World Cup team preview: Costa Rica
Just 22 days remain until the World Cup and we have 22 more teams to preview ahead of the festival of football.
Today it’s Costa Rica, ranks outsiders in Group D.
Group D: Italy, Uruguay, England
Tournament odds: 2000/1 (Only Honduras have longer odds)
The Costa Ricans have reached their fourth World Cup, their first in 1990, but expectations are very low that they will make any impression in a difficult group for the South Americans.
Manager Jorge Luis Pinto has been working with the team since 2011 and has managed to balance the youth and talent of one of the most promising Costa Rican generations.
Bryan Ruiz and dynamic Joel Campbell are at their best know players, while in Keylor Navas, they also have one of the most underrated goalkeepers in La Liga.
How they got here
Los Ticos were pretty impressive throughout their qualifying campaign. They finished in second place in the CONCACAF hexagonal stage and in doing so progressed to Brazil with relative ease.
Their only defeats came in difficult away assignments against the USA and Honduras.
Key Player: Bryan Ruiz
In a team short of players with experience at the top level, the former Fulham man will be expected to carry the main threat for Costa Rica.
Ruiz showed glimpses of his undoubted quality at Craven Cottage, but his inconsistency was the only consistent aspect of his time there, drifting in and out of games.
The captain will bear the brunt of the creative responsibility and tends to operate from the right-hand-side of a four man midfield but is given license to drift about the pitch and influence the game.
An accomplished dribbler and able of carving something out of nothing, he is also just as likely to be anonymous in any given day. If he fails to tuen up, Costa Rica are in for a short and challenging World Cup.
Something you might not know about Costa Rica
Costa Rica has no standing army. It was constitutionally abolished in 1949