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World Cup A-Z: W is for Wanchope

FORWARD MARCH: Paulo Wanchope figured in two World Cup finals for Costa Rica

FORWARD MARCH: Paulo Wanchope figured in two World Cup finals for Costa Rica

We continue our A-Z of the World Cup by focusing on a Central American striker still fondly remembered at City...

W is for Wanchope

Revered as an icon of Costa Rican football, striker Paulo Wanchope's exploits during a four-year spell at Manchester City also left a lasting impression.

Having already gained extensive experience of the Premier League with first Derby County and then West Ham, Paulo made the move to join City in 2000 for a fee of £3.6m and he made an instant impact at the club, scoring a memorable hat-trick in a 4-2 win against Sunderland.

Though subsequently hampered by injury during his four years with City, Wanchope still made his mark, most notably in the 2003/4 campaign when a number of vital goals – particularly the winner in a 1-0 victory against Newcastle – helped stave off the threat of relegation.

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In total, Paulo scored 27 goals from 64 appearances in his time at the Club – and he maintained that impressive strike rate on the international stage with Costa Rica for whom he shone at two consecutive World Cup finals.

In 2002, in the midst of his spell at City, Paulo and his colleagues from Central America took part in the South Korea/Japan showpiece where they were paired in a group alongside eventual winners Brazil, Turkey and China.

Wanchope and Co got off to a fine start by recording a 2-0 win over China before they then drew 1-1 with Turkey.

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The final group game pitted Costa Rica against Brazil where Wanchope opened his World Cup account but Paulo’s goal couldn’t prevent them going down to a 5-2 defeat.

That left Costa Rica level on points with Turkey but they agonisingly missed out on a place in the knockout stages due to an inferior goal difference.

Fast forward four years, by which time Paulo had moved on from City via spells with Malaga, Qatari side Al-Gharafa and Herediano back in his native homeland, Costa Rica were back on the ultimate stage at the 2006 World Cup finals in Germany.

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Faced with hosts Germany in the tournament’s opening game, Wanchope impressed the global audience by claiming a superb brace of goals but he despite his efforts, Costa Rica went down to a 4-2 defeat.

Subsequent defeats to Ecuador (0-3) and Poland (1-2) were to condemn Costa Rica to another early World Cup exit, but Wanchope’s place in Costa Rican folklore was already assured.


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