Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl wrote a story about
all the ways Costa Rica is trying to mess with the U.S. men’s national teambefore tomorrow’s big World Cup qualifier.
The craziest nugget: There’s a rumour in Costa Rica that taxi drivers are planning to band together and create a traffic jam along the U.S. team’s route to the stadium before the game.
It sounds far-fetched, but the U.S. has already faced its fair share of gamesmanship in Costa Rica so far. Among the hitches Wahl came across:
- The U.S. team had to go through the regular customs line like any other traveller
- Costa Rica didn’t provide game balls for the U.S. to use in practice
- None of the three potential training sites that the Costa Rican soccer federation recommended would allow the U.S. team to play there, so they had to make their own arrangements
All of this started when the U.S. beat Costa Rica 1-0 during a blizzard in Denver in March. The Costa Rican federation wanted the game called off, and filed an official protest with FIFA.
As retribution, Costa Rica originally wanted to play tomorrow’s game in the Saprissa Stadium — on old, rickety place with a turf field and concrete stands that are right on top of the field (the U.S. has never won there). But they weren’t able to get the stadium ready in time and had to settle for the echoing National Stadium in the suburbs of San Jose.
We’ll keep an eye out for any additional shenanigans tomorrow.
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