Spyin' Kop: Deportivo Saprissa (World Club Cup)

Posted by 7777 on December 13, 2005, 07:46:26 PM

World Club Championship Semi Final - Liverpool v Deportivo Saprissa

Browsing some of the forums over the last couple of days you would think we were playing Sao Paulo on Thursday. Thankfully reading the players and Rafa's comments that they don't seem as complacent:

Sami: "It's an exciting adventure and it will be a great achievement if we manage to win it. To come back with the cup would mean so much and our names will be in the history books forever."

Stevie: "When I look back on my career I want to look at my medals and it would be great to say I have got the lot, you never know what is going to happen and, as players, we might only get one crack at this tournament so we have to make the most of it. To have a winners' medal for being the best club side in the world would be something special. That's why we aren't treating it as a holiday. We are serious and want to win"

Carra: "Liverpool have never won the Club World Championship and it would give us real kudos if we could add the world crown to our European title. Winning the tournament would help our standing in world football. It would be historic to see the words: Liverpool, Champions of the World"

Luis: "Our confidence is really high and we are in Japan to win it. I want to win a lot more trophies with Liverpool and we will be trying our best and working as hard as we have been doing."

We have played twice before in this competition when it was previously known as The Toyota Cup. In both 1981 and 1984 we lost to Flamengo and Independiente respectively. Recent articles I have read from ex-players suggest we never really knew what to expect from the competition and possibly never took it too seriously. I can't imagine the meticulous Rafa Benitez would allow that to happen.

We go into the game on the back of a record breaking run, we have equalled the club record of 10 consecutive clean sheets and look formidable in all areas of the pitch. Every player is peforming at their optimum level, we are ultra tight at the back, scoring goals and more importantly grinding out wins from games that we would have drawn last year. Things are looking good again. Breaking our clean sheets record will mean a place in the Final and possible bragging rights of 'Champions of the World'

My curiosity got the better of me over the last couple of days, and I expect many of you will be feeling the same, as we go into Thursdays game with very little or no knowledge of our opponents, so I hopped across the big pond that is the World Wide Web to see what was what:

                                                   Deportivo Saprissa v Liverpool
                                                         Thursday, 15 December 2005
                                                            KO 10:20am GMT

Club information

Taken from the club's official website www.saprissa.co.cr

Deportivo Saprissa is a reputable institution in the Costa Rican football. It was constituted 67 years ago and has been in the First Division for 53 years.

It was founded on July 16th, 1935 as Saprissa F.C., and joined the First Division on August 21st, 1949.

The Club was born in a humble shoe store that belonged to Fausto Leiva, where Roberto “Beto” Fernandez worked. He founded the team in a neighborhood called "La Concretera" in Barrio Los Angeles in San Jose.

The members of this team held a meeting to decide the battle name for it. Several proposals were analyzed until Saprissa F.C. came up. It was accepted when “Beto” explained that Ricardo Saprissa, the beneficent guide of the Club, could get the uniforms. With Mr. Ricardo´s approval, the team appeared on the firmament of the national football on July 16th,1935

Club Nickname: The Purple Monsters

Although I automatically assumed the reference to purple monster was due to this:

"The history of our mascot, the Purple Monster, dates from 1987. It was by then, that the newspaper 'Diario Extra' from Costa Rica, mentioned, for the first time, the word 'monster', relating it to the Deportivo Saprissa, during a classical match between the Deportivo Saprissa and the Liga Deportiva Alajuelense.

'The Ricardo Saprissa Aymá stadium was crowded with fans and this means of communication announced that, due to the movements of the people on the terraces: 'this stadium looked like a purple monster' (referring to the fans of Saprissa)."

10 things about Deportivo Saprissa you may not know

1.) The club's nickname is the 'Purple Monster,' after the vibrant and distinctive colour of the team's kit.  For most home games, the Ricardo Saprissa Stadium - with a capacity of over 21,000 and widely considered one of the most intimidating venues in North, Central America and the Caribbean - is awash of purple. 
2.) Deportivo Saprissa and its Ricardo Saprissa Stadium, built in 1972, are both named after the club's original founder and a central figure in the early development of football in Costa Rica.  Ricardo Saprissa Ayma, an accomplished tennis, football and baseball player in his early days, is often referred to as the 'Apostel del Deporte' or 'apostle of sport' in Costa Rica. And the ground that honours his name is one of only 13 stadiums in CONCACAF to boast a 'FIFA Recommended' artificial playing surface.

