[HEXAGONAL COUNTDOWN] The process of normalizing relations between the USA and China began over ping pong. When Costa Rica cut diplomatic ties with Taiwan and finally recognized the People’s Republic of China, the Chinese rewarded the Central American nation with the gift of a new national soccer stadium. The Estadio Nacional, which was funded by the Chinese government and built by Chinese workers, seats 35,000, but it is not good enough for the Ticos, who are trying to return to the cozy Estadio Saprissa, where it has never lost to the USA in seven games, for the Sept. 6 World Cup qualifier.
"The voice of the people is the voice of God, and if people want us to play there, we will play in the Saprissa against the United States," Eduardo Li, president of the Costa Rican soccer federation, said in an interview with the radio station Radio Rican DNA.
The Estadio Saprissa is an older stadium with artificial turf in need of work, but Saprissa president Juan Carlos Rojas has promised to make the necessary arrangements to get the stadium ready, according to Li.
"I would not want to say anything else about the possibility of holding other matches there," Li said, "but if we play at the Saprissa, we have to have the right conditions and that's what I told Mr. Juan Carlos Rojas."
The Estadio Saprissa -- known as the "Monster's Lair" after local team Saprissa, which is nicknamed the Purple Monster -- seats 24,000 and fans sit right near the field, creating a heated atmosphere for international matches.
The Ticos, who are tied for second in the Hexagonal with the USA with four points in three games, won their first home game with a 2-0 win over Jamaica March 26 in the Estadio Nacional, which opened in 2011.