Costa Rica up for challenge, says Gamboa

Cristian Gamboa insisted Costa Rica will not shy away from the mammoth challenge that has been presented to them at the FIFA World Cup.

Costa Rica are expected to make an early exit in Brazil after being drawn against four-time champions Italy, dual winners Uruguay and England in Group D.

But Rosenborg defender Gamboa says his team-mates will not be overawed when they face the likes of Luis Suarez, Mario Balotelli and Wayne Rooney at the showpiece event.

"When we found out, we really couldn't believe the group we ended up in," the 24-year-old told

"But you have to grow up at the World Cup. This is the biggest stage.

"If we get our foundations right and if we focus on the methods that got us to Brazil, there's no reason we can't look the likes of Suarez, Balotelli and Wayne Rooney right square in the eyes.

"It's 11 on 11 and names don't always mean a lot on the pitch."

Jorge Luis Pinto's men qualified for the World Cup finals on the back of a resilient defensive structure.

Costa Rica boasted the best defensive record during the fourth and final round of CONCACAF qualifying, conceding just seven goals in 10 games as they finished second behind the United States.

Gamboa said fans should expect to see more of the same at the World Cup as they attempt to stifle and catch their more fancied opponents on the break.

"Our defence is key," he said.

"It's not like the old days of free, open football. We've been drilled.

"It's been hammered into us. Every game, every training session. We stay tight and we break."

Gamboa was quick to stress Costa Rica were also threatening in attack, with the team featuring PSV striker and captain Bryan Ruiz (12 goals in 61 appearances), Arsenal youngster Joel Campbell (nine goals in 31 appearances) and Real Salt Lake veteran Alvaro Saborio (32 goals in 93 appearances).

"Defence got us through the qualifiers and it's part of us now but I won't give the impression that we're only defence," said Gamboa.

"We're not a desperate team. We break out fast, and when we do, we have some top players."

Costa Rica face Japan and the Republic of Ireland in international friendlies before opening their World Cup campaign against Uruguay on June 14.