Costa Rica has got form when it comes to sending illustrious nations home from World Cups and their coach Luis Fernando Suarez says it might be something in the Los Ticos genes.
The Central Americans were given no chance when they were drawn with Italy and England eight years ago in Brazil but ended up topping the group as the two heavyweights went home.
Costa Rica reached the quarter-finals that year, losing to the Netherlands on penalties, but their hopes of similar heroics this time seemed remote after a 7-0 thrashing by Spain.
They bounced back to beat Japan and a win over Germany on Thursday would send them through to the last 16.
Costa Rica could even go through with a draw, if Spain beat Japan, while four-time world champions Germany simply have to win.
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“Eight years have gone by and players have changed but you have good memories,” 62-year-old Colombian Suarez, who took charge last year, told reporters on Wednesday.
“Maybe it’s down to the genes of the Costa Ricans. When they reach a World Cup they do things differently and they play well. I’m not just talking about 2014 in Brazil, I think also in Italy 1990 they reached the last 16 when no one believed in them.
“They are never the favourites, which is good.”
Suarez said his team were fully aware that a Germany side fighting for World Cup survival will be dangerous but said his side were “excited and eager” with a clear objective.
“We need to be emotionally strong and break our backs in this match. Of course, if Germany is knocked out it would be a major thing and we would be proud to be responsible for that.”
Midfielder Celso Borges is one of the survivors from the side that reached the 2014 quarters, along with keeper Keylor Navas, striker Joel Campbell and midfielder Yeltsin Tejeda.
He said recovering from a “crushing” defeat by Spain had not been easy but believes the squad could make history again.
“We have the utmost respect for Germany,” the 34-year-old, who has a record 157 caps for his country, told reporters.
“But it’s all down to us and if we learn from our mistakes in the last two games we have good vibes and good energy.
“I think it’s a huge motivation for us. I think this could be an historical moment for us.”