Costa Rica pursues progress against Spain

Costa Rica (pictured) will meet Spain for the second-ever time on June 11, 2015. (Photo: Mexsport)

MADRID, Spain – Costa Rica is looking to follow a narrow loss in South America this past weekend with an improved performance against host Spain in an international friendly in Leon on Thursday.

In the only previous meeting between the current Central American and European champions, the Spanish rallied from a two-goal deficit with a pair of late tallies to force a 2-2 draw on November 15, 2011, at the Estadio Nacional in San Jose, Costa Rica.

“These games, although they are friendlies, are for growth,” said Costa Rica midfielder Celso Borges, who plays in Spain for Deportivo La Coruña.  “Spain is a selection known worldwide always and it is very rewarding for us to come here and play with an opponent that offers so much competition.”

The Ticos fell 1-0 to Colombia in Buenos Aires on Saturday and will meet a Spanish squad that hasn’t played since a 2-0 loss to the Netherlands in a friendly in Amsterdam on March 31.

“These games contribute a lot to collective and individual progression,” Borges continued.  “The fact of playing against Spain has worldwide importance, but it must go hand in hand with a shared ambition.”

Although Costa Rica is hoping to snap a four-match winless streak ahead of a June 27 friendly against Mexico in Orlando, July’s Gold Cup is the main priority.  There, Paulo Wanchope’s squad can reinforce its status as CONCACAF’s top side in the FIFA rankings by winning the confederation title for the first time in 12 attempts.

Jamaica will provide the initial opposition on July 8 in Carson, California.

“We have a responsibility as a well-positioned selection, but the work we are doing on the defensive alignment is progressing,” Borges finished.  “I think that everything is a process and hopefully we’ll get to the Gold Cup in good shape.”