World Cup 2014 Video: The secret to Costa Rica's success? Footvolley
Video: The Independent's Ian Herbert watches the Costa Rican team play a game of footvolley just hours after their victory against Italy last week, as they prepare for their match with England on Tuesday
Tuesday 24 June 2014
When Group D was drawn, many believed Costa Rica had little chance of progressing.
The small Central American country was up against three World Cup-winners in Italy, England and Uruguay, and their last appearance in the tournament, back in Germany in 2006, had been their worst ever. They finished 31st out of the 32 nations competing.
However, they are the now the only team left in the group with a 100% record, having triumphed against Uruguay and the Italians, and now face an England side already completing their online check-ins as they head home after a tournament akin to Costa Rica's in 2006.
The Independent's Ian Herbert went to see Costa Rica in training and saw the team play what the Brazilians call footvolley, a combination of football and volleyball.
Scroll down to watch the video
Costa Rica's manager, Jorge Luis Pinto, who has been at the helm since 2011, believes that footvolley helps his players build up stamina and prepares them for the physicality of the games ahead. Pinto has a degree in physical education.
Costa Rica's success at the 2014 World Cup so far is also down to the strength of the country's domestic league, which has a very good youth system in place.
Not only will tonight's game be difficult for an England side hoping to restore some pride, it will also highlight the deficiencies in their own youth system and perhaps spur Football Association Chairman Greg Dyke to ensure his reforms of the English game are introduced.
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