Costa Rica’s chances of advancing at the World Cup took a huge hit Saturday evening after the team confirmed star Bryan Oviedo would miss the tournament. Oviedo broke his left leg in two places in January, and doctors determined this weekend that the injury would not be healed in time for the World Cup.
Oviedo’s absence means head coach Jorge Luis Pinto must replace his team’s best defender and possibly La Sele’s most versatile player a month before the World Cup. Costa Rica plays its first match against Uruguay on June 14.
The Costa Rica Football Federation sent out a press release about the “lamentable news.” Oviedo, who is currently in England with his club team, confirmed the verdict through his Twitter account, where he thanked fans for all their support. He will fly back to Costa Rica on Sunday.
The left-back suffered the injury while playing for his English Premier League club Everton on January 25. Recent X-rays done by Everton’s medical department showed the bone still had a ways to go before healing completely. Costa Rica’s head trainer Alejandro Ramírez said he agreed with the diagnosis.
“Today [Everton] had him do physical work on a hard surface, and he felt discomfort during the activity, which indicated the player will not be in physical shape to attend the World Cup,” Ramírez said.
Oviedo, 24, showed a remarkable recovery in the weeks and months following the leg fracture. In early April, Everton manager Roberto Martínez even said Oviedo was likely to make the World Cup. Costa Rica’s national team seemed optimistic as well.
Last week, Oviedo had said he wouldn’t play in Brazil unless he felt 100 percent. However, he planned to join the rest of the team for a training camp beginning next week.
But by Saturday, Everton and Costa Rica medical staff had seen enough to make a decision on Oviedo’s future. That determination leaves the national team missing an irreplaceable piece of its World Cup lineup.