Costa Rica takes Canada’s place in Copa America

SAN JOSE, Reuters

Costa Rican soccer officials said on Friday that their national team would take part in the Copa America after Canada pulled out because it did not have time to prepare for the hastily rearranged competition.

Ricardo Quiros, spokesman for Costa Rica’s Football Federation (Fedefut), said the team were invited to take Canada’s place at the tournament which starts on Wednesday in Colombia, and had decided to go.

“Fedefut accepted the invitation and we are already organising the team that will take part,” Quiros said.

“We are already in talks with the clubs and we believe they are ready to release us the players for such an important tournament, and also with those that play with teams abroad.”

Costa Rica’s Brazilian coach Alexandre Guimaraes is on holiday in Spain but will return immediately to pick a team and organise the trip to Colombia, Quiros added.

Costa Rica are scheduled to play in group C of the Copa America along with Argentina, Bolivia and Uruguay.

Argentina had pulled out but then said on Friday they would make a final decision on Tuesday, one day before the tournament begins, on whether to take part.

Copa America organizers had decided to take the competition away from Colombia because its civil war created too many security concerns.

Then last week they said they were handing it back to Colombia but delaying the Copa until next year.

They changed their position once more on Thursday, saying the competition would begin as originally planned on July 11 in Colombia.

Costa Rica are in good form and lead their World Cup qualifying group ahead of the United States, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico and Trinidad and Tobago.

Their only World Cup appearance to date was in 1990.