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Sampson fired


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Former U.S. coach out in Costa Rica

June 22, 2004

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica (AP) -- Former U.S. national soccer coach Steve Sampson was fired as Costa Rica's coach after his team struggled past a traditionally weak Cuban team in World Cup qualifying.

The Costa Rican soccer federation announced Sampson's ouster Monday, saying ``a friendly end to the contract was reached.'' A replacement was to be announced Wednesday.

Costa Rica tied Cuba 2-2 on the road and 1-1 at home, advancing on a technicality to the next round of qualifying for the 2006 World Cup in Germany.


``We thank Mr. Sampson for his services, for his dedication to work and his commitment to Costa Rica,'' the federation said. ``Unfortunately, soccer deals with results, which have not been favorable.''

Federation president Jose Luis Rodriguez told local radio that possible successors include Jose Luis Pinto of Colombia and Brazilian-born Costa Rican Alexandre Guimaraes.

Sampson replaced Guimaraes in November 2002 when he signed a $1.4 million, four-year contract to coach through qualifying for the 2006 World Cup.

Costa Rica has been optimistic about qualifying for Germany after it was eliminated in the first round of the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea. The Costa Rican youth team qualified for the 2004 Olympics over the United States.

Sampson, who had coached at Santa Clara, replaced Bora Milutinovic as the U.S. coach in 1995 and resigned after the 1998 World Cup, where the Americans went 0-3 and finished last. His record with the U.S. team was 26-22-14. Milutinovic coached Costa Rica in the 1990 World Cup.

Guimaraes had quit the Costa Rican post after accusing local officials of making too many demands on him.

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That's a shame. I was hoping he would be the coach in the semi's as not only did I want to beat him personally, I felt that he would make a mess of things for Costa Rica. Unforunately he was too crap too early and got fired early on. Oh well. We'll just have to beat them without him.

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