3.) Located in the country's capital of San Jose, Saprissa Stadium also plays host to most of Costa Rica's big matches. The Ticos have an impressive record at the good-luck ground, never having lost to the U.S.  Their recent loss to Mexico in their first final-round Germany 2006 was the first to El Tri on home soil since 61 years, and a large reason why former coach Jorge Luis Pinto was sacked.

4.) Deportivo Saprissa have won the CONCACAF Champions Cup on two occasions (1993 and 1995). Defending champions and rivals LD Alajuelense have also won two.

5.) Current Saprissa head coach Hernan Medford played alongside current Costa Rica coach Alexander Guimaraes during the country's first FIFA World Cup appearance in Italy in 1990. At the time, the two both played for Saprissa.  Medford is considered a legend in Tico football as he scored the goal that handed Mexico their only-ever FIFA World Cup qualifying defeat at the Azteca Stadium in 2001.

6.) Deportivo Saprissa is owned by Mexican businessman Jorge Vergara. Along with legendary Mexican club Chivas Guadalajara and Chivas USA of Major League Soccer, Vergara owns a club in each of the 'big three' CONCACAF nations.

7.) Saprissa, Herediano and Alajuelense are considered to be Costa Rica's flagship club teams. Saprissa, like Chivas Guadalajara does in Mexico, have a policy of only employing native-born or naturalised Costa Rican players.

8.) Deportivo Saprissa were losing finalists in the 2004 instalment of the CONCACAF Champions Cup.  In a historic all-Costa Rican final they lost out to local rivals Alajuelense.

9.) The club has won 23 domestic titles, making them one of the most successful football clubs in the country.

10.) Though not officially founded until 1947, the idea of a team that would unite all of San Jose and its suburbs was born in the mind of Ricardo Saprissa some ten years before their official league debut.

The road to The World Clup Chamionships

Saprissa qualified for the 2005 Club World Championship by defeating Pumas UNAM of Mexico 3-2 on aggregate in the CONCACAF equivalent of the Champions League, winning 2-0 at home and losing 2-1 away.

They are based in the Costa Rican city of San Jose and are the country's most successful club. In winning the CONCACAF Champions League they have managed to break a Mexican stranglehold on club football in this area of the world.

Here are some responses I got from Saprissa fans at their official forum and over at http://www.laultramorada.net

What do you think of the World Club Championships and do you value it?
HarkHangel: Its just that, the World Club Championships. Which world championship dont have value?
juan manuel barboza Important for us , because we represent our country. I think is a good idea the wcc because there we'll see the most important teams of the world
Crox Well its the Wolrd club Championship its supposed to tell what team is the ebst in the world
Mad Max It's a big event. In Costa Rica we are treating it very seriously. Obviously it will take some time for the entire soccer community to pay attention, but it's the beginning of something that is prone to last. Some people wonder whether it will survive this time. It certainly will since it has full FIFA support and it has substantial financial sponsorship from Toyota, who won't be giving up on this one any time soon.
MSR I think the organization of this tournament speaks for itself. Nobody can deny the fact that FIFA has put his effort in bringing the best in this WCC.
Publicado the bigest competition of the World, if you are a winner you want the first Place.
RobocoP I think its a fairest competition than the old intercontinental cup, and as a world championship it supose to be the greatest competion on the world, for saprissa it means an oportunity for world recognition, glory and also it have good monetary incentives
Gabo I think that the WCC is a good idea from the fifa, but it could be a bigger event.I value it, but is a shame that teams like Barcelona, Juventus and Chelsea don' t participate.

What can you tell us about your progession to the competition and Deportivo Saprissa?
Crox errrrrrrrrr i dont get the question  ;D
Mad Max Getting to the World Cup of Clubs was not easy and we had to defeat solid MLS (US) squads as well as very powerful Mexican squads, specifically Monterrey and Pumas. Since 1990 Costa Rican soccer has seen a steady increase, both at club and national level. Last time around, Liga Deportiva Alajuelense (our arch-rival) actually won the tournament (equivalent to your Champions league) that leads to the World Cup of Clubs. That year the event was not held. Saprissa won the year after that and right now we are about to play Liverpool in semi-finals. This is evidence that while the Mexican league might be more competitive than the Costa Rican league, the top-two Costa Rican squads continue to beat their Mexican counterparts.
MSR Saprissa will play better against L'pool. Against Sydney FC Saprissa didn't give their best. We must keep growing as a squad that makes proud our football and shows it to the world.
Publicado We won a game but we want more, we are living a dream and the team will fight until the End.
RobocoP The victory against sydney and the possibility to play whit a big tema as liverpool is something to be proud for us. But saprissa is in Japan to win the cup.
Gabo I think that if we beat Liverpool we'll win the cup, and even if we don't we'll feel like we did.

