Costa Rica moving on from 'ancient history' of 2014 World Cup heroics
Giancarlo Gonzalez says Costa Rica's exploits at the 2014 World Cup are "ancient history" as he and his team-mates seek to write a new chapter in Russia.
Bologna defender Gonzalez was part of the squad that exceeded almost all expectations in reaching the last eight in Brazil, before losing out to Netherlands on penalties.
Four years on, Costa Rica begin their 2018 campaign against Serbia in the opening Group E game in Samara on Sunday.
Although those achievements of 2014 will live long in the memory, Gonzalez says now is not the time for misty-eyed nostalgia.
"That's ancient history and it's time for a new page for Costa Rica," he told a media conference on Saturday.
"We've waited on this moment for a long time and we need to implement what we've practiced.
"A lot has been talked about regarding the last World Cup. This is a new World Cup, a new story. Some of us are back, we know the eyes of the world are upon us.
"We have prepared ourselves and we'll do everything we can to play well tomorrow because this team represents our country. We'll try to find victory, which is what we've been working for."
El Director Técnico Óscar Ramírez y el defensor @pipogonzalez88, atendieron a la prensa mundialista, en la conferencia oficial previo al debut de #LaSele en la @fifaworldcup_es #Rusia2018#VamosTicos #CRC #LaSeleSRB pic.twitter.com/qSJun6C9bk
— FEDEFUTBOL Costa Rica (@fedefutbolcrc) June 16, 2018
Head coach Oscar Ramirez, who was part of the Costa Rica side that reached the last 16 at Italia 90, concedes Brazil will be strongly backed to top the group but warned it would be foolish to suggest the other three sides were merely fighting for second spot.
"Brazil is always a favourite, I think it can be a very important team and it's definitely high up in the world rankings, so they're definitely to be borne in mind," he said.
"We are ranked 23rd or so in the world rankings, so you might think that we are more or less the same level as Serbia in the world ranking and then Switzerland is another case.
"Football is full of surprises, we've had recent experiences in other tournaments and emerged on top. We need to take these three points home so we can find our spot in the next round."