Costa Rica versus France in a soccer match: there is no doubt about whom the clear favorite is between these two, but on Wednesday, the Ticos (how Costa Ricans are called) proved that if they put an extra effort, they can actually play at the same level as Les Bleus.
Carlos Hernandez, the attacking midfielder for the Melbourne Victory, surprised everybody when he threw a shot from 25 meters and scored the first goal of the match, giving Costa Rica an early lead in the game. Then, a play from Franck Rivery and Jeremy Toulalan ended up in a self goal by Douglas Sequeira in 23 minutes of game to level things up.
Raymond Domenech seemed to know what was to be done in order to come up with the victory, as he replaced Sydney Govou with Mathieu Valbuena, who scored the second goal for France with just seven minutes left on the clock.
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This meant Valbuena’s debut with France’s national team, and even though he is not a favorite to make it to the first team for Les Bleus, veterans such as Patrice Evra do believe in the young 25 year old player to come up with good performances. He said that he knew Valbuena would score, and that he feels a positive vibe coming from the player.
This was the first game for Arsenal defender William Gallas since March 31st, as he was recovering from a calf injury. He played the first half to then be replaced by Sebastien Squillaci, and coach Domenech said that is planning to give Galls more time in the next two friendly matches before the start of the World Cup, when they will open their participation against Uruguay in June 11.
Domenech pointed out that the soccer superstar just needs to get his rhythm back slowly but consistently, which is why he is planning to give him one hour against Tunisia on Sunday and a full time against China.
France’s coach has switched the team formation for a 4-3-3, dropping the 4-2-3-1 he was utilizing and that included two midfielders and Nicolas Anelka attacking.
Costa Rica is a team that is not going to be present at the World Cup, but this type of matches gives Coach Rónald González a sense of what his team is capable of doing, and even though they did not won, a 2-1 against the 1998 World champions is certainly quite significant.
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