Pura Vida! The Ticos tandem of Ronald Matarrita and Rodney Wallace received the good news today. Both players have been called in to Óscar Ramírez’s Costa Rican preliminary World Cup squad that will train and play friendly matches before the squad is whittled down to the final 23.
The schedule is strong and the stage couldn’t be bigger for two of our Boys in Blue.
Costa Rica’s run up to the World Cup should provide the tests necessary to get the squad in gear. La Sele have signed up for friendly matches across Europe against Northern Ireland, England, and Belgium ahead of making camp in Russia.
At the tournament, La Sele is slated to take on Serbia on June 17 (8 AM ET), Brazil on June 22 (8 AM ET), and Switzerland on June 27 (2 PM ET) to determine if they can make it to consecutive knockout rounds and better their previous best of a last 8 finish in Brazil just four years ago.
Costa Rica qualified for the World Cup in dramatic fashion thanks to a late goal from Kendall Waston against Honduras that sealed their spot in Russia after successfully navigating the Hexagonal round with 16 points and a second place finish. Big wins over Trinidad & Tobago, and the United States drove La Sele through, and even a loss to first-place finisher Mexico couldn’t keep them out of Russia.
The 23 year-old left-back Matarrita is fairly new to the senior set up, having represented Costa Rica at U-17, U-20, ad U-22 levels before making the jump to the senior side on September 5, 2015 in a friendly against Brazil. He scored his first goal for Costa Rica in a 3-1 win over Panama, in a World Cup qualification match.
The 29 year-old MLS veteran winger Wallace has been a mainstay in the Costa Rica set up since making his international debut on September 2, 2011 – where he scored the only goal in a 1-0 victory over the US Men’s National Team at the Stubhub Center in Carson, California.
Rodney earned five caps in World Cup Qualifying to help Costa Rica through to the finals.
This is just the fifth time ever that Costa Rica have qualified for the World Cup, and their underdog nature coupled with the inclusion of City Boys Matarrita and Wallace will mean supporters at home and abroad.
Congratulations to Ronald and Rodney! We can’t wait to watch you rep for the city on the highest level.