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World Cup: Costa Rica team profile

Costa Rica are set to feature in their third consecutive World Cup and will aim to make it out of the group stage for just the third time in their history.

The Central American side had to play in the pressurised inter-continental play off game against New Zealand last month in order to book their spot but an early goal from former Arsenal forward Joel Campbell was enough to see them qualify for Qatar.

While winning the World Cup is likely to be beyond the reaches of Costa Rica, getting out of Group E will be regarded as a positive tournament and they can be backed at 33/1 to win the group outright,

The squad, as it stands, has plenty of experience to help guide the players who are less familiar with the feverish atmosphere of a World Cup, and they will certainly need that with Germany and Spain in the same group.

WhatWorld Cup
When20th November-18th December 2022
How to watchAll matches will be shown on either BBC or ITV
OddsBrazil 9/2, England 11/2, France 6/1, Argentina 7/1, Spain 8/1 

What is Costa Rica's World Cup record?

Costa Rica have qualified for the World Cup five times previously with Qatar set to be their sixth.

Their debut year was 1990 and they made the round of 16 before losing 4-1 to Czechoslovakia.

Group stage exits followed in 2002 and 2006 and after missing South Africa 2010, they put on their best-ever display in 2014 by reaching the quarter-finals.

It was some achievement to top a group which included Italy, Uruguay, and England but Costa Rica were magnificent and made it past the last 16 with Keylor Navas' goalkeeping heroics seeing them get past Greece on penalties.

They were ultimately undone in a shootout against the Netherlands, but gained huge plaudits from the footballing world, before exiting in the group stage again four years later.

Last 161990
Group stage2002, 2006, 2018

How did Costa Rica qualify?

As stated above, Los Ticos had to do it the hard way with an intercontinental play off against New Zealand.

Fourth place was where they finished in CONCACAF qualifying, losing out on automatic qualification via goal difference behind the USA - a slow start was ultimately Costa Rica's undoing, winning just one of their first seven qualifiers.

They ended the process in strong form, winning six and drawing one of seven but had to ultimately settle for the winner-takes-all tie against the All Whites.

Related World Cup Group E News

World Cup - Football: Group E preview

World Cup - Football: Germany team profile

World Cup - Football: Japan team profile

World Cup - Football: Spain team profile

Who is in Costa Rica's group?

It can be said that Group E is the Group of Death - Spain and Germany, who have won two of the last three World Cups, are present while Japan have some dangerous players in their squad.

Costa Rica's opener comes on Wednesday 23rd November against Spain before they face Japan four days later in Al Rayyan - the game most likely to define how successful their campaign is.

Germany are the final opponents on Thursday 1st December and if Costa Rica make it through, they will face one team from Group F, which could prove to be world number two Belgium, 2018 runners-up Croatia, CONCACAF rivals Canada, or Morocco.

Who is Costa Rica's manager?

The man in charge of Costa Rica is Luis Fernando Suárez, who is something of a nomad when it comes to international management.

Costa Rica are the third country he has managed after spells with Ecuador and Honduras, while he has also managed at club level in his homeland of Colombia, as well as Peru and Mexico.

He brings experience of over-achieving in the World Cup - in 2006 he took Ecuador to the round of 16 in Germany before they were eliminated by a David Beckham free-kick for England.

Last June, he was offered the Costa Rica job and has won 12 of 21 matches in charge.

Who is Costa Rica's star player?

Keylor Navas earned a move to Real Madrid on the back of his wonderful performances in the World Cup eight years ago and, despite the fact he is in the latter stages of his carer, is still a big asset to Costa Rica.

The 35-year-old has 106 caps to his name and even though the battle between he and Gigi Donnarumma for the goalkeeper jersey at Paris Saint-Germain has seen his game-time more limited, he is still going to be the man who lines up in goal.

Who could be Costa Rica's break-out star?

Costa Rica's last squad for their clash with New Zealand didn't have a huge number of young players but one who could shine - and who Nottingham Forest will keep a keen eye on - is Brandon Aguilera.

The 19-year-old midfielder has just signed for Forest and will be back in his homeland on loan until the New Year.

He is a good-sized midfielder who has won three caps for his country so far.

What is Costa Rica's predicted line-up and tactics?

Costa Rica predicted line-up (4-2-3-1): Keylor Navas; Francisco Calvo, Oscar Duarte, Kendall Waston, Bryan Oviedo; Celso Borges, Yeltsin Tejeda; Joel Campbell, Gerson Torres, Jewison Bennette; Anthony Contreras.

A mixture of youth and experience, Costa Rica are likely to set up with two holders in midfield to try and stop Spain and Germany playing through them.

Bennette and Contreras' youth and energy will be supplemented by the experience of ex-Arsenal man Campbell, while Duarte and Waston are highly experienced at this level.

Another old-timer who could be in and around the squad is former Fulham attacker Bryan Ruiz, who has suffered injury issues recently and may not play every game.

However, he can certainly make an impact with his skill and vision.

How far can Costa Rica go in Qatar?

The group stage draw has not been kind to Suarez's side with Spain and Germany likely to prove too strong for this generally aging squad.

Costa Rica's best chance of progression is if they can beat Japan and then defend stoutly against the others.

Costa Rica are 11/1 to beat Spain in the first group game with the odds at 1/4 for the 2010 winners and a draw is at 9/2.

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