Costa Rica to take Japan place at Copa America

SAN JOSE - Costa Rica have decided to accept an invitation to replace Japan at the Copa America, the Central American country's Football Federation president Eduardo Li said on Tuesday.

"We have taken the decision to take part in the Copa America," Li, whose squad will take one of two berths for guest teams in the July 1-14 tournament, told reporters.

"We can go with an Olympic team, an under-23 (side) with five reinforcements basically over 23 years of age."

Japan pulled out on Monday after failing to get the release of European-based players and facing a problem with J-League clubs whose season has been extended into July following the earthquake and tsunami that devastated the country in March.

Costa Rica, guests at their fourth Copa America, will go into Group A with hosts Argentina, Bolivia and Colombia. They held visiting Argentina to a 0-0 draw in a friendly in March.

"We want to raise the name of Costa Rica at international level and the more so in a tournament like this one," added Li.