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Lightbourne urges squad to be bold

Defiant mood: Kyle Lightbourne (Photograph courtesy of Mexsport)

Kyle Lightbourne, the Bermuda coach, insists his team must dare to be bold as they look to pull off a major upset against Costa Rica at the Toyota Stadium, in Frisco, Texas, tomorrow.

After losing their opening group B game against Haiti in San José, Costa Rica, on Sunday, Bermuda are in a desperate battle to keep their quarter-final hopes alive.

A Nicaragua victory against Haiti in the earlier match, would put Bermuda in an almost must win situation against Costa Rica, a nation that has qualified for four of the past five World Cups.

Costa Rica crushed Nicaragua 4-0 at the Estadio Nacional in the second group B match on Sunday, with goals from Bryan Oviedo, Celso Borges, Elias Aguilar and Allan Cruz.

“We know it’s going to be difficult for us; we’re not hiding from that,” Lightbourne said.

“We’re going to have our difficult moments and it’s how we manage them.

“We’re not afraid to play, though. My team has been drilled well enough to do that.”

Costa Rica, ranked 39th in the Fifa world rankings, 135 places above Bermuda, have an array of experienced stars such as Joel Campbell, the former Arsenal forward, Sunderland left back Oviedo, Cristian Gamboa, the Celtic right back, and midfielder Borges, who plays for Turkish top-flight side Goztepe.

“The whole team is dangerous,” Lightbourne added. “We had someone watching their game [against Nicaragua] and we’ve done a report on them.

“We will be prepared. We’ve been training hard and we’ve put the work in.”

Danté Leverock, the Bermuda captain, has urged his team-mates to embrace the big occasion and is hoping the island can join a long list of giant-killings at major competitions.

“Anything can happen; stranger things have happened in tournament play,” said the defender, who scored his side’s goal in their 2-1 defeat by Haiti.

“We’ve made our job a little bit difficult, but we’re still focused and you never know what can happen on the day. “They’re a top team, have played at the World Cup, and have top-class players. However, we’re going to go out to play and enjoy it.”

Zeiko Lewis, the Bermuda winger, said Bermuda have refused to give up on a place in the last eight and will not be in awe of their opponents.

“We didn’t get the result we deserved against Haiti and now we have to focus on Costa Rica,” Lewis said. “They are the favourites, but that doesn’t faze us.

“We’re still in a position to make the quarter-finals and we’ll be doing everything we can to qualify [for the next round].”

Kendall Waston, the Costa Rica captain, has sent out an ominous warning to Bermuda after declaring that his side can only improve after their win over Nicaragua.

“We wanted this win for our community, especially because in the last couple of games we had not been winning,” the defender said via translator.

“We started the Gold Cup on the right foot making history with the first Gold Cup game being played here [in Costa Rica]. We continue to go step by step.”

Stephen Wright travelled to Frisco, Texas, courtesy of Jet Blue, which provided flights between San José, Costa Rica, Orlando and Austin. Flights available from www.jetblue.com