Group E: Costa Rica – World Cup Betting Odds & Tips
If anything was learned from the 2014 World Cup in Brazil then it surely was not to write off Costa Rica too quickly. In their fourth appearance at football’s grandest party, the Costa Ricans found themselves stuck in a group with a trio of former World Cup winners in Italy, England and Uruguay.
They were the team the other three looked at for three points but they stunned the lot by topping the section before going on to eliminate Greece and lose out only on penalties against the Netherlands in the last eight.
That effort was a World Cup benchmark for Costa Rica, though they did also upset Sweden and Scotland in qualifying for the last-16 at Italia ’90 behind Brazil. On that basis, they’ll feel they have some precedent for doing well on European soil but they have once again drawn a tough challenge.
They begin on June 17 in Samara against Serbia before another showdown with Brazil in Saint Petersburg five days later and then finally Switzerland on June 27. In the final qualifying stage for Russia, Costa Rica came through as runners-up behind Mexico in a six-team group.
They finished five points behind the group winners, with the high point in their campaign a 4-0 drubbing of a misfiring Unites States outfit. Manager Oscar Ramirez has World Cup previous having played for his country in the 1990 edition. He has done an impressive job in guiding them to Russia, but it is perhaps some cause for concern that his managerial path to date has not led him beyond his homeland. The squad is likely to have an experienced look about it come June.
Costa Rica can rely on a core group of players with extensive international experience under their belts and that have earned their living in European club football. In Brazil they proved a fiercely stubborn nut to break and that reliance on stability is likely to come to the fore again.
Captain Bryan Ruiz, once of Fulham and now with Sporting Lisbon, is a veteran of more than 100 caps and will be charged with leading the attack. Despite the stir they caused in Brazil, the Costa Ricans are installed as 17.00 rank outsiders to win Group E.
That seems about right and any hopes of another memorable tournament will surely rely on a positive start against Serbia, a game they are 3.60 to win.