Costa Rica World Cup Team Analysis

Costa Rica watched the World Cup Draw through their fingers and their worst fears came true. Drawn with Italy, Uruguay, and England, the Ticos will be eager to simply pick up points against those title contenders. With the loss of Evertonian Bryan Oviedo, Jorge Luis Pinto’s men will be trying to make up the talent gap with and undermanned squad. However, the Ticos are no stranger to long odds and will be looking to give a good account of themselves in Brazil. The biggest advantage the Costa Ricans will have is they are no strangers to playing in oppressive heat and humidity. If the Europeans wilt, they may have a chance for forward Alvaro Saborio to lead his team to a shock upset and maybe, just maybe, advancement into the knockout stages in a repeat of their fantastical 1990 World Cup performance.

GOALKEEPER:

Jorge Luis Pinto will be reliant on Levante’s talented keeper Keylor Navas to make some big stops if the Costa Ricans are to escape from this terrible draw. With a weakened back line Navas will have to be at the top of his form. If Navas were to fall the baton likely falls to Alajuelense’s Patrick Pemberton, although Costa Ricans will be happy to see him stay on the bench.

DEFENSE:

With the loss of Bryan Oviedo, there is not much quality to speak of in the Costa Rican defense but there is international experience. Centrally the Ticos will turn to Saprissa’s Michael Umana and MLSer Roy Miller to provide a sturdy pairing. Umana and Miller combine for over 120 caps but they will have to draw on their experience against the United States and Mexico to conjure results against these three top sides. On the flanks Junior Diaz and Cristian Gamboa will look to bunker in and deliver a few points back to San Jose.

MIDFIELD:

Midfielder Christian Bolanos will be looking to provide the attacking spark in midfield for the Costa Ricans. He currently plays for Copenhagen and has over 50 caps to his name. He will pair up with AIK man Celso Borges in midfield, Borges will look to get a hold of possession whenever he can come up from defense and facilitate Bolanos and the forwards in attack.

ATTACK:

If youngster Joel Campbell wants to still be participating in the World Cup when his 22nd birthday rolls around on June 26th, he will have to replicate his performances against Manchester United in the Champions League for Olympiakos. The Costa Ricans may be at a disadvantage elsewhere, but the forward trio of Bryan Ruiz, Alvaro Saborio, and Campbell, help close the gap on the larger nations. If and when the Ticos are able to get some possession watch out for PSV’s Ruiz to partner with Campbell and provide Saborio with some excellent chances of his own. They may be tracking back for the majority of their matches, but this array of talent is more than capable of snatching a goal or two on the break.

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