In our Costa Rica Preview: World Cup 2018, we share our analysis about this Costa Rica team. After reaching the quarterfinals of the 2014 World Cup only to get knocked out on penalty kicks, there’s a feel-good factor about Los Ticos in this tournament.
Costa Rica Preview: World Cup 2018
Goalkeepers: Keylor Navas, Patrick Pemberton, Leonel Moreira
Defenders: Giancarlo Gonzalez, Johnny Acosta, Christian Gamboa, Bryan Oviedo, Oscar Duarte, Francisco Calvo, Kendall Waston, Ronald, Matarrita, Ian Smith
Midfielders: Celso Borges, Christian Bolaños, Randall Azofeifa, Yeltsin Tejeda, David Guzman, Rodney Wallace, Daniel Colindres
Forwards: Bryan Ruiz, Joel Campbell, Marco Ureña, Johan Venegas
- Manager: Oscar Ramirez
- Captain: Bryan Ruiz
- Best Finish: Quarter-Finals (2014)
Likely starting lineup
Ahead of the previous World Cup, Costa Rica were in a similar situation to the one they find themselves in now.
Los Ticos had been drawn in a tough group and were only expected to make up the numbers in Brazil. But they were able to qualify from a section containing Italy, England and Uruguay before advancing to the quarter-finals of the competition; it was there they were knocked out by the Netherlands.
With that incredible run in mind, it’s tough to write Costa Rica off entirely this year, even with Brazil, Switzerland and Serbia in their group. But there’s no doubt they’re going to find it tough to repeat their performance from South America in 2014.
In truth, not that much has changed since the previous World Cup. Since succeeding Jose Luis Pinto as manager, Ramirez has stuck to the same formula that yielded success in the past, setting up with a five-man defence and focusing on defensive football.
There are doubts about whether this team is equipped to cope with the pressure they’ll inevitably face in the group stages, though, as the three nations up against them will likely boss the ball. Keylor Navas remains an elite goalkeeper, but key defensive cogs are four years older or lacking match practice.
It’s a similar tale up top. Marco Urena will be given a thankless task leading the line, with Costa Rican legend Bryan Ruiz likely to provide support. The latter is a little past his best now, though, while the dynamic Joel Campbell is hoping to find form following an injury-hit season with Real Betis.
The buildup to this one has been fractured, with Costa Rica failing to show the same fusion that saw them fare so well in 2014. Ramirez will be hoping plenty falls into place in the group stages; the team needs that to be the case if they’re to get into the knockout stages.
Key Man – Keylor Navas
In 2014 there were times when Costa Rica’s defence was breached only for opponents to be foiled by the brilliance of Navas. Four years on, he’s developed into one of the best goalkeepers around.
Following the Brazil tournament he moved to Real Madrid to be what many expected to be backup. However, he seized the starting jersey and despite continued speculation over a replacement coming in, has been a crucial component of one of the most dominant European teams ever; Navas has won the European Cup with Madrid for the last three seasons in a row.
Needless to say, with his country the 31-year-old is a lot busier, although frequently Navas stands up and makes decisive contributions.
While there may be hairy moments for him at Madrid when his concentration can linger, for Los Ticos he tends to always be in the game and is subsequently sharper throughout 90 minutes. He’s capable of gargantuan displays and Costa Rica may well need a few of those.
Costa Rica’s Group Stage fixtures
Sunday, June 17
Friday, June 22
Wednesday, June 27
Costa Rica’s path to the final
If Costa Rica wins Group E, their Round of 16 game will be against the country that finishes second from Group F which will either be Sweden, Germany, Mexico or South Korea. If Costa Rica wins that Round of 16 game, Costa Rica will enter the quarterfinal stage with a game against the team that is victorious between the winner of Group G (England, Belgium, Panama or Tunisia) and the team that finishes second in Group H (either Poland, Senegal, Colombia or Japan). If Costa Rica advances to the semi-final stage, it’ll play the winner of the quarterfinal that comes out of the A1 vs. B2 versus C1 vs. D2 series.
If Costa Rica finishes second in Group E, Costa Rica will play the team that finishes first in Group F (either Germany, Mexico, South Korea or Sweden). If Costa Rica wins that game, it would be in the quarterfinal against the team that is victorious between the winner of Group H (either Poland, Senegal, Colombia or Japan) and the team that finishes second in Group G (either England, Tunisia, Belgium or Panama). If Costa Rica advances to the semi-final stage, it’ll play the winner of the quarterfinal that comes out of the B1 vs. A2 versus D1 vs. C2 series.
Costa Rica World Cup shirt (home)
Cheer the 2014 World Cup quarter-finalists. Returning stars Keylor Navas and Bryan Ruiz lead Los Ticos. The red home jersey features a pattern of “DNA” lines on the front, as part of the “Declare your DNA” campaign.
Costa Rica World Cup shirt (away)
Cheer the 2014 World Cup quarter-finalists. Returning stars Keylor Navas and Bryan Ruiz lead Los Ticos.
The white away jersey features a pattern of “DNA” lines on the front, as part of the “Declare your DNA” campaign. The five years that Costa Rica has taken part in the World Cup are printed inside the collar, with “Costa Rica” on the back.
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