Featured Matches
Previous
Real Salt Lake
Montreal Impact
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
AC Milan
Olympiakos
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Vélez Sarsfield
Estudiantes de Caseros
10:15 PM GMT
Game Details
FC Groningen
Aberdeen
0
2
LIVE 41'
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 2
Game Details
Sligo
Rosenborg
6:00 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 2 - 1
Game Details
Stjarnan
Motherwell
7:15 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 2 - 2
Game Details
Shakhter Karagandy
FK Atlantas
3
0
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 3 - 0
Game Details
Shakhter Karagandy
FK Atlantas
3
0
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 3 - 0
Game Details
Hapoel Be'er Sheva
RNK Split
0
0
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 1 - 2
Game Details
MyPa
Dinamo Minsk
0
0
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 3
Game Details
Omonia Nicosia
FK Buducnost Podgorica
0
0
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 2 - 0
Game Details
Haugesund
FK Sarajevo
1
3
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 2 - 3
Game Details
Kuban Krasnodar
Sillamae Kalev
5
0
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 9 - 0
Game Details
Inter Baku
Elfsborg
0
1
LIVE 90'
Leg 2. Aggregate: 1 - 1
Game Details
IFK Goteborg
Györi ETO FC
5:00 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 3 - 0
Game Details
Lech Poznan
Kalju
5:00 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
Liberec
MFK Kosice
5:00 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 1 - 0
Game Details
Tromso
Víkingur Gøta
5:00 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
KS Flamurtari Vlorë
Petrolul Ploiesti
5:00 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 2
Game Details
SV Grödig Amateure
Cukaricki Belgrade
5:00 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 4 - 0
Game Details
Chikhura Sachkhere
Bursaspor
5:00 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
AIK Solna
Linfield
5:00 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 1
Game Details
Zimbru Chisinau
CSKA Sofia
5:00 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
Shakhter Soligorsk
Derry City
5:00 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 1 - 0
Game Details
FC Vaduz
Ruch Chorzow
5:00 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 2 - 3
Game Details
Hapoel Tel Aviv
Astana 1964
5:00 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 3
Game Details
Esbjerg FB
Kairat Almaty
5:00 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 1 - 1
Game Details
FC Spartak Trnava
FC Zestafoni
5:30 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
FC Groningen
Aberdeen
0
2
LIVE 41'
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 2
Game Details
FC Zorya Luhansk
Laci
5:30 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 3 - 0
Game Details
Sligo
Rosenborg
6:00 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 2 - 1
Game Details
Zawisa Bydgoszcz
S.V. Zulte Waregem
6:00 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
Vojvodina
AS Trencin
6:00 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 4
Game Details
Asteras Tripolis
RoPS
6:00 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 1 - 1
Game Details
Hajduk Split
Dundalk
6:15 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 2 - 0
Game Details
ND Gorica
Molde
6:30 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 1 - 4
Game Details
Jagodina
CFR Cluj-Napoca
6:30 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
NK Koper
Neftchi Baku PFC
6:30 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 2 - 1
Game Details
Ferencvaros
Rijeka
6:30 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 1
Game Details
Siroki Brijeg
Mlada Boleslav
6:30 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 1 - 2
Game Details
Diosgyor VTK
PFC Litex Lovech
6:30 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
Crusaders
Brommapojkarna
6:45 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 4 - 0
Game Details
St Johnstone
FC Luzern
6:45 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
St. Pölten
Botev Plovdiv
7:05 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 1 - 2
Game Details
FH Hafnarfjordur
Neman Grodno
7:15 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
Stjarnan
Motherwell
7:15 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 2 - 2
Game Details
Real Salt Lake
Montreal Impact
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Vélez Sarsfield
Estudiantes de Caseros
10:15 PM GMT
Game Details
Sport
Paysandu SC
10:30 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 1 - 2
Game Details
AC Milan
Olympiakos
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Next

Early Argentina, Dutch survive

Five Aside Jul 5, 2014
Read

Campbell hype must be tempered

Arsenal Jun 30, 2014
Read

Positivity for Greece in wake of exit

Greece Jun 29, 2014
Read

Five Aside: Round of 16 records fall

Five Aside Jun 29, 2014
Read
 Posted by Matt Levin
Jun 28, 2014

Standing on the brink of glory

Juan Cayasso in action for Costa Rica against Scotland at the 1990 World Cup -- he scored the only goal in 1-0 win, the Ticos' first ever goal at the tournament.

Costa Rica arrived in Brazil with one goal in mind -- survive the group of former champions and advance to the knockout round. They passed the test with flying colours, finishing first in a group with Uruguay, Italy and England.

Now they're on to task No. 2 -- outdo the success of the 1990 World Cup team. La Sele stand on the precipice of achieving that second aim as they enter Recife, Brazil, as favourites against Greece on Sunday.

- Costa Rica vs. Greece: 50-50 Challenge

This year's squad is writing a new chapter in Costa Rica football history after the country had been stuck retelling the old one for more than two decades. Coincidentally, a biopic on the 1990 team debuted in cinemas in the country a couple of weeks before the tournament began. At Italia '90, Costa Rica -- in their first World Cup -- defeated both Scotland and Sweden to qualify for the knockout rounds. Thanks to the superb performances of goalkeeper Luis Gabelo Conejo, the Ticos finished second in their group behind Brazil.

However, an ailing Conejo would miss the next match against Czechoslovakia and La Sele went out with a 4-1 loss.

During returns to the World Cup in 2002 and 2006, Costa Rica didn't make it out of the group stage. In 2014, the Ticos carried their most talented squad to the tournament since the 1990 version and overcame three former World Cup champions in Group D. La Sele qualified for the knockout round of the World Cup after beating Italy on June 20 -- exactly 24 years to the day they upset Sweden to seal a berth in the second round. Some would argue the Ticos already have surpassed the success of their original World Cup squad after winning a group filled with superior opponents. The current players, though, don't want to leave the question up for debate.

Defender Cristian Gamboa has spoken about keeping focus -- you can tell these players are desperate to become the first La Sele squad to make the quarterfinals.

"Fortunately all of us want to stay here until the last day of the World Cup," added defender Michael Umaña.

That last statement sounds like a truism. But Umaña's assurance wouldn't have applied to the 1990 team. Former midfielder Héctor Marchena said the 1990 lineup lacked ambition, with half the team wanting to return to Costa Rica after the group stage. The squad, made up entirely of players from the national league, had been away from home for too long and wanted to head back.

So perhaps there's a general sentiment that this year's Costa Rica squad deserves to be the best in the country's history.

How do the players from the initial World Cup squad feel about the new generation of Ticos shattering their records? As 1990 team captain Roger Flores told local media: "It's about time."

Conejo, the breakout keeper at the 1990 tournament, currently serves as La Sele's coach. Before the 2014 World Cup, he said he was tired of talking about the past and that this team hopefully would exceed what he had helped attain 24 years ago. Juan Cayasso, who scored Costa Rica's first World Cup goal following a beautiful pass from Claudio Jara, has been in Brazil cheering for the team. Other players like Jara, Flores and Marchena have been guests at parties in Costa Rica's capital city of San José.

Even the team's old coach Bora Milutinovic has been heard on Costa Rica's airwaves. The peripatetic Serbian -- the first manager to lead four different teams to the World Cup -- wished La Sele good luck against Greece in an interview Friday with a local radio station.

The ex-midfielder Marchena, in his newspaper interview, even went ahead and made a prediction.

"I am sure that they are going to keep making history," Marchena said. "I am sure that we will beat Greece."

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.