The morning of June 20 seemed to be as normal as any other day, with youths headed to school, people in the streets on the way to their jobs – simply routine. However, behind the calm veneer, excitement was beginning to grow with each passing hour.
As if time stopped at 10 a.m., the majority of the roads in Nicoya were empty, as people gathered around television screens. Even schools and offices paused their activity.
The Sele (Costa Rica’s national soccer team) was playing their second 2014 Brazil World Cup game against another former champion, the tough Italian squad. Nervousness and nail biting eventually became jubilation for those watching the game, as Bryan Ruiz scored a goal at the 44 minute mark.
During the rest of the match, some of the players on the field changed but the score did not. The final whistle from the Chilean referee Oses, who will be remembered for not having called a clear penalty kick favoring Joel Campbell, unleashed Nicoyans’ collective euphoria.
The Costa Rican colors of blue, red and white poured forth from vehicles and adorned houses, roads and people. Throughout the Colonial City the streets were full of excitement, happiness and parties.
The plaza in Recaredo Briceño park was an important meeting point for Nicoyan fans, who arrived with trumpets and whistles, leaping with arms stretched overhead in crazy celebration of the historic victory.
Eduardo Ramirez Noguera, a resident of Nicoya, said, “It was an excellent performance by the team and everyone worked as a group and the defense was very organized.”
Similarly, Alvaro Luis Piñar Jimenez, another Nicoyan fan, said that for him, “The substitutions that professor [Jorgue Luis] Pinto made were the best. We watched at Bar Eli; today it is crazy all over Nicoya.”
For his part, Julio Cesar Jimenez Ortega said that, “Today there is a ‘full party’ at my house and a parade tonight.
The festivities even included officials of the Municipality of Nicoya, who gathered in the meeting hall at the House of Culture.
“A large part of the administration was intensely watching the whole game,” recounted Mayor Marco Jimenez, who added, “These boys have given us great joy and above all, this victory means that in Costa Rica there is plenty of human ability and that things can be achieved.”
The personnel of the municipality joined in the jubilation and cancelled work for the rest of the day at 1 p.m.
The festivities in Nicoya were a copy of what was happening in the entire country. Just 24 hours ago, Costa Rica won another game in the group stage of the World Cup and secured its place in the round of 16. History continues…