No one doubts that Diego Armando Maradona was one of the best footballers of all time. But that does not mean that he never made mistakes – in this case – about the role that the Costa Rican National Team “La Sele” would have in the 2014 World Cup.
One day before the “Ticos” debut against Uruguay, at the Castelao stadium, in the Brazilian city of Fortaleza, he made a comment about the presence of Costa Rica in the Group of Death.
In the program “De Zurda”, under the leadership of the Uruguayan journalist Víctor Hugo Morales, and in which the Colombian soccer player Radamel Falcao was invited, Maradona said “I being Costa Rican I’d have to hit a…” and then made the gesture to shoot himself in the foot.
He mentioned this because, in addition to the Uruguayans, Costa Rica in that qualifying group would had to face England and Italy, all former World Champions, and of course, favorites to qualify for the next round.
In the conversation, the soccer superstar pointed out that Costa Rica, after a tie as tough as the one it had achieved, reached the World Cup and “if it gets into a group like that, then you should directly make up your suitcase …”, and again made the gesture of the shot, meaning that they didn’t stand a chance of winning. De Zurda was a program on the Telesur Network, which had a special broadcast during the 2014 World Cup, in which Maradona was the guest star throughout the entire tournament.
But then came the “Tico” surprise
Of course, we already know the story. Costa Rica not only defeated Uruguay 3-1, but six days later beat Italy 1-0. Thus, qualifying for the second round in it’s group, eliminating the English team, whom they faced shortly after, with a zero draw. These results placed “La Sele” in FIRST place of its group above the three soccer powers.
Maradona congratulates “La Sele”
After the victory over the Italians, which occurred on June 20th, Maradona followed up correcting his past statements. In a latter program he recognized the excellent performance of the “Ticos” after their impeccable participation.
Days later, Maradona would have more words of praise for the Costa Rican squad. Even when they asked him if he would like to play with any of the teams participating in the World Cup and he did not hesitate to say that “he would like to play with the Costa Ricans”.
Passing of “El Pibe de Oro”
Maradona died this past Wednesday, at the age of 60, victim of a cardiac arrest in Buenos Aires. He was recovering from a recent head surgery. After 11 hours of a chaotic funeral at the Casa Rosada (Argentina’s Presidential Palace), his remains were buried in a private cemetery in the outskirts of Buenos Aires.
“El Pibe de Oro” (the golden boy) was World Champion in Mexico 1986 and runner-up, four years later, in Italy. With Napoli, one of the clubs with which he achieved the greatest success, he achieved two “scudettos” and a UEFA Cup.
In 1991 he was jailed for 15 months for doping and, three years later, he was expelled from the World Cup for testing positive in a doping control. The footballer faced serious drug and alcohol problems for many years, which worsened his health.