World Cup 2018 | Qualifying Team Guide | Costa Rica

Costa Rica are set to return to the 2018 World Cup in Russia. This will be the sixteenth appearance at the World Cup for La Sele (The Selection). They are ranked 26th in the world, and have previously made the finals in 1990, 2002, 2006, and 2012. Their best result came at Brazil 2012. They made the quarter finals, before losing out to the Netherlands on penalties (4-3) after a goalless contest. What can we expect from a Costa Rica World Cup return?

Costa Rica World Cup Qualifying Overview

La Sele secured their place at Russia 2018 through a very late goal from defender Kendall Waston. This gave Costa Rica a 1-1 draw against Honduras. His header came in the fifth minute of injury time, taking Costa Rica to another World Cup. Costa Rica qualifies in second place from the North, Central American and Caribbean region (CONCACAF), behind Mexico. Their advance was guaranteed by Waston’s last-gasp effort in their penultimate match. This win followed a resounding 4-0 win over the United States at home, and a strong 2-0 win against the Americans in the States. They added to this with two wins against Trinidad and Tobago, and draws against Mexico and Honduras at home.

It wasn’t all plain sailing for La Sele though. For much of the match against Honduras, Costa Rica looked disinterested, and as though they were playing for a draw. This is an attitude that manager Oscar Ramirez will be keen to stamp out of the squad. For their last World Cup Qualifiers match, Costa Rica travelled to Panama. Once again, Costa Rica were a little lax in places. Panama took full advantage, and Roman Torres slotted home a late winner to take Panama to their first ever World Cup Finals.

Costa Rica World Cup Team

Costa Rica’s players reacts after Spain’s Andres Iniesta scoring his side fifth goal during the international friendly soccer match between Spain and Costa Rica in Malaga, Spain, Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017. (AP Photo/Miguel Morenatti) @ Polfoto

Costa Rica World Cup 2018 Group E

Los Ticos can certainly be a dangerous side when attacking (as proven by the late winner by Waston). But their tendency to take their eye off the ball may well cost them dearly at the World Cup. They will have to hit the ground running too, with their group consisting of Brazil, Switzerland, and Serbia. It is an understatement to say that they have to exceed expectations to reach the knock-out stages. Brazil are second favourites for the title, behind reigning champions Germany.

Switzerland qualified strongly, on equal points with Portugal, and are firm favourites to advance alongside Brazil. Costa Rica’s first match will take place at 1pm GMT on 17th June in Samara. They will take on Serbia, who also qualified in first place in their qualification group. This seems on paper to be a must win for Costa Rica if they are to compete beyond the group stages of the 2018 World Cup.

Aside from the sometimes casual attitude of the team, Costa Rica’s main obstacle to success may be in the lack of international experience of their coach: Oscar Ramirez. Ramirez played for Costa Rica at Italy 1990, and seems to have gelled well with his players. However, he has never coached an international side before his current tenure, and has only worked at club level in Costa Rica until this point. The side will have to hope that inexperience is not a fatal weakness.

Costa Rica World Cup – Key Players

Costa Rica will look to their two star players to inject a bit of much needed magic in Russia. The captain, attacking midfielder Bryan Ruiz, provides strong support as a second striker when needed. He was a big part of Los Ticos’ success at the World Cup Finals in Brazil 2014, when they made a historic run to the quarter finals. In the World Cup Qualifiers for Russia 2018, Ruiz scored three of Costa Rica’s fourteen goals. Costa Rica’s other star is Joel Campbell. The 25 year old is currently on loan to Real Betis from Arsenal, and can play as a forward or as a winger. He has scored twenty-three goals for clubs, and fourteen times for his country since he graduated into the mature squad in 2011. Prior to that, he was Costa Rica’s top scorer at the 2009 CONCACAF U-17 Championship, and tied for overall top-scorer at the 2011 CONCACAF U-20 Championship, scoring six goals in that tournament.

Appearing at the 2014 World Cup, Campbell scored Costa Rica’s first goal at the tournament. He equalised against Uruguay, before his country eventually went on to win that contest 3-1. Their third goal (scored by Marco Ureña) was set up by Campbell’s pass. In the round of 16, he was the fourth Costa Rican to successfully slot home a penalty during a shoot-out against Greece that would take them into their first ever quarter final. Campbell scored two goals against the USA in the World Cup Qualifiers, on 15th November 2016, helping Le Sele to a commanding 4-0 victory. Costa Rica will certainly hope that Campbell remains in this kind of form going into the World Cup Finals this summer. They’ll need to take all of their good performance from the World Cup Qualifiers forward with them into the World Cup Finals.

Costa Rica World Cup Odds

Despite the skill of Campbell and Ruiz, Costa Rica are firm outsiders for the title at Russia 2018. Currently you can get 500/1 for Costa Rica to win from betvictor logo. BetVictor are also offering odds of 5/1 against Costa Rica being the best North American team at the World Cup 2018. They are placed behind Mexico at 1/6. BetVictor are also offering a deal for new customers, with £20 of free bets offered against the first £10 deposited.

Unibet logo are offering 450/1 for Costa Rica to win the tournament, with a bonus offer for new customers of £20 of free bets when you place a bet worth £20. Alternatively, Marathonbet are laying odds of 18/1 against Costa Rica reaching the quarter finals again at this year’s tournament. This comes with the bonus offer of £20 of free bets for new customers who place a bet worth £20.

Event Selection Best Odds Brand
2018 World Cup Costa Rica Win 425/1* Paddy Power logo
2018 World Cup Costa Rica Win 450/1* Unibet logo
2018 World Cup Costa Rica Win 500/1* betvictor logo

*Odds at the time of writing. Subject to change.