Costa Rica head coach Paulo Wanchope (far right) before a friendly against visiting Paraguay on March 26, 2015, in San Jose. (Photo: Imagenes en Costa Rica)
SAN JOSE, Costa Rica – After conceding three goals in two of its previous three friendlies, Costa Rica replicated the defensive form that aided in an historic 2014 FIFA World Cup run, blanking Paraguay in a 0-0 draw on Thursday.
In Brazil, the Ticos posted shutouts in three of their five outings, never conceding more than one goal.
Conversely, the current Central American champion failed to score for the first time in seven games, ending a stretch that saw it net an impressive 17 goals.
"I would want that we could score three or four goals in every match. It couldn’t happen today” said head coach Paulo Wanchope after the game. “The opponent was strong. They had a good defense and we didn't have clear options to score, but we were able to keep a clean sheet and that is important.”
Perhaps, there was a correlation between Costa Rica’s improved defensive cohesiveness and decreased offensive output. Wanchope, though, pointed out that Paraguay’s tactics played a role in how the encounter evolved.
"It was a game as we expected, disputed by battle-hardened Paraguayan players, playing the counterattack,” the 38-year-old remarked. "We were having a go on all sides, through the middle. We lacked penetration, but there was creativity. The pace was very high. In the second half, the opponent defended better and we had to be more patient. We did not have many scoring opportunities, neither did the rival. Both teams did a good job defensively.”
Costa Rica will have the opportunity to continue sharpening its offense and defense, when squares off against host Panama in another friendly on March 31.