Borges renews an old link as Costa Rica face Brazil

Borges renews an old link as Costa Rica face Brazil

Celso Borges (centre) at a training session.

Celso Borges will follow in his father's footsteps on Friday when he plays for Costa Rica against Brazil as the family's World Cup odyssey against the five-time champions continues.

Borges' father, Alexandre Guimares, grew up in Brazil until he moved to Costa Rica with his parents when he was young. He would go on to both play for and manage the 'Ticos' against Brazil at the World Cup.

Now, 28 years after his father faced Brazil as a player at Italia 90, it is Celso's turn to put aside his strong family links to the South Americans in a vital World Cup game.

"I can't deny it, there is a connection, of course -- my connection to Brazil is maybe not as strong as my father's, but some part of me still feels like it belongs there," Borges told Reuters in an interview.

"I'm 100 percent Costa Rican and I would choose Costa Rica every time, but I cannot deny this family connection. It's just a very special feeling."

The feelings of his father, who managed Costa Rica in a 2-5 loss to Brazil at the 2002 World Cup, maybe slightly more mixed when his two nations face off on Friday, however.

"Of course my father feels Costa Rican, he left Brazil when he was 12, but he has that Brazilian part that is very intense in him," Borges said.

"Whenever you play Brazil, in any circumstance, it's always something special, it's always something different.

"It's the country with the most World Cups, so it's very different, but it's still the game, it's still enjoyable and it's still fun."

Not only has the 30-year-old's international career taken him in his father's footsteps, during the last World Cup in Brazil it also took him to Recife, where his father's parents came from.

"It was crazy, because that was where we beat Italy and ended up qualifying for the quarterfinals," Borges recalls.

That 2014 side hit the headlines by defeating Uruguay and Italy and drawing with England to top their group, before beating Greece on penalties and losing a quarterfinal shoot-out to the Netherlands.

In Russia, however, Costa Rica are already on the back foot having lost to Serbia in their opening game.

"I don't think it was clear that any team deserved to win that game, but sometimes football is very complex - there's a very thin line between winning and losing," Borges said.