San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Ticos Celebrate Soccer Victories

COSTA Ricans took to the streetstwice this week in a victory-inducedeuphoria when its national soccer team, LaSele, trounced Guatemala, Saturday, onhome turf, then Canada, on Wednesday,away.In a satisfying sequel to the 5-0 clobberingthe Ticos doled out to Guatemala inthe Saprissa Stadium in Tibás, north of SanJosé, they beat Canada 3-1 four days laterand knocked the northern country out ofthe running for the final hexagon – the lasteliminatory rounds before the 2006 WorldCup in Germany.After both wins, celebrations spilledinto the streets throughout Costa Rica.FANS united in impromptu parades,armies of soccer lovers waved Costa Ricanflags, honked horns and partied into theearly hours of the next mornings. Saturdaynight saw the biggest celebrations and 28arrests in the metropolitan area for vandalismand destruction of public property,according to the Ministry of PublicSecurity.These latest wins are a reversal of fortunefor the Ticos, after a string of hardlosses, and have afforded the team a lastchance to qualify for the final eliminatoryphase in an away match against Hondurason Nov. 17.The win against Canada was the mostdefinitive of any Tico match against thatcountry, and the first time the Ticos beatthe Canadians in an eliminatory match onCanadian soil.STAR Costa Rican forward PauloCésar Wanchope, who plays for Málaga,Spain, scored three of the five goals againstGuatemala and the first goal againstCanada.Within Costa Rica’s group B of thesemi-finals, Guatemala already classifiedfor the final hexagon last night, andCanada was eliminated. The United Statesclassified in group Aand Mexico classifiedin group C.The fates of the others, including CostaRica and Honduras, will be decided nextmonth.

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