Preview - Costa Rica vs Northern Ireland 04 June 18

Started by Harry85, Jun 03, 2018, 05:15 AM

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International Friendly
Costa Rica vs Northern Ireland
Monday, June 4th, 2018
02:00am (GMT +8 Timing)
Stadium: Estadio Nacional de Costa Rica

Costa Rica:
Last five matches form: L L L W L
Average goals per match: 1.56
Average goals against per match: 0.69
Top Scorer: Bryan Ruiz (23)

Northern Ireland:
Last five matches form: L L D W D
Average goals per match: 1.42
Average goals against per match: 0.58
Top Scorer: Gareth McAuley (9)

Northern Ireland make the long journey to Central America to take on Costa Rica in the latest round of International friendlies.

Not much between these two sides according to the FIFA World Rankings, with Costa Rica ranked 25 and Northern Ireland 27.

It is only Costa Rica who will be making their way to the World Cup Finals though with Northern Ireland doing well to finish second to Germany in a tough section, but not well enough to qualify for a playoff place.

Costa Rica have experienced mixed results in their build up to the tournament so far. A 5-0 battering at the hands of Spain was perhaps predictable, but they will have been disappointed to lose to both Hungary and Tunisia.

Goals haven't exactly been flowing for Northern Ireland of late, with Michael O'Neill's men failing to register on the scoresheet in four of their past six games. They are unbeaten in their last three though - all against World Cup bound sides - having drawn with Switzerland and Panama and beaten South Korea.

This looks a solid test ahead of the World Cup for Costa Rica. They do have the advantage of playing on home soil but haven't been at their best of late and may have to settle for a draw against this well organised Northern Ireland outfit.

Prediction: Costa Rica 0 - 0 Northern Ireland


Half time: 1 - 0
Full time: 3 - 0
Shots: 12 - 2
Shots on target: 3 - 1
Corner Kicks: 8 - 0
Possession: 58% - 42%

No bookings in this one as referee Fernando Guerrero kept his cards in his pockets throughout.

One of these teams is going to the World Cup and one of them isn't, and from the balance of play here it was plain to see which was which. Northern Ireland's territorial disadvantage being illustrated by the fact they managed only one shot on target in the whole game and didn't register a single corner kick.

It was from a corner kick in the 30th minute that the opening goal of the game came. An in-swinger from the right being flicked on at the near post and finding Johan Venegas at the back post who had the simple task of heading home from around two yards. 1-0 at the break.

It took Costa Rica less than a minute to double their advantage at the start of the second half. Good work by Daniel Colindres breaking into the box and taking three Irish defenders out of the game before playing the ball back across the edge of the 18 yard box. Joel Campbell the man coming onto the ball to apply the side foot finish into the bottom, left corner.

Northern Ireland's inability to defend their near post from a corner came back to haunt them again in the 66th minute. Good run and powerful header from Francisco Calvo though to make it 3-0. And that's how it stayed.

Having lost four of their last five headed into this game, this was just about the ideal game for Costa Rica. Stiffer tests await at the finals, but three goals for, and a clean sheet certainly wont have done their confidence any harm.

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