Costa Rica - Team Profile
Costa Rica’s first trip to the World Cup in 1990 was the most successful of their three to date
Manager: Jorge Luis Pinto
Best finish: Second round (1990)
World Cup record: Played 14, Won 5, Drawn 3, Lost 6
Costa Rica’s first trip to the World Cup in 1990 was the most successful of their three to date. In Italy, they beat Scotland 1-0 and Sweden 2-1 either side of a 1-0 defeat to Brazil before bowing out in the second round thanks to a 4-1 defeat to Czechoslovakia. It was to be 12 years before a return to the top table but a first-round exit at the hands of Brazil and Turkey was no disgrace, though a tamer showing in Germany four years later, when they were beaten by the hosts, Ecuador and Poland was the low-point.
Costa Rica’s Colombian coach will most likely rely on a compact defence and counterattacks in Brazil. His side has been known to operate a in a 4-4-2 formation but on occasion he has used three centre backs and utilised a 5-4-1 with Alvaro Saborio or Joel Campbell up front on their own. The latter system relies heavily on wingbacks and with Everton’s Brian Oviedo ruled out with a double leg break, Pinto may be more inclined to revert to the more orthodox formation.
All Star – Bryan Ruiz
It would appear Pinto will favour starting only one of Saborio or Campbell against their three strong opponents. Ruiz, occasionally sublime, is expected to link the midfield and striker.
County Colours – Antrim
Impressive coastline, but few giant leaps in the sporting way.
Pundit’s Corner – Ray Houghton: “These guys are just poor, Bill, I mean what are they thinking even turning up?”
There’s not much light at the end of this tunnel. They defended well in the qualifiers, conceding just seven - the fewest in Concacaf’s final phase - finishing second behind USA, but all five wins came at home. Ranked 34th in the world, they may well spring a surprise against one of three from Fifa’s top 11 - Uruguay, England or Italy - but they are unlikely to progress.
Goalkeepers: 1 Keyor Navas (Levante/Esp), 18 Patrick Pemberton (Alajuelense), 23 Daniel Cambronero (Herediano).
Defenders: 2 Johnny Acosta (Alajuelense), 3 Giancarlo Gonzalez (Columbus Crew/USA), 4 Michael Umana (Saprissa), 6 Oscar Duarte (Club Bruges/Bel), 8 Heiner Mora (Saprissa), 12 Waylon Francis (Columbus Crew/USA), 15 Junior Diaz (Mainz 05/Ger), 16 Cristian Gamboa (Rosenborg/Nor), 19 Roy Miller (New York Red Bulls/USA).
Midfielders: 5 Celso Borges (AIK Stockholm/Swe), 7 Christian Bolanos (FC Copenhagen/Den), 11 Michael Barrantes (Aalesund/Nor), 13 Oscar Esteban Granados (Herediano), 17 Yeltsin Tejeda (Saprissa), 20 Diego Calvo (Valerenga Oslo/Nor), 22 Jose Miguel Cubero (Herediano).
Forwards: 9 Joel Campbell (Arsenal/Eng on loan to Olympiakos/Gre),10 Bryan Ruiz (PSV Eindhoven/Ned), 14 Randall Brenes (Cartagines), 21 Marco Urena (FC Kuban Krasnodar/Rus)
COSTA RICA (v Uruguay): 1 Keylor Navas; 16 Cristian Gamboa, 6 Oscar Duarte, 3 Giancarlo Gonzalez, 4 Michael Umana, 15 Junior Diaz; 17 Yeltsin Tejeda (22 Jose Miguel Cubero, 74 mins), 5 Celso Borges; 10 Bryan Ruiz (21 Marco Urena, 83 mins), 9 Joel Campbell, 7 Christian Bolanos (11 Michael Barrantes, 89 mins).
COSTA RICA (v Italy): 1 Keylor Navas; 16 Cristian Gamboa, 6 Oscar Duarte, 3 Giancarlo Gonzalez, 4 Michael Umana, 15 Junior Diaz; 17 Yeltsin Tejeda (22 Jose Miguel Cubero (yc), 68 mins), 5 Celso Borges; 10 Bryan Ruiz (14 Randall Brenes, 81 mins), 9 Joel Campbell (21 Marco Urena, 74 mins), 7 Christian Bolanos.
COSTA RICA (v England): 1 Keylor Navas; 16 Cristian Gamboa, 6 Oscar Duarte, 3 Giancarlo Gonzalez (yc), 19 Roy Miller, 15 Junior Diaz; 17 Yeltsin Tejeda, 5 Celso Borges (11 Michael Barrantes, 78 mins); 10 Bryan Ruiz , 14 Randall Brenes (7 Christian Bolanos, 59 mins), 9 Joel Campbell (21 Marco Urena, 65 mins).
COSTA RICA (v Greece): 1-Keylor Navas; 16-Cristian Gamboa (Acosta 76'), 4-Michael Umana, 3-Giancarlo Gonzalez, 6-Oscar Duarte, 15-Junior Diaz; 7-Christian Bolanos (Brenes 83'), 17-Yeltsin Tejeda (Cubero 66'), 5-Celso Borges; 10-Bryan Ruiz; 9-Joel Campbell
COSTA RICA (v Netherlands): 1-Keylor Navas; 16-Cristian Gamboa (Myrie 79’), 2-Johnny Acosta, 3-Giancarlo Gonzalez, 4-Michael Umana, 15-Junior Diaz; 17-Yeltsin Tejeda (Cubero 97’), 5-Celso Borges; 10-Bryan Ruiz, 9-Joel Campbell (Urena 66’), 7-Christian Bolanos.