Costa Rica odds suggest they are there for the samba

Having missed out on the 2010 World Cup, Costa Rica qualified in style; however a difficult group means they have their work cut out if they are to avoid three defeats.

Manager: Jorge Luis Pinto
World Cup best:
Round of 16 (1990)
How they qualified:
Second place finish in CONCACAF qualifying

After a slow start to the final qualifying round, Costa Rica turned it around and eased home in second spot behind the USA.

A 1-1 draw with the groups bottom side Jamaica secured their place at Brazil, with two of their matches remaining.

Star player: Bryan Ruiz (PSV)

PSV Eindhoven’s on loan midfielder Bryan Ruiz has all the talent and technique; however consistency is his real problem.

A move back to Eredivisie has rejuvenated Ruiz, who struggled slightly with the physicality of the Premier League.

Ruis was deployed more from wide areas during his time at Fulham, expect to see him more central for his national side.

One to watch: Joel Campbell (Olympiakos)

Arsenal fans will want to look over Joel Campbell who is still on Arsenal’s books, despite being loaned out to numerous clubs.

The 21-year-old has scored goals for fun this season in Greece, including a brilliant curling effort against Manchester United in the Champions League.

Strengths

Costa Rica have improved defensively since the re-appointment of Pinto and no side conceded fewer goals than them in CONCAF qualifying.

They will be set up to frustrate, with the pace of Campbell on the counter attack their biggest threat.

Weaknesses

A friendly 4-0 defeat to Chile in January doesn’t bode well for them as they will face side of a similar quality in the group.

All five of their wins in qualifying came at home and they didn’t win at all on their travels!

How far can they go?

Costa Rica have been drawn into one of the toughest World Cup groups and will do brilliantly well to avoid finishing bottom, let alone qualify.

Squad*

Goalkeepers: Keylor Navas, Patrick Pemberton, Daniel Cambronero, Esteban Alvarado

Defenders: Johnny Acosta, Giancarlo Gonzalez, Michael Umana, Oscar Duarte, Waylon Francis, Heiner Mora, Junior Diaz, Christian Gamboa, Roy Miller, Kendall Waston

Midfielders: Celso Borges, Christian Bolanos, Esteban Granados, Michael Barrantes, Yeltsin Tejeda, Diego Calvo, Jose Miguel Cubero, Carlos Hernandez, Ariel Rodriguez, Hansell Arauz

Forwards: Alvaro Saborio, Bryan Ruiz, Joel Campbell, Randall Brenes, Marco Urena, Jairo Arrieta

Group D
Uruguay
Costa Rica
England
Italy

*Squad will be cut by seven to 23 before the start of the tournament

Fixtures

Saturday 14th June: Uruguay vs. Costa Rica 20:00
Friday 20th June: Italy vs. Costa Rica 17:00
Tuesday 24th June: Costa Rica vs. England 17:00

Lewis Jones has over 5 years experience in web publishing, having worked at a number of well known UK facing sports websites. He can be reached at Google+ for more information.

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