The national soccer team will receive a welcome today that is just short of a triumph afforded a victorious Roman general.
The team is expected to arrive from the World cup in Brazil about 12:30 p.m. at Juan Santamaría airport. There the team members will be greeted by President Luis Guillermo Solís and a group of children. Fuerza Pública officers are preparing for a large group of fans at the airport. The team will be arriving at Base Dos, the governmental section of the airport.
After the official welcome and praise for a job well done, the soccer team will go by caravan down the General Cañas autopista to Parque la Sabana and the statue of León Cortez that is at the foot of Paseo Colón. The team will be greeted by many thousands of fans there.
Solís has declared the afternoon a holiday for public workers except for emergency services. Executives of independent agencies like the Instituto Nacional de Seguros have been given the authority to make their own decisions. Most will let workers go.
The Fuerza Pública expects the team to arrive about 1:30 or 2 p.m. They were going to start their efforts to safeguard the public at 6 a.m. today. The airport will be locked down by 8 a.m., according to plans announced Monday. Traffic will be cut off or at least slowed considerably at Parque la Sabana and Paseo Colón starting at 10 a.m.
Police officials are a little nervous because there were stabbings Saturday in a crowd that had gatherered to watch the game on a giant screen at Plaza de la Democracia. Robbery was believed to be the motive for some injuries. So police are assigning 500 officers to the La Sabana gathering.
There had been suggestions that the team also travel to the Fuente de Hispanidad in San Pedro, the center of most sport celebrations, but that idea has been discarded, officials said.
Police urged participants in the rally to leave money, cell telephones and other objects of value at home.
Costa Ricans are thrilled that their national soccer team reached the quarter finals of the world cup to be recognized as one of the eight best teams in the world.