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5 Things to know about Costa Rica

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 21, 2014 at 11:37 am •  Published: June 21, 2014
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Costa Rica stunned the football world by beating former champions Italy and Uruguay in one of the toughest groups in the World Cup, becoming the first team from Group D to advance to the knockout stage.

The small Central America nation of almost 5 million people is famous for its stunning beaches, lush jungles and a laid-back way of life defined by its national motto — Pura Vida!

Five things to know about Costa Rica:

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PURA VIDA

The national motto and tourism slogan loosely translates to Live Life or Enjoy Life. It defines the lifestyle in a country that does not have an army and has been called the "Switzerland of the Americas" because of its neutrality during international conflicts. Its former president Oscar Arias won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1987.

Located between Nicaragua and Panama, millions visit Costa Rica every year for its tropical jungles, Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea beaches, and an industry based in eco-tourism.

Costa Rica is a prime surfing spot, particularly its Pacific coast beaches, and soccer is a passion for the "Ticos".

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WHAT ABOUT THAT NICKNAME?

By now, the "Ticos" nickname has been heard everywhere the World Cup is televised. But what does it mean? Costa Ricans are called "ticos" because of their unique way of saying diminutives in Spanish. For example, when saying something is small —or "chico" in Spanish— Costa Ricans would say it is "chiquitico," or very small.

Hence, Ticos.

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WHO ARE THESE TICOS?

The Costa Rica squad may not have any globally recognizable stars, although it does have players based in top European leagues.

Joel Campbell, a 21-year-old star in the making, played last season for Greek club Olympiakos, on loan from Premier league powerhouse Arsenal. Campbell broke through in the 2011 Copa America, the South America championship where Costa Rica played as a special guest. Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger signed him soon after that tournament, and since then the striker has played on loan in France, Spain and Greece.

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