Whitby’s Costa Rican tips country for World Cup surprise

Randall Romero, of Romerojo's Costa Rican restaurant,  Costa Rica have drawn England in World Cup finals''w135009
Randall Romero, of Romerojo's Costa Rican restaurant, Costa Rica have drawn England in World Cup finals''w135009

Whitby’s Costa Rican businessman is hoping for better footballing fortunes when his nation take on England in the World Cup 2014 Group of Death.

Randall Romero, who has RomeroJo’s restaurant on Golden Lion Bank, missed out on a visit from a Premier League footballer when Everton striker Bryan Oviedo, also a Costa Rican, paid a visit to Whitby earlier this year.

Oviedo had heard that RomeroJo’s was the only Costa Rican restaurant in the UK and decided to pay a visit, but turned up on a Monday, the day it is shut.

The next morning, Oviedo texted Randall to say he was disappointed the restaurant was shut and had gone for Whitby fish and chips instead.

Now, Randall is hoping he can savour a more enjoyable experience of football when Costa Rica – known as the Ticos – go to Brazil for their fourth World Cup finals next summer.

On Friday, England legend Sir Geoff Hurst drew England’s name out of the hat in Group D to play Costa Rica, Uruguay and Italy.

Football Association chairman Greg Dyke was caught on camera making a throat-cutting gesture as if to write off England’s chances, which led to widespread condemnation from the media.

But Randall thinks England will qualify from the group, along with Italy, believing his own nation will finish third, but could yet sneak into the knockout stages if they perform well.

One of the determining factors could well be the sweltering tropical heat.

“European countries could be in trouble because down there, the temperature is generally a ridiculous 35 to 40 degrees Celsius and the humidity is really bad,” said Randall.

“Even for us [Costa Ricans] it is sometimes too much.

“If you are by the coast, you can take a shower and sweat straight away, like being in a steam room.”

Although the Central Americans are being tipped as the outsiders in the group, Randall says there is no reason why they cannot spring a surprise as they have played Italy five times and beaten them twice.

“Costa Rica can get through the group – although I think Italy and England will be first and second and Costa Rica will come third, ahead of Uruguay.”

England and Costa Rica meet in the final round of group games on Tuesday June 24 in Belo Horizonte, 5pm kick-off GMT – and RomeroJo’s will have a widescreen TV put up so people can go into the restaurant and watch the game live.