WORLD CUP PREVIEW: Costa Rica

WORLD CUP PREVIEW: Costa Rica

COACH – Jorge Luis Pinto
BEST SHOWING – 2nd Round 1990
QUALIFICATION – 2nd in CONCACAF
TOURNAMENT ODDS – 4000/1 (BetVictor)
FIXTURES
June 14th – Uruguay (2000 BST, Fortaleza, ITV)
June 20th – Italy (1700 BST, Recife, BBC)
June 24th – England (1700 BST, Belo Horizonte, ITV)

 

Button Uruguay Button England Button Italy

 

In a region dominated by the USA and Mexico, Costa Rica made it their mission to make their home in San Jose a fortress. They succeeded admirably, defeating the other five nations in the CONCACAF final stage and being the only team who put three goals past the USA.

Away from home the approach was to not lose and even though they lost by a solitary goal to Honduras and the USA they drew the rest enabling them to qualify comfortably.

Written off already, Pinto has said: “The bigger the bull is, the better the bullfight gets.” They’re tricky customers to play against and will more than likely crowd the midfield in a 3-6-1 formation, with their squad split between those who play in Europe and those who play in the MLS and Costa Rica.

Levante’s Keylor Navas is the likely goalkeeper with the three centre backs Johnny Acosta, Giancarlo Gonzalez and Michael Umana in front and Junior Diaz likely to drop back and support if needed.

Their midfield is hardworking and very tough to break down as Pinto crowds the centre of the park. Celso Borges will look to create the play with Yeltsin Tejada in a more defensive role.

The Costa Ricans do have a few options in attack – Alvaro Saborio is likely to play up front but Joel Campbell and Bryan Ruiz can drop back and play as wide midfielders.

 

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ONE TO WATCH

05 WORLD CUP NAVASGoalkeeper Luis Conejo was the star of Costa Rica’s Italia 90 and Navas could well be the star here. The Levante man’s consistent performances guided his club side to a top half finish in La Liga.

Navas ended up signing for Albacete after starting his career at Deportivo Saprissa. He impressed at Albacete despite their struggles and signed for Levante in 2012, forcing his way into the side last season.

An outstanding shot stopper with cat-like reflexes, a strong tournament could see him land at a bigger club than Levante.

HERE COMES D-JUDGE
D-Judge

Like Australia in Group B, no-one is giving Costa Rica a chance of getting out of a group with Uruguay, England and Italy.

But they will give it a go and the way they set up will frustrate opponents. Given they’re the weakest side in the group they go in with no pressure on them. The others should have too much for them but if the Costa Rican gameplan succeeds they’ll annoy and frustrate supposed better teams.

Brazilian conditions will also suit the Costa Ricans and they will defend staunchly, quickly regaining their shape when not in possession.

In a tight group they could be the team that throws the spanner in the works that will prove fatal to England, Italy or Uruguay’s hopes of World Cup glory.

 

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VERDICT

It’d be a small miracle if they made the last 16 but they’ll also manage to destroy another team’s hopes on the way out.

world cup Brasil emblem 01

Paulo Danchope (D-Good)
Owls Alive
E-MAIL: admin@owlsalive.com
TWITTER: @OwlsAlive or @DGood83


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