There were things we thought we knew about Group D, called The Group of Champions since its denizens had won seven. Italy had won as recently as 2006, and Uruguay was fresh off a fourth-place finish in 2010. England was… well, they had 1966.
But Costa Rica looked strangely like the dinner guest nobody invited. The final 23-man roster was largely unknown to the world. Uber fans who follow the CONCACAF Champions League – and there are not many of them – will be familiar with Alajuelense and Saprissa and Herediano. But Joel Campbell aside – and even Campbell, who’s been tossed off on loans by parent club Arsenal – none of these players are particularly heralded. The masked children in a known group of bullies.
Or so we thought.