As soon as the referee whistled the end of the Italy – Costa Rica match, Costa Ricans stood up and started jumping and screaming in the grip of a wild joice. In this way Costa Ricans exulted at the end of this historic match, which saw their country going forward for the first time in the world cup’s history.
It seems to us Europeans, that such a victory achieved against Italy and the draw with England was a kind of a miracle. However, if we see more deeply, football or soccer is a massive part of Costa Rica’s culture. In fact, this sport is the most beloved national past time and it is so rooted into the culture that even the smallest towns have a public football field.
According to historians, Costa Ricans began playing soccer in 1876, however, it was but it wasn’t until 1887 that the country’s first team complete with uniforms and a regulation ball brought from England began playing in the San Jose county of Tibas. By the early 1900’s, San Jose residents had taken to playing organized games, and local sports clubs included soccer among their list of practiced sports – baseball, fencing, bicycling and horseback riding were other popular hobbies of the day.
To this date, soccer or football remained the most followed national sport. However, what I noticed was this distinct feeling of pride Costa Ricans are living in this tournament of 2014. A feeling which is so strong that make us to perceive them as fierce soldiers who are determined to win not only a battle but the war.
In conclusion, I wonder why is football culturally more powerful in some countries (where is regularly played of course) than in others? Is this sport giving the national identity a real boost or is it the other way round?