In our Costa Rica preview, we look ahead to this summer’s tournament to preview Los Ticos, including their schedule of games as well as their predicted finish in the Copa America Centenario.
Costa Rica preview
Manager: Oscar Ramirez
Captain: Bryan Ruiz
Costa Rica preview: Squad:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Leonel Moreira (Herediano, CRC), Dany Carvajal (Saprissa, CRC), Patrick Pemberton (Alajuelense, CRC)
DEFENDERS (9): Johnny Acosta (Alajuelense, CRC), Francisco Calvo (Saprissa, CRC), Oscar Duarte (Espanyol, ESP), Cristian Gamboa (West Bromwich Albion, ENG), Ronald Matarrita (New York City FC, USA), Bryan Oviedo (Everton, ENG), José Salvatierra (Alajuelense, CRC), Michael Umaña (Persepolis, IRN), Kendall Waston (Vancouver Whitecaps FC, CAN)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Randall Azofeifa (Herediano, CRC), Christian Bolaños (Vancouver Whitecaps FC, CAN), Joel Campbell (Arsenal, ENG), Celso Borges (Deportivo La Coruña, ESP), Esteban Granados (Herediano, CRC), Bryan Ruiz (Sporting Lisbon, POR), Yeltsin Tejeda (Évian Thonon Gaillard, FRA), Johan Venegas (Montreal Impact, CAN)
FORWARDS (3): Johnny Woodly (Deportivo Carmelita, CRC), Álvaro Saborio (D.C. United, USA), Marco Ureña (Midtjylland, DEN)
Costa Rica preview: Overview:
Costa Rica showed emphatically at the 2014 World Cup that it’d be unwise to write them off in any competition, although they come into this tournament as not only an underdog, but a team unlikely to progress from a difficult Group A.
Indeed, Los Ticos are alongside the hosts United States, a dangerous Colombia team and a well-drilled Paraguay outfit, so if Ramirez’s men can raise themselves to make it beyond the initial phase it’d be a significant achievement. They do possess players that are capable of springing a surprise, though.
With the exceptional Keylor Navas in goal Costa Rica always have a chance of getting through spells of heavy pressure. Additionally, further up the field Bryan Oviedo is a very handy footballer to have, capable of doing a strong job in a variety of roles, while the likes of Joel Campbell and Ruiz should pose a threat to the opposition’s goal.
Costa Rica would have been disappointed with their efforts in the Gold Cup last summer, in which they drew all of their games in 90 minutes before eventually losing out to Mexico in extra time in the quarters. It shows they’re capable of shutting teams down well, often utilising a five-man defence; Ramirez will want to see more in the final third, though.
The signs are positive in that sense. Campbell has enjoyed a decent campaign at Arsenal with some starts and impressive cameos from the bench, while Ruiz, after a tumultuous stint in his career, seems to have settled well at Sporting in Portugal. With those two in better shape, expect Costa Rica to be more menacing in their forward forays.