- Costa Rica
WorldCupAcca Confirmed Squad:
Keeper: K. Navas, P. Pemberton, L. Moreira
Defence: C. Gamboa, I. Smith, R. Matarrita, B. Oviedo, O. Duarte, G. Gonzalez, F. Calvo, K. Watson, J.Acosta
Midfield: D. Guzman, Y. Tejeda, C. Borges, R. Azofeifa, R. Wallace, B. Ruiz, D. Colindres, C. Bolanos
Forward: J. Venegas, J. Campbell, M. Urena
Quarter finalists in 2014 having gotten out of very tough group on paper to the surprise of virtually everyone, Costa Rica will be hoping for similar fortunes here.
Other than 2014, the only other time Costa Rica made it out of the group stage was in Italia ‘90 but they were in a group with Scotland then, so it doesn’t really count for much.
After this they qualified for 4 of the next 5 tournaments, including this years competition – only missing out on South Africa 2010.
Costa Rica’s qualification was something of a formality this time round too, winning their group comfortably picking up 16 of a possible 18 points in a group made up Panama, Haiti, Jamaica and themselves they never really broke a sweat – Keylor Navas conceding just 3 times in those 6 matches.
WorldCupAcca The Squad:
Going through the squad here you’re only really looking at 4 stand out players, Keylor Navas is a very good goalkeeper and the Real Madrid number 1 will be pivotal in if they are to have any sort of success.
Bryan Oviedo looked a decent young player at Everton before suffering a horrific leg break in 2014, he offers some quality going forward from left back and is an “ok” defender. Obviously his career never really took off since then and unfortunately he’s ended up at Sunderland – poor guy.
Then you have the star men for them in Joel Campbell, Celso Borges and Bryan Ruiz. For whatever reason, at the time of writing Campbell remains an Arsenal player, he’s not a bad player by any means but shouldn’t really be near a supposed top 4 Premier League side, hence why he’s spent the last 5 years out on loan.
With 217 caps and 44 goals between them; Deportivo La Coruna central midfielder Borges and Sporting CP’s Bryan Ruiz are the 2 big players Costa Rica have for creating and putting away chances, whilst Ruiz in particular never really lived up to expectations when he came to the Premier League all those years ago with Fulham, he’ll be playing as a number 10 or second striker for his country and will be responsible for anything good that Costa Rica may produce here.
WorldCupAcca The Group:
Winning this group should really be a formality for Brazil, even if Neymar is not at 100% with the squad depth they have, the strength of the base of their team will allow the likes Coutinho, Douglas Costa, Roberto Firmino and Gabriel Jesus to cause all sorts of problems for the rest of these teams.
Switzerland come in as the 2nd seeded team, a position bought from some clever friendly arranging to boost their ranking and nothing more. Breel Embolo looks a promising player but missed most of this season with a bad ankle fracture, beyond that you’re looking at Xherdan Shaqiri to smash one in the top corner from 25 yards and Granit Xhaka to not be a complete liability.
They were lucky to qualify as it was with a contentious penalty decision against Northern Ireland in the playoffs and as far as friendlies go, wins against Belarus, Greece and Panama shouldn’t be taken too seriously.
Serbia are an interesting one, physically strong with players such as Ivanovic, Matic and Mitrovic. They sacked their previous manager after qualifying for picking heavily experienced players over the likes of Milinkovic-Savic who starred in previous youth tournaments and with Lazio all season. I can see them sneaking through in second place.
WorldCupAcca Betting Tips:
World Cup Group E Fixtures / Results
|Cosmos Arena, Samara – June 17, 2018 4:00 pm|
|Rostov Arena, Rostov-on-Don – June 17, 2018 9:00 pm|
|Krestovsky Stadium, Saint Petersburg – June 22, 2018 3:00 pm|
|Kaliningrad Stadium, Kaliningrad – June 22, 2018 8:00 pm|
|Spartak Stadium, Spartak Stadium – June 27, 2018 9:00 pm|
|Nizhny Novgorod Stadium, Nizhny Novgorod – June 27, 2018 9:00 pm|
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