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Pinto salutes Costa Rica achievement

24 June 2014 23:40

Jorge Luis Pinto has paid tribute to his Costa Rica side and insisted he never viewed their FIFA World Cup pool as the 'group of death'.

Many anticipated Costa Rica would finish bottom of Group D after they were drawn alongside Italy, Uruguay and England.

However, those predictions were blown out of the water as head coach Pinto led his men to victories over Uruguay and Italy prior to a 0-0 draw against England on Tuesday, meaning they finished top of the pile.

Pinto was thrilled with the achievement, and believes Costa Rica have vastly improved their standing on the international stage.

"We've given Costa Rica status in the football world," he said. "No-one can say it was chance, luck or just for a few moments.

"It was a really complicated group of very experienced teams. But we came to fight and compete, and we have done.

"We've been very constant. I hope we can keep on like that. We'll give our all whoever we face next.

"This was called the 'group of death', but it wasn't - not for us anyway. I'm so happy for Costa Rica. I know the love they have for football.

"May they keep enjoying it. I've loved the three games. We've played a sure, dynamic football. We're unbeaten, it's historic."

Costa Rica faced an England side that showed nine changes from the side that lost 2-1 to Uruguay last Thursday, and Pinto paid tribute to Roy Hodgson's men, who exit the competition with just one point.

He added: "They have a good attack and strong defence. It's a team that didn't have any luck.

"It wasn't easy for me with the changes they made. I told you they weren't going to go home without a point."

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