This is only the second time that Costa Rica have qualified for two World Cups in succession throughout their international history, so they’ll be pushing to punish anyone who sees them as being nothing more than underdogs. Throughout qualifying, Costa Rica were in the sometimes unpredictable CONCACAF group, finishing top of Group B through five wins and a draw from six games to reach the final round of qualification – an overall table of all the strongest North American, Central American and Caribbean countries. Costa Rica fought tooth and nail to reach their eventual second place position in the overall table, beating Panama, Honduras, USA and, Trinidad and Tobago in the places below.Current odds for betting on the eventual World Cup winner are unsurprisingly not too favourable for Costa Rica, currently pricing them with odds of 500/1 to lift that all-important trophy. Iran, Morocco and South Korea all sit level in the market with them, and only Australia, Tunisia, Panama and Saudi Arabia priced higher, and those latter two being priced at whopping odds of 2000/1. There’s clearly far worse sides in this tournament than Costa Rica but acting like they have any chance of advancing past the group stage would be wide of the mark.
Costa Rica’s World Cup Group Tips
The tide couldn’t be much more against this Costa Rica side, as they find themselves stuck in a group alongside Brazil, Switzerland and Serbia. Brazil are already priced up as second favourites to win the tournament, while Switzerland showed immense organisation during qualifying, and Serbia have more than enough top quality players to see out a worthwhile finish. Most bookmakers see Brazil as being clear favourites to finish top of Group E with odds of 2/7, followed by Switzerland, who are given odds of 11/2, and Serbia, who are currently given odds of 15/2.Considering the odds on Brazil to win the tournament and the obvious chances of a second place finish seen by both Switzerland and Serbia, it seems like the best bet to get behind is for Costa Rica to result at the bottom of Group E, missing out on the fight for qualification which is likely to be carried out about all three sides above them. With all that firmly in mind, it’s no shock to see that Costa Rica are priced as favourites to finish bottom, given odds of 5/6 with most bookmakers.
Costa Rica’s World Cup Preparations
Going unbeaten in all games played in qualifying Group B showed plenty of promise, which they lived up to when losing just two of ten games in the overall group. Mexico were decisive in the CONCACAF group, finishing five points ahead, but Costa Rica deserved their place as the runners-up. Oscar Ramirez’s men were running rampant when they first pushed into the overall group, beating Trinidad and Tobago 2-0, USA 4-0, losing their next against Mexico but going unbeaten in the six games that followed through wins over Trinidad and Tobago and USA, as well as draws with Honduras, Panama and Mexico.Despite surprisingly losing their final game in qualification against Panama, Costa Rica sealed their place in the 2018 World Cup and were clearly happy to do so. They’re open to the idea of playing some friendly matches in preparation for the upcoming tournament but they haven’t gone to plan so far, losing 5-0 to Spain in their first exhibition match and 1-0 to Hungary, with four more set to take place before the summer, consisting of ties with Scotland, Tunisia, Northern Ireland and England.
Costa Rica’s World Cup Squad
Something that will be a major issue in Costa Rica’s hopes of going far in this tournament is their sheer lack of depth. Not only that, but most of the players they do have are far from world class. The most in-form player, who’s consistent in showing his class as a professional footballer at the highest level, is Real Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas, who’s been so good that he’s prevented the Spanish giants from bringing in David De Gea from Manchester United in a deal that once seemed destined to come into fruition. Navas originally burst onto the scene through his incredible efforts in the last World Cup, prompting a move to Real Madrid, where he’s since turned into one of the best goalkeepers in La Liga.Elsewhere in the squad, there aren’t all that many worthwhile additions, with former Fulham and current Sporting Lisbon attacking midfielder Bryan Ruiz looking like the strongest option, shining during his time in Portugal and contributing twenty-three goals in 107 appearances for his home nation. Arsenal outcast Joel Campbell is also likely to make an impact, always putting on a show for Costa Rica, and being an asset in his loan spell at Real Betis. It’s at that point that the Costa Rica squad begins to get quite thin, but those three could still cause havoc between them, even if it’s not enough to see them advance.
Costa Rica’s World Cup Fixtures
Click on the fixtures below for more up to date match information, odds and betting details.
Costa Rica V Serbia, Sunday 17th June – Samara, 1 pm
Costa Rica V Brazil, Friday 22nd June – St. Petersburg, 1 pm
Switzerland V Costa Rica, Wednesday 27th June – Nizhny Novgorod, 7pm