After organizing the U20 Women’s World Cup, which ended last Sunday with the title in the hands of Spain, Costa Rica aspires to continue to be taken into account by FIFA for future competitions, even of greater complexity.
The National Stadium, the largest in the country, with capacity for 35,000 fans and inaugurated in 2011, added to the development of the Costa Rican Soccer Federation sports complex and the hotel capacity of a country that depends largely on tourism, having placed Costa Rica on FIFA’s radar as a venue for major events. The 2014 Women’s U-17 World Cup was the first test for Costa Rica and this 2022 was the turn for the Women’s U-20 World Cup.
Interestingly, both finals were disputed by Spain and Japan, the first with victory for the Asians and the second for the Spanish; and the two games with the National Stadium practically full: quite an achievement for a country where women’s football is taking off.
Celebrating the return of youth football in such a wonderful country
“I knew it was going to be a success and after seeing this show we are very happy and content and we wanted to celebrate the return of youth football in such a wonderful country,” FIFA president Gianni Infantino told in a press conference in Costa Rica.
He rated the organization of the “fantastic” World Cup in Costa Rica 2022 with a “10 out of 10”, and left the door open for the country to continue hosting events of this type.
Ready for bigger events
“Organizing more women’s or men’s events has to be the ambition of a country like Costa Rica,” said Infantino, who added that the Central American country “is not far from organizing a bigger World Cup or co-organizing a World Cup with other countries in the area.”
One of the pillars for the development of soccer in Costa Rica is the sports complex of the Costa Rican Soccer Federation, which has training fields, offices, a gym and a small hotel to accommodate players and coaching staff.
During his visit to Costa Rica, Infantino inaugurated a training field financed by the FIFA Forward program in that sports complex and also met with the president of Costa Rica, Rodrigo Chaves, and the president of the Costa Rican Football Federation, Rodolfo Villalobos.
The most popular sport
In this country of 5 million inhabitants, soccer is the most popular sport and in recent years the women’s soccer league has been developing more, which now has support from sponsors and powerful clubs in the country.
The two World Cups that Costa Rica has hosted, plus the recent participation of the women’s national team in World Cups, give Costa Rican women’s football an important boost.
First event after Pandemic
The 2022 World Cup in Costa Rica was the first women’s World Cup held by FIFA after the Covid-19 pandemic and it meant a great challenge for this country, since initially it was going to be organized in conjunction with Panama, which finally gave up participating.
According to FIFA data, nearly 200,000 people attended the 32 World Cup matches and the event was available to 120million people around the world, a success that could soon be repeated. “We have talked about it and the possibility is open,” said the president of the Costa Rican Soccer Federation, Rodolfo Villalobos, about hosting another World Cup.