San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Brazil 2014

A rebuttal to Wall Street Journal editor's call for US World Cup fans to ignore Costa Rica

Dear Wall Street Journal Executive Editor Almar Latour:

I just finished reading your open letter encouraging folks to root for the Netherlands in the upcoming World Cup quarterfinal match against Costa Rica on Saturday.

I see you addressed it to the “American soccer fan.” Since most everyone who lives in the Western Hemisphere is American, I felt invited to respond from our humble, tiny country of Costa Rica in Central America.

You might have heard of us and our national football team, known as La Sele. We were expected to  be quickly eliminated in the first round. After all, we were placed in the Group of Champions, and faced former World Cup winners Uruguay, Italy and England. We beat the first two and held the Brits scoreless, before sending them back home. In fact, Costa Rica hasn’t lost a 2014 World Cup match yet, and we are the only CONCACAF team left in the tournament.

We take issue with your assertion that “there is no one for whom to cheer.” In reality, U.S. fans – half of our readers – have been supporting La Sele since we beat up on Uruguay, 3-1. Many thought it was a fluke, but they cheered us on, nonetheless. Then we beat Italy, and this tiny country exploded. Even more so when we beat Greece. We are the embodiment of the underdog spirit – and U.S. sports fans love an underdog. The Ticos play with national pride, dedication, sportsmanship and honor. And we don’t have an army. La Sele is the country’s army, and the team is marching through Brazil.

You point out that your flag has the same colors as the U.S. flag. So does Costa Rica’s flag. The uniforms also are the same color, which makes sense (having the same colored uniforms as the national flag).

We also have dozens of pristine beaches, beautiful sunsets, lush rain forest, breathtaking cloud forest, endangered quetzals, jaguars, dolphins, whales and nesting sea turtles. Hundreds of thousands of them. And we have one of the best goalkeepers in the world, Keylor Navas. Yet another reason Tim Howard fans should root for us, not you.

And we have Sloth Kong.

Illustration by Haime Luna/The Tico Times

Please don’t misinterpret this letter as spiteful – we love the Dutch. One of our staffers is practically married to a Dutch woman. My ancestors were Dutch. My mom still has wooden shoes and tulips in her garden.

But this is the World Cup. And it’s Costa Rica’s time to make history.

Best of luck!

David Boddiger
Editor in chief, The Tico Times



Contact David Boddiger at dboddiger@ticotimes.net54

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Carl Hancock

Just so other readers here are aware… the writer of that Marketwatch column, Almar Latour, is a Dutchman. So it’s no surprise he’s trying to drum up support for the Dutch as they take on Costa Rica. But good luck with that. Everyone I know from the United States, that isn’t Dutch, is rooting for Costa Rica. How could they not?

As for the commenter that stated there are a lot of people in the United States that don’t like Costa Rica, where are you getting that crap from? Everyone that I come into contact with that finds out that I spend time in Costa Rica have nothing but positive things to say that they’ve either experienced themselves or heard from others. So I don’t know where you are getting your information but it most definitely isn’t grounded in reality. Don’t base your opinions on what is most likely an extremely small sample size.

Vamos la Sele!!!

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Isaac Campos

Haime Luna where is Sloth Kong VS Netherlands?

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Tonia Dwyer

American here and rooting for Costa Rica since the beginning. Sloth King!!! No one is listening to that Wall Street Journal person. America loves the Costa Rica team!

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Justin Cascante

“we don’t have an army. La Sele is the country’s army, and the team is marching through Brazil”. I completely agree with you, our national team is making history in this World Cup. This is the moment to shut up all those people who have said bad things about our country. A few weeks ago people from Uruguay were laughing and calling us “Costa Pobre”, they didn’t expect it, maybe they thought “Don’t worry, it’s going to be easy” ¿what do they think in this moment? ¿who is in the World Cup quarterfinal? ¿who is at home watching the games on TV? Interesting, isn’t it?
However, I’m not trying to broast about it, that’s not my intention. I just want to say that I’m very proud of being Costa Rican and I hope my team keep making history in Brazil.

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Kathleen Noah

Tried leaving a comment on the WSJ article, but they must be verrrry busy, as their site is unable to accommodate my request!

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Dennis Rojas


Pura Vida!

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Rachel Zabari

He is just bitter, I hope everyone gets behind los ticos :-) as the celebrations show just how much it means to this country!

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Don Kernan

I am one of many Americans who will routing for the Costa Rica team…not just because of my love of the underdog….but because of my love of Costa Rica and its people…Vamos Ticos

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Jorge A. Asch

Great letter, thanks for routing for Costa Rica.

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Yeah, sorry – we still remember Costa Rica whining about having to play the US team in the snow, and then whining that the game ended before they wanted it to.

Guess you’ve got plenty of time to cry now, don’t ya Costa Rica?

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Carlos Sosa

Felicitaciones hermanos TICOS.