What do you know about Liverpool Football Club?
HarkHangel: We know everything, we got internet and television over here...
juan manuel barboza I can see you on television , and i think that you are a good team , but not imposible for us
Crox as some1 overthere we know EVERYTHING
Mad Max Plenty; our view of soccer is very international and we try to learn as much as possible from other areas. Soccer has become much more international than people in certain areas want to believe. The reason is globalization of the sport and the increasing number of international players in the different leagues around the worlds. In Saprissa we have many players with international experience, but no international payers.
MSR We know what L'pool can and can't do. As a country who loves football every week we follow the League and UCL games. I think The Reds are one of the best teams around the globe
Publicado The King of Europe, the winner of the Champions League
RobocoP It is one of the greatest teams in europe and the winner of the champions ligue
Gabo I can say three words for Liverpool= Defeated by Saprissa

Which player do you most fear from our side?
HarkHangel: Fear, nobody. Respect, to all.
juan manuel barboza we know that you have good players like lampard, gerard , morientes, cisse, but like my mate , not fear but respect
Crox We dont have fear of your team we have respect for them
Mad Max It's a great team and I have great respect for your coach Benitez. He is a winner. Liverpool's winning spirit was demonstrated in the Champions league final and you have to respect an entire team that achieves that, not individuals. Benitez has made very clear the importance of the tournament for his team. Liverpool has had 3 chances (correct me if I'm wrong) to win the Intercontinental Cup (now World Cup of Clubs) but hasn't finished the job yet.
MSR If you mean which player do we respect more I think he has to be Steven Gerrard. What a player!
Publicado Nobody, we respect all the players of liverpool, but Steven Gerrard is a Huge Star and all the world knows who is he.
RobocoP Steven Gerrard or cisse are good players, but we don´t fear anyone
Gabo Cissé , Dudek

Besides Saprissa do you have a favourite 'other' team?
HarkHangel: Saprissa its our passion... after that, o like Arsenal and Real Madrid...
juan manuel barboza saprissa is the one for me, and also i like juventus
Crox Saprissa is the reason we are all together, and some of us like european/italian/spanish teams, but our passion is Saprissa
Mad Max In this forum you will find a mix. Everybody has their favorite English, Italian, and Spanish team. When in doubt, we all support teams where Costa Rican players might be playing. There is an amazing squad called Sapri in the calcio in one of the lower leagues that we highly admire. It's all in the name.
MSR Sure! Real Madrid and AC Milan
Publicado Our Body, mind, heart and soul belongs to Saprissa, another favorite team is ( River Plate - Argentina )
RobocoP there are teams as Racing club in argentina or Barcelona in spain. But a team that awake the same feelings as saprissa doesn't exist for me

Who is your favourite player in your team and the world?
Crox IN Saprissa its Jose Francisco Porras (Golie)
In the world Ronaldinho
Mad Max People bleed purple around here. Saprissa is what we are all about and the happiness that our team brings to us in unsurpassable. It's a team we got, led by our childhood hero Hernan Medford, a former Saprissa player, extremely successful, proving to be equally successful as coach.
MSR Gerrard from L'pool and Zizou.
Publicado In my team is the ( Goalkeeper - Porras ), in the World ( Paolo Maldini - AC-Milan, Italy )
RobocoP Walter centeno in saprissa and ronaldinho from brazil
Gabo My favorite player is Porras (q criollo)

We have a big Spanish contingency at Anfield, are there any Costa Ricans we should be watching out for?
Mad Max I will honestly let you see that for yourself during the game. You will see us again in the World Cup opening game. By then, however, most good players being hired internationally will have a contract or be very far in their negotiations.
MSR May be Bolaños can sit down Luis García for a while
Publicado yes the midlefield "Pate" and the Goalkeeper "Porras"

Finally, we look forward to Thursday, would you care to predict the score?
HarkHangel: Saprissa2- Reds1 ( two goals by Gerold Drummond...)
juan manuel barboza saprissa 1- li'pool 0 ( iam agree with the other guy , drummond will score
Crox 0-0 and we win by penalties
Mad Max I think we have nothing much to lose and that will allow us to play at ease and put in play our best skills. I truly believe the betting odds show a disproportionate unevenness. Saprissa tends to rise to the occasion and paying against Liverpool you will see some solid soccer. Rest assured, we will go there to win, not to speculate on tying. Now, word of caution, if for some reason we make it to penalties, our record in such series is amazing, almost unbelievable. Game ends 2-2 and Saprissa wins in overtime.
Publicado Saprissa "The purple monster" 1 - Liverpool 0.
RobocoP 1-1 Saprissa won in penalties
Gabo 1-0 for Saprissa

Thanks to the lads at Saprissa and El Foro De La Ultra, great answers and even better English. Its fair to say as well that they don't 'fear' anyone, but respect them. Let's hope they are all wrong with the result.

