SALVADOR: Costa Rica coach Jorge Luis Pinto hailed Keylor Navas as the finest goalkeeper at the 2014 World Cup after the dramatic shootout defeat by Holland in the Arena Fonte Nova.
Keylor, who plays his club football for modest Spanish club Levante, added to his string of outstanding saves to earn Los Ticos the spotkicks chance after a goalless draw in the World Cup quarter-final.
Pinto praised all his players for their efforts during the finals which they began by topping a so-called group of death featuring Uruguay, Italy and England.
But he had special words for the 27-year-old, saying: “Navas has been the best goalkeeper during this World Cup.”
Pinto was not happy, however, with the referees, believing that Costa Rica should have a penalty award when Martins Indi pushed over striker Joel Campbell early in the second half.
He said: “The refereeing was not brilliant. We had penalties not awarded against Italy, against Greece twice and again today. There have been huge mistakes which should not have happened and FIFA should study this matter.
“During the Korea-Japan World Cup in 2002 people said that some referees were not used to important matches after many mistakes there and people said changes would be mde. Many people think he referees in the big leagues have better experience.
“I respect the referees here but there were many mistakes.”
As for his own players, however, Pinto was unstinting in his praise.
He said: “We have shown we can organise ourselves properly and were never afraid to play strong powerhouses. We have presented a very positive and dignified image of Costa Rica football so we are very happy. It’s very positive for the country.
“Of course we hurt because penalties are very tough. We were well organised in defence and sometimes we were lucky as well. Holland had more chances but we had one as well and then penalties depend on luck. That’s the way it is.
“Still I think we have shown we can offer a good show and play beautiful football. We offered a high quality of football so we are happy.
We lost the ball too fast sometimes but we have played five matches and our opponents scored once from a penalty and only one more goal from open play. It’s incredible. We have done wonderful things.”