Costa Rica a familiar foe for Socceroo

Ron Lord will be reminiscing all the way back to late 1950s when the Socceroos take on Costa Rica in November.

When the Socceroos run out to take on Costa Rica next month there will be a few football fans that will be reminiscing all the way back to late 1950's.

While the two nation's national teams have never met, Costa Rican club Deportivo Saprissa took on a NSW Federation XI in a three match series in Sydney in 1959.

The club was finishing a world tour and ventured down under to take on some of Australia-s best footballers having been told by their previous opponents in Indonesia that they should not be worried about getting the victories.

However the NSW Federation XI shocked the Costa Ricans as well as themselves as they claimed three straight dominant wins in the space of a week.

The first two matches were played at the Sydney Sports Ground (now where Allianz Stadium resides) with the NSW side earning 4-2 and 7-1 victories.

Hoping to bounce back in a change of scenery at Newcastle Sports Ground, the Costa Ricans succumbed to defeat as they again went down 4-2.

One of those to represent the NSW side was goalkeeper Ron Lord who has fond memories of taking on the tourists over half a century ago.

“I have great memories from the games that we played against them,” said the Socceroo.

“They were a classy side with some great skills on the ball but we definitely gave them a shock.”

The opportunities to play a team from overseas were few and far between for Australians and Lord and his teammates grabbed it with both hands.

“Matches against teams like Deportivo Saprissa were rare occurrences due to the amount of travel that it would take on a ship to get to other countries.

“As a team we ensured that we were more prepared than ever to take them on.”

That preparation included a historic moment in Australian football.

“We had the first ever camp for a side as we went away to Camden for a week to prepare.

“Centre Forward Leo Baumgartner was the coach and it was the first time we had come together for training exercises and to work together as a team.

“This was massively different to what we had done before. I remember in 1955 meeting some players from the team for the first time at the ground, having no coach and the manager-s pre-match talk was ‘do your best.-” Reflecting on his career which included numerous appearances for his national side including at the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne, Lord believes the NSW Federation XI were up there with the best he had played with.

“We had some great players in that team and it showed with how we played and the results that we achieved.

“To have won by those margins in the space of a week highlighted that this was one of the best teams I played within.

Lord will be making the trip to Allianz stadium on November 19 where he will be hoping that the Socceroos can achieve the same success that his side 54 years ago did.

Upcoming Socceroos Match Details

Socceroos v Costa Rica Tuesday 19 November 2013 Allianz Stadium, Sydney, Australia Kick-off: 7.30pm AEDT

The match between the Socceroos and Costa Rica will be broadcast live and exclusive on FOX SPORTS.


Discounted tickets are on sale to Football Family members until 11pm Thursday, October 31. For full ticketing information, click here

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