Wooltonian also took time out to speak to Salaza Mario about his team ahead of the game:

What Qualification means to their fans

How to tell it? How to describe it? It was sensational. The manliness of the team, the joint play and a great amount of characteristics helped the purple team (on their merits) put a visa on their passport to travel to the Teams World Championship to be held in Japan next December. The team lead by the strategist Hernán Medford, indisputably beat Hugo Sanchez´ boys, who had underestimated the team. Saprissa played with the despair of the pressured Pumas, and it was even worse when Ronald Gómez, after a great play by Afonso Solís, shot a goal, putting the purple team 1-0 ahead, which silenced the beautiful UNAM´s stadium.

Pumas showed little. The second half was more longing than football. However, the purple team (with real class and manliness) was not intimidated in spite of the two goals scored by Beltrán and Leandro by the end of the match. The so longed end came and, indeed, Costa Rica, Saprissa is the lord and master of the CONCACAF and we will see it in December, as a representative of the area as one of the best 6 in the world. Happiness, pride and party in Mexico and in Costa Rica. Go purple team. Let’s celebrate. Great is Saprissa and great are its fans and this Championship is for all of you.

Have you ever heard of the illustrious History of Liverpool Football Club ?
SM : We are all football fans and  we know about history the problem with it is that history is just that, history. We know Liverpool is a great team but Saprissa is also a great team.

We know nothing about Costa Rican football in the UK
How did your domestic season go last year and are things shaping up for you well so far for next season

SM : Last season we won the right to be at WCC in Japan that makes us proud , but we didn’t win the national championship, this season we are on top (best team overall) and look solid to accomplish it this year. Also we qualified to the last stage of the 2006 CONCACAF Champions Cup and may be next year we’ll be back in Japan.

What are your expectations for the World Club Championship ?
SM : We never expect other thing that winning it’s gonna be hard but is doable. We have high expectations about our team.

Who do you think is your most important player(s)?
SM: As you may know we don’t have foreign players, our team is 100% costarican. We provide to our national team around 10 players, 6 of them usually take part of the starting line-up. Our goalie Francisco Porras, Jervis Drummond, Cristian Bolaños, Walter Centeno, Alonso Solís, Ronald Gomez and Alvaro Saborío all of them wear the national team jersey too!

Who is the most famous footballer in your clubs history ?
SM : Álvaro Murillo, and most recent Medford our manager right now.

We are always on the look out for future talent, are there any young up and coming players in the squad that we might not know about?
SM : Bolaños, Saborío, Badilla, López, to name a few are young stars in our nation but we have some good players that didn’t make the trip to Japan. Celso Borges, Alexandre Borges Guimaraes (our national team coach) son looks to be the next Centeno; Roberto Carrillo, Luis Cordero, César Elizondo… they all played in Perú 2005. In total, 8 players were in that U-17 World Cup. We also have players in the Olympic team (U-21).

What sort of line-up will put out against us?
SM : We always go for the game and specially on a Cup like this, but we think you will do the same and Medford has this thinking dying with the boots on if you know what I mean. I think will play with the same formation we used against Sydney FC

Do you have a favourite club song and perhaps any that require an explanation?
SM : We have quite a few and is a shame we didn’t travel to Japan for you to hear them. Our songs are like the argentinian songs.

Where do you expect Liverpool to finish in this tournament?
SM : You are the ones there be supposed to win the cup, we just wan’t to disappoint you hehehehe.

Which Liverpool player will you fear the most?
SM : We don’t fear someone that we know, we respect Gerrard he’s a very good player. I think he’s the best in his position in the whole world.

Our club and team has a real 'Latin flavour' including many World class players such as Morientes, Garcia Reina and Alonso. Senor 'Rafa' Benitez our manager is also highly respected throughout Europe and the World, does our reputation frighten you at all ?
SM : Why you talk about fear and that kind of stuff? Hahaha We respect you as a team, but we don’t fear nobody. It's gonna be great to have the chance to beat a great team… "twice the pride , double the fall"

Care to predict the score? Go on!
SM : Will be a tight score, Saprissa wins 2-1.

Thanks to all the fans of the Purple Monsters who helped us out with this feature. Let's hope this will be the first of many times we get to meet at the World Club Cup.

© 7777days/Wooltonian 2005

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