Thursday July 5, 2018
By Aiden Graw
Costa Rica’s football federation has parted ways with coach Oscar Ramirez after a disappointing World Cup showing by the Central American nation.
“Oscar Ramirez will not continue as coach, his contract has expired,” the federation’s president Rodolfo Villalobos told a press conference.
Costa Rica went out of the competition in the group stage, after failing to win a match. They lost their opening two games to Serbia and Brazil, before drawing their final game 2-2 with Switzerland.
Ramirez has been in charge since 2015, only a week after being appointed as Paulo Wanchope’s assistant. Ramirez stepped up after Wanchope was involved in a fight in Panama and resigned as head coach.
“We believe that his continuing is not appropriate or convenient, we believe in his ability, but the executive committee has decided not to renew his contract,” Villalobos said.
“I want to thank Oscar for his dedication, his professionalism, his discipline and his teaching.”
Villalobos said the Fedefut’s executive committee would now begin a search for a coach to take the team through qualification for the Qatar 2022 World Cup.
Costa Rica’s style came in for sharp criticism under Ramirez and drew unfavorable comparisons with their showing in the last World Cup in Brazil when they reached the quarter-finals for the first time in their history.
COLOMBIA’s ZUNIGA RETIRES FROM INTERNATIONAL CAREER
Juan Camilo Zuniga, the player who ended Brazilian superstar Neymar’s World Cup participation four years ago, announced his retirement on Wednesday.
The 32-year-old Colombian wing-back was involved in a collision with Neymar in a quarter-final match at the Brazilian World Cup in 2014 that resulted in the forward suffering a broken vertebrae.
Neymar’s World Cup was over and without their talisman Brazil suffered the humiliation of losing 7-1 to eventual champions Germany in the semi-finals.
After himself suffering two injury-plagued years, an emotional Zuniga said: “Today I’m thinking about my future, my family. I’m stepping aside so that tomorrow, when I want to to run around in the park with my children, I’ll be able to do so.”
The wing-back began and ended his career at Medellin club Atletico Nacional but spent much of his career in Italy, notably a nine-year spell at Napoli.
He spent one season in England at Watford, scoring his only goal for the Hornets against Manchester United.
But he was widely seen as the villain of the 2014 World Cup by fans of the host nation for his role in Neymar’s injury.
Brazil’s then captain Thiago Silva branded Zuniga “a coward” over the challenge, in which the Colombian’s knee made contact with Neymar’s back.
WILLIAN WARNS CHELSEA TEAM MATE HAZARD AHEAD OF WORLD CUP BATTLE
Brazil star Willian says he is looking forward to coming out on top when he faces his club colleague Eden Hazard in the World Cup quarter-final between Brazil and Belgium.
The teams meet in Kazan on Friday evening with Brazil the favourites, despite the quality in a Belgian side captained by Hazard, who plays with Willian at Chelsea.
“He is a very humble player and I like being with him on a daily basis at club level. But now it is time for each of us to defend our corner and I hope to come out on top,” Willian said at Brazil’s training base in Sochi on Wednesday.
“He is one of the best players in the world, but now I am on a different side and I want to do everything to win. I know we will remain friends after,” added the 29-year-old, who will also be facing Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.
Willian is expected to keep his place in coach Tite’s starting line-up for the game after producing his best performance at the World Cup so far in Monday’s 2-0 victory against Mexico.
It was a performance which suggested the five-time winners of the trophy were comfortable with their tag as favourites, having recorded three straight wins since an opening 1-1 draw against Switzerland.
“The team has evolved since the first game,” Willian added. “There was nervousness in that first match, a more complicated start against Switzerland, and we have grown step by step. I think we are at the same level as in the qualifiers.”
He added that Neymar is getting better by the game, but the same can be said of Willian himself, who is one of the few survivors from the 2014 squad.
“I am more mature and have more experience than at the last World Cup, and the team is more consistent,” insisted Willian, who appeared from the bench in the 7-1 semi-final humiliation against Germany in 2014.
Brazil will leave their base on Russia’s Black Sea coast for the final time on Thursday to head to Kazan for Friday’s game.
With Marcelo and Douglas Costa having shaken off injuries, it is the first time in this World Cup that Tite has had his whole squad fit.
However, Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro will miss the match due to suspension, with Fernandinho expected to replace him.
Source: www.mknewslink.com a greater western Uganda news website