Costa Rica manager Óscar Ramírez has claimed that his side's World Cup campaign is far from over, despite their disappointing 1-0 loss to Serbia in their first match of the group stages.
The scoreline perhaps flattered Los Ticos, who struggled to gain a foothold in the game due to Serbia's impressive passing moves and their stodgy defence. Aleksandar Kolorov's stunning free kick proved enough to earn his side the win, leaving Ramírez's side knowing they will need a good result against either Switzerland or Brazil to have a chance of escaping their group.
Speaking to the press after the defeat, via Sports Mole, the 53-year-old responded defiantly to suggestions that his side had blown their chances of progressing to the knockout stages, stating: "We play against the second and sixth-placed teams in the FIFA rankings. It's going to be difficult, but I just told my team: 'This isn't over.'
"We should've capitalised on our opportunities like they did. We had our tactical plan in place and with the subs, we tried to attack them on the wings. We tried to execute our plan but they managed to score on a set piece. What can you do?"
Costa Rica's perfromance was a far cry from the style of play that saw them shock the world in 2014, as they topped a group containing England, Italy and Uruguay before eventually getting knocked out on penalties by the Netherlands in the quarter-finals. Los Ticos will now prepare to face Brazil next Friday, where Ramírez's men will need to vastly improve.
Meanwhile, Serbia manager Mladen Krstajić praised the positive atmosphere among his squad following the victory, claiming that togetherness of the side was pivotal to their cohesive performance. The 44-year-old also admitted he was relieved by the result, as it was his first game managing at a major tournament.