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Sunday 25 May 2014

Around the World: Costa Rica and the Barclays Premier League

Ahead of the FIFA World Cup a look at the Costa Rican influence on the Barclays Premier League

The Costa Rican scores a wonder goal on debut for Derby County against Manchester United

Ahead of the FIFA 2014 World Cup, which starts on 12 June, looks at the 31 nations outside of England who are competing in Brazil and their influence on the Barclays Premier League.

In England's group D lie Costa Rica, along with Italy and Uruguay. For Costa Rica it will be their fourth tournament, after first qualifying in 1990, where Bora Milutinovic guided them past Sweden and Scotland  to the last 16. They failed to get out of the group stages in the 2002 and 2006 World Cups.

In Costa Rica's provisional squad named by coach Jorge Luis Pinto there is only one player registered with a Barclays Premier League club, Arsenal’s Joel Campbell, who spent last season on loan at Olympiakos.

Fellow forward Bryan Ruiz started the season at Fulham before moving to PSV Eindhoven in January, while injury has forced Everton’s Bryan Oviedo to miss the tournament.

The most famous Costa Rican to have played in the Barclays Premier League is Paulo Wanchope, who starred for Derby County and scored some memorable goals for the Rams, including a mazy run on his league debut at Old Trafford in 1997.

One other Costa Rican has played in the Barclays Premier League: Mauricio Solis, the midfielder who lined up alongside Wanchope at Derby.

Wanchope also played for West Ham United and Manchester City, and dominates the statistics, his 156 appearances more than half of the 259 made in total, while all but 10 of the 60 goals scored by Costa Ricans in the Barclays Premier League came from Wanchope.

Costa Ricans in Barclays Premier League
Total players in BPL history 4
Total BPL appearances 259
Total BPL goals 60

First Costa Ricans to play in the Barclays Premier League
Paulo Wanchope
- Derby County (v Manchester United, 5 April, 1997)

Top BPL appearances by Costa Ricans
Paulo Wanchope
Bryan Ruiz
Bryan Oviedo
Mauricio Solis

First Costa Rican to score in the Barclays Premier League
Paulo Wanchope - Derby County (v Manchester United, 5 April, 1997)

Top Costa Rican goalscorers in BPL
Paulo Wanchope
Bryan Ruiz
Bryan Oviedo

Costa Rica's provisional 2014 World Cup squad

Goalkeepers: Goalkeepers: Keilor Navas (Levante), Patrick Pemberton (Alajuelense), Daniel Cambronero (Herediano)

Defenders: Johnny Acosta (Alajuelense), Giancarlo Gonzalez (Columbus Crew), Michael Umana (Saprissa), Oscar Duarte (Brugge), Waylon Francis (Columbus Crew), Heiner Mora (Saprissa), Junior Diaz (Mainz), Christian Gamboa (Rosenborg), Roy Miller (Red Bull New York), Kendall Waston (Saprissa)

Midfielders: Celso Borges (AIK), Christian Bolanos (Copenhagen), Oscar Esteban Granados (Herediano), Michael Barrantes (Aalesund), Yeltsin Tejeda (Saprissa), Diego Calvo (Valerenga), Jose Miguel Cubero (Herediano), Carlos Hernandez (Wellington Phoenix)

Forwards: Alvaro Saborio (Real Salt Lake), Bryan Ruiz (PSV Eindhoven), Joel Campbell (Olympiakos, on loan from Arsenal), Randall Brenes (Cartagines), Marco Urena (Kuban Krasnodar).

  • Paulo Wanchope dominates the stats for Costa Ricans in the Barclays Premier League

  • With Fulham Bryan Ruiz racked up the second-most BPL appearances and goals

  • Injury prevents Everton's Bryan Ovideo from travelling to Brazil

  • Mauricio Solis lined up alongside Paulo Wanchope at Derby

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Key Points

  • Ahead of the 2014 FIFA World Cup we look at the influence of players from 31 participating nations outside England on the BPL
  • We look at players from Costa Rica in the Barclays Premier League
  • Paulo Wanchope is the Costa Rican with the most appearances in the BPL and the most goals