Costa Rica have qualified for their fifth ever World Cup finals and they will hope to replicate their fine performances from 2014 where they managed to reach the quarter-finals. That was their best ever finish at the tournament and was made all the more impressive because they topped a group containing England, Italy and Uruguay.
That experience is sure to benefit the current side, many who starred four years ago. However, they face another tough test in the group stage with Serbia, Brazil and Switzerland making up the opposition for the CONCACAF side. Here at Open Odds we will outline everything you need to know about the World Cup 2018 Costa Rica team, look at Costa Rica betting odds and who will be the key men for them in Russia.
Top 3 World Cup Bookies
Costa Rica prediction: How well will they do?
It’s tough to write Costa Rica off after their achievements four years ago but the side don’t seem as good as they were then and the group seems very difficult. The main qualities from that side four years ago should still be on show though, with a real defensive resilience and determination that will make them hard to beat.
Realistically though, there is only second place up for grabs in Group E given the quality that Brazil have. They are understandably favourites for the competition and it would be incredible if they didn’t finish top in this group. That will leave Costa Rica competing with the Serbs and the Swiss for a second place finish and unfortunately for Costa Rica both those nations look a lot better equipped for success than they do.
All three are well organised sides however the two European outfits have that little bit more quality in the final third which Costa Rica lack. With that in mind, we are recommending Costa Rica to finish bottom of Group E which can be taken at odds of 5/6 with Sky Bet.
We don’t expect them to be outclassed, other than by Brazil, and they will make things difficult. However, they will need a bit of quality to break sides down and they are missing that this year. Therefore, it promises to be a short stay for Costa Rica in Russia.
Journey to the World Cup — Who did Costa Rica beat to qualify?
Costa Rica easily qualified for Russia and they deserve credit for that as the USA finished fifth in the same qualifying section which should prove to people that it’s not as easy as is perhaps made out. The top three sides out of the section qualify automatically with the fourth placed side going into the play-offs and Costa Rica ended up second behind Mexico and had it wrapped up before the final day.
To be honest, that is what’s expected of the national team and they delivered. And, whilst it was straightforward some performances will have concerned the fans. They only won four of their ten games and failed to win three of their five on the road. That highlights how they are a side that can struggle and playing in Russia could seem them falter.
Ultimately though, it was a hassle free campaign with some highlights, including the 2-0 win in the USA and an unbeaten home campaign. Yet, you won’t read too much into that ahead of the tournament.
Best players for Costa Rica: Who should you be betting on?
As with a lot of the smaller nations that punch above their weight, as Costa Rica did four years ago, it’s about the collective rather than individuals. But, that’s not to say they don’t have real quality players in their ranks with one standout man in goal.
Keylor Navas will be a name that fans know across the world because of his form with Real Madrid that has seen him win multiple Champions League trophies. He is a very reliable last line of defence for Costa Rica and will no doubt be called upon this summer.
Further forward, there are a few more familiar faces, with Bryan Ruiz and Joel Campbell two players that have previously played in England. A lot of responsibility will rest on the pair in the final third as they have great technique and an ability to unlock the defence.
Given that, it’s easy to understand why the duo are joint-favourites with Bet Victor at 4/1 to be Costa Rica’s top scorer at the tournament. Yet, the main man going forward could well be Marcos Urrena who scored three goals in the qualifying campaign, more than anyone else for his country. The 28-year old is playing in the MLS now and will be confident of notching for his country at the World Cup. However, the one bet that we think stands out and represents the most value is No Costa Rica goalscorer which is available at 10/1 with Bet Victor.
This is a side that weren’t very prolific in qualifying and they have been drawn in a group that consists of some very strong, defence minded sides. Serbia and Switzerland are both tough, resolute sides, whilst Brazil are likely to dominate against whoever they play. That, combined with Costa Rica’s own defensive approach, means goals could be hard to come by in Group E. Which is why we are happy to back no Costa Rica goalscorer at 10/1. Sure, it’s risky but it has a chance.
Who manages Costa Rica?
Oscar Ramirez is the Costa Rica manager and is a well-known man in the country having played 75 games for them as a player in the 1980s and 1990s. He took over his new role in 2015 and had the tough task of following on from the great achievement a year prior to that.
Since then, he has been steady if unspectacular and his tenure will be judged on what happens during that one month in Russia. In fairness, Ramirez has had to bring in a few new faces after the success of 2014 and they have mixed in reasonably well but as mentioned, it will all be about how they do in Russia.
Why bet on Costa Rica?
Costa Rica are not the most exciting FIFA World Cup 2018 participant but they showed four years ago how they are dangerous to underestimate. Whether this World Cup team Costa Rica 2018 can replicate that remains to be seen but it’s highly unlikely and a big ask.
Instead, the first goal will be to ensure they are competitive and to give themselves a fighting chance of progression by getting a result against Serbia or Switzerland. Overall though it looks a big ask and Costa Rica’s could be heading home after just three games.