Then on June 14th, Costa Rica defeated Uruguay with a stunning 3-1 win. Since then, the entire country has watched each game with bated breath, and celebrated each victory with increasing confidence and enthusiasm.
I watched yesterday's game against Greece on a small, old-style television set here in Las Cruces. We were a modest group, but we packed the room that was available to us. Many NAPIRE students and mentors opted to travel to nearby San Vito to see the event in restaurants and bars. It was a long and difficult game; toward the end our collective experience degenerated into a series of groans and cheers. We were all sweating so much our little room began to smell like a futbol locker.
|Keylor Navas and Michael Umaña moments after making|
Then in split second, it was over. The ball shot past Karnezis, and Costa Rica had won.
Costa Rica had WON!!
Shouts, dancing, and hugs exploded not only in our little TV room in Las Cruces, but across the nation. For hours after the game, one could watch televised reports of the riot of celebration that took hold of Costa Ricans everywhere.
|Costa Ricans celebrate the win against Greece in one|
of the major intersections of San Jose.
Tomorrow, the U.S. team will play Belgium in the World Cup, hoping for its own spot in the Round of Eight. I'll be watching that game with baited breath, too. I hope we win, but even if we do, I know the party back home won't be nearly as good as yesterday's party in Costa Rica.
...Let me just close by saying that I simply must use the name Keylor in one of my future fantasy novels.
Felicidades, Costa Rica!