Paulo Wanchope bowed out of international football yesterday and said: "It was a very emotional day for me."
After scoring 45 goals in 72 appearances for Costa Rica, he finished on a losing note. They opened the scoring in their final Group A match through Ronald Gomez's 20-yard free-kick but Poland hit back for a 2-1 victory thanks to a double from Bartosz Bosacki.
Wanchope, 29, gave the reason for his decision to retire as the amount of travelling involved for his country. After wearing the colours of, among others, Derby County, Manchester City and West Ham, he is anxious to return to Europe.
Wanchope, who plays in Costa Rica for Herediano, believes he will be ready for that new challenge by not being involved at international level. He said: "I am still young but I am leaving the squad because of the travelling. It is enough for me. When you have to take a plane and travel 10 to 12 hours it is difficult.
"Hopefully, I can come back to Europe and get a club but we will just have to see. I will be ready because I will be able to rest for domestic games. That will be better for me."
The under-pressure Poland coach Pawel Janas was delighted with the victory and with Bosacki, who was only in the squad after Damian Gorawski dropped out because of illness. They were the defender's first goals for his country, and Janas said: "I am very grateful to him. You expect your strikers and midfielders to get your goals, not defenders. But I have to thank my team for raising their game and giving our marvellous supporters something to cheer about."
It may not be enough to keep Janas in his job, though, even if it does send the huge Polish support home with some consolation for their side's early World Cup exit.
Most of the 43,000 fans in the ground were Polish, but they saw their team struggle early on. Defeats by Ecuador and Germany, which had led to calls at home for Janas to resign, seemed to have eaten away at Poland's confidence.
Gomez's free-kick put Costa Rica in front in the 24th minute, but this seemed to spur Poland into life. The Poles poured forward more aggressively and finally got their reward for six first-half corners when Bosacki volleyed home off the bar in the 33rd minute after Maciej Zurawski's corner. The goal was the Poles' first at the finals. Their and Bosacki's second came through a powerful header from Jacek Krzynowek's corner in the 66th minute.
"We had been criticised because we couldn't score through set pieces," Janas said. "I'm very happy. It was very hot today and I'm glad the team responded to my tactics."
It looked like Wanchope, Costa Rica's all-time leading scorer, had levelled in the last moments when he flicked the ball into the net but the striker was offside.
Krzynowek also went close with a long-range left-foot drive, but other than set pieces, the Poles had little to show for their dominance. "We tried. We had enough chances. It's disappointing to leave without a win," the Costa Rica captain, Luis Marin, said.
"We paid dearly for our distractions. They cost us in all three matches," the Costa Rica coach Alexandre Guimaraes admitted. "Today, the goals came through our carelessness at set plays."
Costa Rica: Porras (Saprissa); Drummond (Saprissa), Gonzalez (Herediano), Umana (Brujas), Marin (Alajuelense), Bolanos (Saprissa), Solis (Comunicaciones), Centeno (Saprissa), Badilla (Saprissa), Wanchope (Herediano), Gomez (Saprissa).
Substitutes used: Wallace (Alajuelense) for Drummond, 70; Saborio (Saprissa) for Bolanos, 78; Hernandez (Alajuelense) for Gomez, 82.
Poland: Boruc (Celtic); Baszczynski (Wisla Krakow), Bak (Al Rayyan), Bosacki (Lech Poznan), Zewlakow (Anderlecht), Krzynowek (Bayer Leverkusen), Szymkowiak (Trabzonspor), Smolarek (Borussia Dortmund), Radomski (Austria Vienna), Jelen (Wisla Plock), Zurawski (Celtic).
Substitutes used: Brozek (Wisla Krakow) for Zurawski, 45; Lewandowski (Shakhtar Donetsk) for Radomski, 64; Rasiak (Southampton) for Smolarek, 85.
Booked: Costa Rica Umana, Marin, Gomez, Badilla, Gonzalez; Poland Radomski, Bak, Zewlakow, Baszczynski, Boruc.
Referee: Shamsul Maidin (Singapore).Reuse content