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Will Costa Rica Reprise Their Role As World Cup Cinderellas?

Jun 04, 2018 1:08 PM EDT

The Odds

  • To win the World Cup: +65000
  • To win Group E: +1800
  • To advance to Round of 16: +415

Bet to Watch

Costa Rica Over 1.5 points -113 (5Dimes)

Costa Rica were the darlings of the 2014 World Cup. Los Ticos won the “Group of Death” by beating Uruguay and Italy and drawing with England. They would go on to defeat Greece on penalties before falling to the Netherlands on PKs in the quarterfinals. They were essentially a coin flip away from becoming one of the most unlikely World Cup semifinalists in history.

Four years later and it’s a similar story for Los Ticos. While their group, which consists of Brazil, Switzerland and Serbia, is not as brutal as their 2014 set, it still boasts the tournament favorite and two tough European sides. Not to mention that if Costa Rica does claw their way to a second-place finish and advance, their likely opponent would be Germany, the tournament’s second-favorites.

Costa Rica succeeds by uglying up matches. They are difficult to break down, and if you happen to get through them, you then have to beat one of the world’s best goalkeepers — Real Madrid’s Keylor Navas — to tickle the twine.

While Navas is the best player on Oscar Ramirez’s roster, there are some recognizable names at the top of the squad including former Arsenal man Joel Campbell and longtime national team star Bryan Ruiz. The roster won’t knock your socks off, but this a well-organized unit that will make life hard on you.

One thing that broke right for Costa Rica is that they avoid Brazil in the first game. If Switzerland lose to Brazil in their opener and Costa Rica can scratch out a result against Serbia, things will get very interesting with the two European countries set to square off in the middle match. I think Costa Rica has enough on their side to pull off a surprising result or two and wouldn’t count them out. Advancing from the group may be too much to ask, but grabbing two draws or a win is well within their reach.


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Credit:

Costa Rica National Team. Pictured: Bryan Ruiz

Follow Michael J. Leboff on Twitter
@TheBigLeebowski

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