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Group E - Costa Rica Team Review

Started by FastGoal, Jun 04, 2018, 12:01 PM

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Costa Rica


FIFA World Ranking: 25
Qualifying Average Goals Per Match: 1.56
Qualifying Average Goals Against Per Match: 0.69
Qualifying Top Scorer: Christian Bolanos and Marco Urena (4)
World Cup Best Performance: Quarter Finals (2014)

Group E Opponents: Brazil, Serbia and Switzerland


The Manager: Óscar Ramírez
Capped 75 times as a player and serving as assistant manager between 2006 and 2008, five league titles with Alajuelense made Ramírez the obvious man for the job when it became open in 2015. With Costa Rica coming off the greatest World Cup performance in their history, Ramírez has quite sensibly stuck with a winning formula. The spine of the side remains largely unchanged as do the formation and tactics. Having guided the side through a tough qualifying section, the coach will have high hopes of matching the achievements of four years ago.


The Squad:
As mentioned, much the same as the group who performed so far above expectations in Brazil. With only a smattering of players playing for elite level clubs, this wouldn't be the strongest group on paper, but they do have an excellent team spirit and know each other's games inside out. Father time may prove to be an issue though with the average age of the final squad likely to be over 30. This will certainly represent the last chance for this golden generation.

Real Madrid stopper and National hero Keylor Navas takes his place in goal and is capable of producing heroics at times. Some Madrid fans question his consistency, but he is without doubt one of the national sides most important, and best, players.

The likes of bombing fullback Cristian Gamboa, Jhonny Acosta and Giancarlo Gonzalez return in a stable and well organised defence, whilst further forward the side also has a familiar look to it.

Captain Bryan Ruiz was brilliant at the last World Cup, providing real guile and creativity in the centre of the park. He hasn't been in quite the same kind of form for Sporting this season, but a return to the big stage may well inspire him.

The lively Joel Campbell was likewise one of the standout performers in Brazil. He has had an injury plagued season on loan at Real Betis but looks set to be fit to take his place up front.


Star Man: Bryan Ruiz
Navas may be the most popular player, and does have claims to be the star man, but the man who really makes this Costa Rica side tick is the at times exceptional Ruiz. An astute passer of the ball, he links up play superbly when at his best in addition to weighing in with more than his share of goals and assists.


Outlook:
Other than the fact that Brazil will likely come out on top, this looks one of the tougher groups to predict. It wouldn't be a surprise should Costa Rica make it through, but equally it wouldn't be a shock should they finish bottom. Overall, with a number of key men either out of form or recovering from injury, we just favour the latter scenario.


Group E Prediction: 4th


FastGoal

Costa Rica


FIFA World Ranking: 25
Qualifying Average Goals Per Match: 1.56
Qualifying Average Goals Against Per Match: 0.69
Qualifying Top Scorer: Christian Bolanos and Marco Urena (4)
World Cup Best Performance: Quarter Finals (2014)

Group E Opponents: Brazil, Serbia and Switzerland


The Manager: Óscar Ramírez
Capped 75 times as a player and serving as assistant manager between 2006 and 2008, five league titles with Alajuelense made Ramírez the obvious man for the job when it became open in 2015. With Costa Rica coming off the greatest World Cup performance in their history, Ramírez has quite sensibly stuck with a winning formula. The spine of the side remains largely unchanged as do the formation and tactics. Having guided the side through a tough qualifying section, the coach will have high hopes of matching the achievements of four years ago.


The Squad:
As mentioned, much the same as the group who performed so far above expectations in Brazil. With only a smattering of players playing for elite level clubs, this wouldn't be the strongest group on paper, but they do have an excellent team spirit and know each other's games inside out. Father time may prove to be an issue though with the average age of the final squad likely to be over 30. This will certainly represent the last chance for this golden generation.

Real Madrid stopper and National hero Keylor Navas takes his place in goal and is capable of producing heroics at times. Some Madrid fans question his consistency, but he is without doubt one of the national sides most important, and best, players.

The likes of bombing fullback Cristian Gamboa, Jhonny Acosta and Giancarlo Gonzalez return in a stable and well organised defence, whilst further forward the side also has a familiar look to it.

Captain Bryan Ruiz was brilliant at the last World Cup, providing real guile and creativity in the centre of the park. He hasn't been in quite the same kind of form for Sporting this season, but a return to the big stage may well inspire him.

The lively Joel Campbell was likewise one of the standout performers in Brazil. He has had an injury plagued season on loan at Real Betis but looks set to be fit to take his place up front.


Star Man: Bryan Ruiz
Navas may be the most popular player, and does have claims to be the star man, but the man who really makes this Costa Rica side tick is the at times exceptional Ruiz. An astute passer of the ball, he links up play superbly when at his best in addition to weighing in with more than his share of goals and assists.


Outlook:
Other than the fact that Brazil will likely come out on top, this looks one of the tougher groups to predict. It wouldn't be a surprise should Costa Rica make it through, but equally it wouldn't be a shock should they finish bottom. Overall, with a number of key men either out of form or recovering from injury, we just favour the latter scenario.


Group E Prediction: 4th


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