Costa Rica coach hails players, Greece blames referee ‘double standard’
Costa Rica coach Jorge Luis Pinto hailed his players as they booked a place in the World Cup quarter-finals with a penalty shoot-out victory over Greece.
Captain Bryan Ruiz looked to have won Sunday’s last-16 clash in Recife in normal time, before Greece defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos claimed an injury-time equaliser.
The match came down to spot-kicks and after Keylor Navas saved Theofanis Gekas’ effort, Michael Umana stepped up to win the match for Los Ticos.
"I am very happy, this is an incredible emotion that we all feel," said Pinto. "This is an important win for the team and for the whole country. We are really proud.
"We are making history. It’s beautiful what we have done. This win is for everyone in Costa Rica.
"We practised penalties before and we had studied the opposition and that’s why we scored 100 per cent.
"It was a dramatic match, a very difficult one. There were moments when we dominated the match but there were other moments when they did, but we were strong and we came through.
"We looked secure throughout the game, and we were full of confidence in the shoot-out, and that goes for the goalkeeper, who was amazing, and the penalty takers, who were just perfect.
"I’ll say it again – we’re delighted and we’d like to dedicate this win to all the people of Costa Rica."
Costa Rica will now face Holland in the last eight in Salvador on Saturday night, and Pinto already has his thoughts on Louis van Gaal’s men.
"We respect the Netherlands, just as we respect all our rivals, but the story goes on and we’re hungry for more."
Greece coach Fernando Santos said he was the victim of a double-standard when a referee banished him to the stands in the late stages of his team’s loss to Costa Rica.
Santos, who led Greece to its first appearance in the World Cup’s second round, was ordered out of the dugout on Sunday night by Australian referee Ben Williams after extra time and had to watch a decisive penalty shootout on a TV in the bowels of Arena Pernambuco.
Afterward, Santos explained that his disagreement with Williams in fact began at the end of 90 minutes, when he and his staff walked toward players on the field in order to give them water and instructions for extra time.
"The referee said we couldn’t go onto the pitch, that we and the substitutes have to be off," Santos said. "I pointed to the other side and said, ‘They’re all on the pitch.’ The players, the technical staff, everyone of Costa Rica was on the pitch, and those of Greece couldn’t cross the sideline.
"So I said, ‘That’s not right; that’s a double-standard.’"
That initial dispute simmered down, but started up again after extra time.
"Exactly the same thing happened," Santos said. "Everyone of Costa Rica was on the pitch and when I was walking in, (Williams) said I couldn’t go in. I said, ‘Why? Am I different from them? Do I look different? Is it because I’m Portuguese?’
"He said, ‘No. You can’t talk to me like that.’ So I said, ‘Who do I talk to?’ And then he said I was banned and I had to leave … So I left."
And that is how Santos’ four-year stint as Greece’s national team coach ended. He had said heading into the match that he did not expect to coach the team beyond the World Cup. However, he also noted after the match that Greek federation officials didn’t waste time sending him on his way.
"Greece already has a new coach," Santos said, alluding to reports earlier this month in Greece that Claudio Ranieri is expected to be hired to replace him.
He added that he’d already been told that his flight out of Brazil had been arranged and that his departure was within hours.
"I don’t know if they didn’t believe we were going to be here or not. I don’t know."