June 25 – Costa Rica manager Luis Suárez (pictured) has demanded some credit amid heavy criticism over the Ticos’ recent results as he seeks to rebuild his side after the World Cup.
On Monday, the Costa Ricans play Panama in Group C’s headline match.
The Central American nation has endured a torrid 2023 so far, winning just one game out of four. They were defeated by Guatemala and Ecuador as well as Panama, the opponents in their Group C Gold Cup opener on Monday. At the global finals in Qatar, Costa Rica exited in the first round following defeats to Spain and Germany, but Suarez has called for some understanding with a need to rethink the team.
“When you try to do new things sometimes it hurts and at a certain moment it hurts much more, we are in a time of painful moments and you will have to have character to move on to the next stage,” said Suarez at a news conference.
The Colombian manager arrived in 2021 in Costa Rica and the Ticos rallied in qualifying to earn a spot in Qatar, winning six games under his command and defeating the All Whites of New Zealand in the playoffs. But those feats have rapidly been forgotten and Suarez can feel the pressure ahead of Costa Rica’s first Gold Cup match.
“I know that it is a hackneyed and forbidden word to talk about the process, I am no longer talking about a transition, but I have to do it and the results have to be achieved without the process,” said Suarez.
“Not everything is bad, but if Costa Rica does not wake up, we will stagnate. At this moment I expose myself to you. What can I do? Nothing. Am I going to bring Bryan Ruiz back?”
Suarez will need a result at the Gold Cup to keep the fierce media criticism at bay, starting with the match against Panama, who pipped the Costa Ricans to a spot in the Nations League Finals with a 1-0 win in San José in March.
It’s the second time both teams will meet in the Gold Cup after Costa Rica’s 2017 quarter-finals 1-0 victory. At the last Gold Cup, the Ticos exited at the last-eight stage following a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Canada.
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