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Costa Rica looking for a quick start

Updated: 2014-06-29 07:48
By Agence France-Presse in Recife, Brazil ( China Daily)

Costa Rica is determined to score first when it tackles Greece in the World Cup last 16 in Recife on Sunday.

Greece has developed a reputation over the years of being extremely hard to break down, particularly if it takes the lead.

It has almost perfected the classic Italian system of catenaccio (bolt-lock) in which teams play an ultra-defensive style and hope to score a single goal on the counter attack.

Los Ticos technical assistant Luis Marin said his team needs to score early to prevent Greece from taking the lead and then going into a defensive shell.

"It's crucial for us to score early in the game, especially as Greece is known to tighten up at the back once they score," said Marin.

"But we know it's going to be a tough game all round. Although they lost to Colombia (3-0), the goals they conceded were down to simple mistakes. Greece is also potent on the counter attack.

"Penalties could play a role at some point. They are a part of the game and although we hope it doesn't happen, we have to prepare for every scenario. We've been practicing shooting from the penalty spot."

Costa Rica emerged as one of the top teams of the group stage, stunning Uruguay and Italy before drawing with England to finish at the top of Group D.

The Greeks squeezed into the knockout round by the skin of their teeth when Giorgios Samaras converted a late penalty to hand Fernando Santos's men a decisive 2-1 win over Cote d'Ivoire to book their first ever last-16 appearance. It was only Greece's second goal in three matches.

Santos said unheralded Costa Rica is a force to be reckoned with.


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