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Fernando Edwards Carcamo

Sadly many TT readers (commenters) don’t understand the meaning of satire and can’t recognize it when they read it, assuming they read instead of commenting only.

There is a reason Mr. Latour works/writes for The Journal: his piece was funny and witty. Mr. Boddiger’s rebuttal sailed wide right unfortunately wasting a precious opportunity at comedy gold. Instead of being funny, as it should have been, it came across as an awkward mixture of sanctimony and indignation. I am certain it wasn’t Mr. Boddiger’s intent for this rebuttal.

You know you’re not funny when the Wall Street Journal beats you to the comedy punch (line)

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Rosemary Calhoun

Excellent rebuttal! Really looking forward to the game tomorrow. Vamos Los Ticos!

And yes, where is our Sloth Kong graphic! I can’t wait to see it. :)

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Gypsy Luck M

Lordy Lordy…watch out now THIS IS TICOMANIA and we are not done yet. WOOOHOOOOO COSTA RICA!!! let’s go TICOS!!! ♥ Pura Vida.

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Susan Fletcher

Good letter.

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Ingrid Miller

Well said, ignoring Costa Rica at this point it’s just impossible, Almar Latour is just nervous because Netherlands players are in such doping scandal that might cost them the game against La Sele, that is not to be ignored, as usual FIFA is not doing or saying much about it because Europe is all they care for.

Almar, just sees SCANDAL all over his team’s name whether is for all the doped up players or for losing against little, tiny Costa Rica.

He can ask the entire world to ignore Costa Rica, if he wants, FIFA can keep them in the world cup despite the doping scandal, but remember “La Muerte” is coming!.

Great letter David thank you so much…VAMOS SELE!!!

Here is the link related to the doping scandal:

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Matt Levin

The National Report is a satirical website. Though obviously not a very funny one.

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Carlos Araya

True arguments!

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Don Blake

Nice reply!….spoilt only by mentioning about having no army… is boring, overmentioned, and in all honesty the country can’t afford it anyway….Also it happened over 60 years ago…..let’s move on…..and thank God the US does have an army, otherwise we would all be in deep shit!……Let’s forget politics and fighting…..and instead enjoy and support the great game of football, and more to the point lets support ‘La Sele’ and wish them all the best of luck on Saturday!…….Vamos Ticos!!!

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David Boddiger

Don, I was jokingly responding to Almar’s mention of Dutch national hero Jan van Speijk, a naval officer who walked this Earth two centuries ago. Thanks for the comment.

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Don Blake

Whatever David…..let’s just celebrate a great football tournament in Brazil….and shout loudly for ‘La Sele’ on Saturday……Vamos Ticos!

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Tony Fowler

As a US citizen I have been disgusted with the treatment they have shown Los Ticos. Play in the snow in Denver, Rob their hotel in Baltimore and then complain about the tough road through the world cup bracket. They are not ordained by God but should be proud for the small nation of Costa Rica for their ability to make it this far.

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Pensadores Cristianos

Every body was against David even when he was the onlyone ready to stand up and faith Goliat.

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Gabrielle Hickey

I have tears in my eyes!! from pride about Costa Rica. You have no idea how many people don’t like Costa Rica here in the U.S.A ( because in a way my beautiful, tiny little country is making a better representation of CONCACAF, than giant U.S.A; and Mexicans too are rooting against us, ever since we beat them at the Azteca). It’s been going on here for a few years now, latest proof, the site of Colorado picked for the snowed in game, they knew what they were doing!. And as I said in many forums here,”karma is a B***H”. Great article, great response, let us know if he answers. Thank you so very much. Pura Vida!

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The Facts that we are see the truth about how many US citizen feel about Costa Rican does not surprise me. I personal see US citzens everyday not happy with there own Country so they pick on other places that have diffrent points of view or diffrent ways to thinking. I am Costa Rican and proud to be Costa Rican. Why do US citizens want to change Costa Rica because they want it to be like the USA . Go Costa Rica soccer team you beat the best and you have nothing to prove to any stupied US citizens.

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David Boddiger

Ben, he’s Dutch.

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Andy Snyder


There are foolish people in every country but as an American, we value FREEDOM of speech so if the Dutchman who write for the WSJ wants to support the country of his ancestors, let him. Now, my background is German Dutch but I definitely don’t want the Dutch to win. I have been behind Costa Rica even more so than the American team. La Sele is awesome in World Cup action and Keylor Navas played one of the greatest games I have ever seen against the Greeks. As for the Mexicans being AGAINST Costa Rica, what the heck is that all about? They should be rooted their brothers to the South on to victory. Whatever happens and we don’t always agree on a lot, Ben, I agree that you should be proud to be a Tico and along with me, root on La Sele to victory against the Dutch. Viva Costa Rica y Pura Vida para La Sele!!

P.S. You have another American fan rooting for La Sele in my Mom, who is retired in Costa Rica.

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Don Kernan

Not all Americans want to change Costa Rica…onky the foolish ones….many love your country and its people and what they are doing…

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