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Francisco Calvo reflects on his first World Cup

Minnesota United’s captain returned stateside earlier this week.

Costa Rica Training Session Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images

“It was a dream.”

Minnesota United’s captain Francisco Calvo won’t soon forget his first World Cup with Costa Rica. Even though los Ticos were eliminated in the group stage with just one point, Calvo will take away plenty of memories and plenty of experiences.

That said, the defender isn’t satisfied with the results that the Costa Rican's earned.

“The first game, we were playing a little bit defensively, but okay and then Kolarov scored the free kick--it was an amazing goal. We missed a couple of chances. I’m pretty sure that if we had scored before this is another kind of game,” he said of Costa Rica’s first match, a loss to Serbia that was 0-0 after 90 minutes. “And then [against] Brazil, we were playing pretty good. But against that kind of players, you can’t give them any chance because they’re going to score. I think the game changed that changed the whole World Cup for us was the Serbia game, because if we won that game I’m pretty sure I am not here today, I’m still in Russia.”

Costa Rica v Serbia: Group E - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

“I played as a left back that game [against Serbia]. Everybody knows I play center back but most of the time, I mean sometimes, in the national team, I play there and I try to do my best. It was a tough game. Always the first games in this kind of tournament are—well you can see, the games in the World Cup are being so close,” said Calvo.

All in all, Calvo thinks he did fine in Russia. “Personally, I think I had an okay World Cup. I would have liked to get more minutes, but it is how it is.”

On the homefront, many Costa Ricans are disappointed with their team’s showing. The media have pointed out some players, something that Calvo would rather not see. “It was a little bit tough,” he said. “We are a small country. After Brazil [2014, when Costa Rica made it to the quarterfinals], we do something good, everyone in the country wants to get the trophy. We need to respect the fans, because they always support us. But life is like the good moments, everybody is next to you, but the bad moments, everybody points at you. Sometimes the fans, the media, sit before the desktop and write--we have family. I’m not talking to you guys, I’m talking about my country. But they point [to] a lot of guys in the national team and then the family suffers.”

Fellow Loon and Tico Johan Venegas, who is currently on loan to Saprissa, expressed similar feelings in a Twitter statement over the weekend. Nonetheless, Costa Rica was competitive throughout the tournament and Calvo can surely look back on Russia happily in the future.