Sunderland defender Bryan Oviedo was dropped from Costa Rica's opening World Cup game because coach Oscar Ramirez didn't think he could compete with Serbia's aerial threat as effectively as his replacement Francisco Calvo.
Costa Rica lost their opening group game by a goal-to-nil yesterday and already face an uphill task to qualify for the knock-out rounds. A game against Brazil on Friday hardly makes that any easier.
Speaking to the media after the game, Black Cats left-back Oviedo said:
"The coach studied Serbia well, and knew they were strong in aerial balls and he needed players who were good in the air like Francisco Calvo."
Oviedo was an unused substitute in the game at the Samara Arena, the home of Russian Premier League side Krylia Sovetov. It was the first time that the Sunderland man hasn't featured on the pitch for his country in seven previous internationals.
His replacement, Calvo, plays his football for MLS side. Minnesota United.
Question marks had been raised about Oviedo's defensive attributes after he was taken off at half time in Costa Rica's final warm-up game before the World Cup in a 4-1 thrashing by Belgium.
And on the prospect of facing the Brazilians later this week, Oviedo said:
"Many people think that it is difficult to beat Brazil, but in a World Cup not everything is written. Surprises were seen in the Iceland-Argentina match or in the France-Australia match. Anything can happen
"I hope I can play against Brazil and if I do it will be in the best way".
Oviedo's future at Sunderland remains unclear with Club Brugges said to be keen on signing him after the World Cup.