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Pinto: I owe it to Rinus

Rio de Janeiro: At this point in the World Cup, the Dutch know plenty about Costa Rica, once one of the surprise packages of the tournament.

What they may not have heard is that Costa Rica’s Jorge Luis Pinto learned his coaching from the Dutchman who invented ‘total football’.

Pinto studied at the University of Cologne early in the 1980s when Dutch coach Rinus Michels was coaching the city’s Bundesliga club.

“In those years I spent my time watching him training and talking to him. I saw many things and learned much. I owe a lot to him,” he said.

It is not only Pinto who knows the Dutch game well. Bryan Ruiz had a successful spell with FC Twente before joining Fulham and now plays at PSV Eindhoven alongside likely Netherlands starter Georginio Wijnaldum and super-sub Memphis Depay.

Ruiz said he has shared what he knows about the Dutch players with his coach.

“Pinto asked me about it and I provided a bit of analysis of the ones I know. I haven’t had any contact with Memphis or Georginio,” he said.

According to Pinto, Robben is at the height of his game and would be a nightmare for any team. “He’s a model winger for anyone who wants to learn how to play soccer,” Pinto said at Costa Rica’s training camp. “He’s at the peak of his career, he’s a nightmare for any team.”

“The Netherlands will be a great test to see if we really do have the best defence at the Cup,” Pinto said. (Agencies)