Costa Rica likely to give Uruguay a run for their Pesos!
Costa Rica are undoubtedly the minnows in a section featuring Italy, England and first opponents Uruguay but they’ll be fired up for their game against Oscar Tabarez’ men in the Estadio Castelao.
The Costa Ricans have only managed to get past the group stages once in three previous attempts but won’t regard themselves as underdogs and had an excellent disciplinary record in qualification and were generally hard to beat when the chips were down.
That said, they’ve not pulled up any trees in recent friendlies, losing four of their last six, though they did hold the Republic Of Ireland to a draw last week.
PSV’s former Fulham hitman Bryan Ruiz was their top scorer in qualification and Arsenal striker Joel Campbell scored a memorable goal against Manchester United in the Champions League last season while on loan at Olympiakos while there are a few others among Jorge Luis Pinto’s squad with experience of European football so that should be a good test of Uruguay, who will almost certainly be without Luis Suarez for their opening match.
An injury to the Premier League’s Golden Boot winner has overshadowed preparations for the side that reached the semi-finals in South Africa four years ago. Without Suarez, Uruguay do struggle to find the net as he’s the focus of their attacking play.
Edinson Cavani likes to play off a front man while Diego Forlan is in the veteran stage now and likely to be used sparingly at this World Cup if Suarez can be nursed back to health.
Uruguay don’t concede many, however, though weren’t that impressive in last year’s Confederations Cup, despite an 8-0 win over Tahiti, and they had to come through a play-off with Jordan having only finished fifth in the South American qualifying group.
Their squad is experienced but ageing and the pressure is on to get a positive result against Coast Rica so they can frustrate their next two opponents.
A draw isn’t out of the question for Costa Rica if they play to their full potential and the 8/15 offered against the Central American qualifiers with a two-goal start on the European handicap looks a sound bet as Uruguay will probably try and shut up shop if they get their noses in front. Deigo Godin could be an interesting bet for first goalscorer at 18/1.
The match kicks off at 8pm UK time on Saturday, June 14th in Estadio Castelao, Fortaleza.