Sunday afternoon, 14:00, Cosmos Arena, Samara. That’s the time and place where Costa Rica and…
Serbia vs Costa Rica
For the 2018 World Cup in Russia, Costa Rica is playing Serbia at Cosmos Arena on the 17th of June.
They qualified with a fair share of ups and downs and with disappointing results in the friendlies. This created fear that the team is not up to the standards they set in Brazil 2014. As well as scepticism on whether their ”golden generation” has already seen it’s best years in the past. The team qualified for Russia with two games left to play. However, that sounds better than it is as their only wins were against two teams that didn’t even make it to the CONCACAF hexagonal play-offs.
For Costa Rica, they had a great start to the final qualifying round, beating Trinidad and Tobago 2-0 and 4-0 in November 2016. Then onto being defeated by Mexico 2-0 in March 2017 and drew 1-1 with Honduras putting them second in their group during the same month. Marcos Urena scored two goals in September 2017 earning Costa Rica their first win over the United States. On the back of a three-match winless streak, Costa Rica qualified for the World Cup in October 2017.
Oscar was appointed as coach for Costa Rica in October 2015 after Paulo Wanchobe resigned. His nickname was “The Machillo” when he was a midfielder for Costa Rica. After his player days were over, he became a technical assistant at Saprissa and the national team. He also won five league titles coaching Santos de Guapiles and Alajuelense.
If there is one player in Costa Rica’s squad who knows what it takes to win, it’s definitely Navas. Keylor’s performances in Brazil helped convince Real Madrid to pay their rivals Levante £8.7 million for his services. The 31-year-old brings victorious experience that is vital to his national team.
Many of the players that surprised us in Brazil 2014 have maintained their place in the squad. This includes Giancarlo Gonzalez, Celso Borges, Oscar Durate, Yeltsin Tejeda, Christian Bolanos and Marcos Urena. Unfortunately, we won’t see striker Alvaro Saborio in Russia since he retired in 2016.
Serbia made it to the World Cup as group winners after failing to qualify for the previous three major tournaments. In the end, the Serbian FA coach Slavoljub Muslin’s 3-4-3 system was being regarded as too defensive aside the fact Serbia scored 20 goals across the qualifiers.
In October 2016 Dusan Tadic scored the winner in a 3-2 victory over Austria. With four minutes left Aleksandar Mitrovic scored equalising with Wales 1-1 in November 2016. Serbia held for a 1-0 win away to Republic of Ireland after playing for 25 minutes with only 10 men in September 2017. Three days after losing 3-2 to Austria, Aleksandar Prijovic goal against Georgia secured Serbia’s ticket for Russia in October 2017.
Following Slavoljub Muslin’s dismissal, Mladen has become the current caretaker for Serbia. The former Serbian centre-back has no experience as a head coach whatsoever. Replacement Dragan Stojkovic being is out of bounds due to his long-term contract with Guangzhou R&F, meaning Mladen might get the job full-time.
Aleksandar may only be a reserve for his club side Newcastle, however, he scored six times in the WCQ. This included two extremely crucial equalisers for Serbia in their draws against Wales.
29-year-old Tadic primarily plays as a left-sided midfielder for Southhampton and the Serbian national team. Although his form deteriorated Dusan made a big contribution in the qualifiers.
Mijat Gacinovic scored in his debut match for Serbia during the 3-1 win away to Georgia.
SPORTS OF THE DAYS VERDICT
We think that Serbia has a higher chance of coming out victorious in this match although if Costa have Navas then scoring will be a hard task.
Google’s win probability is at just 24% for Costa Rica to beat Serbia. The chances of Serbia winning is at 48% with a 28% chance of it being a draw.