Costa Rica vs Zambia Odds, Pick | Women’s World Cup Preview
DeFodi Images/Getty. Pictured: Racheal Kundananji.
Costa Rica vs Zambia Odds
|Costa Rica Odds||+220|
|Over/Under||2.5 (-150 / +115)|
|Both Teams to Score (Yes/No)||(-163 / -120)|
|Odds via bet365. Get up-to-the-minute World Cup odds here.|
It's been rare at the Women's World Cup to have teams already eliminated heading into the final days of the group stage. An impressive 27 of the 32 teams still have or had the ability to advance with one match of the opening round remaining.
However, that's not the case for Costa Rica and Zambia. Both nations have already been mathematically ruled out of the round of 16 after consecutive defeats in their opening two matches.
Of course, there's a still a lot on the line when it comes to pride. Neither Costa Rica or Zambia are yet to score at this World Cup and they would love to give their fans something to celebrate before heading home.
Costa Rica Struggling on Offensive End
Las Ticas have struggled in New Zealand, so much so that their standout player has been goalkeeper Daniela Solera, who leads the tournament with 19 saves.
But while the six foot shot-stopper has faced more shots (24) than anyone else at the tournament, she managed to concede one fewer goal (5) than Zambia's Eunice Sakala and Morocco's Khadija Er-Rmichi. Solera also made a brilliant penalty save against Spain.
Going forward hasn't been very encouraging for Costa Rica either. The Central Americans average 3.5 shots and 0.15 xG per match at this World Cup. That ranks 31st in each statistic respectively.
Perhaps understandably then, the bookmakers aren't feeling overly confident about Costa Rica's chances (+220). Even against another struggling nation, Las Ticas will be the underdogs.
Part of the problem is that star player Rocky Rodriguez, who plays her club soccer for the Portland Thorns in the NWSL, hasn't been fit enough to start a match. The midfielder was an unused substitute in the 3-0 defeat to Spain and was only able to play 27 second half minutes in the 2-0 loss to Japan.
Rodriguez has a penchant for hitting bangers from outside the box. She's also great at getting her foot on the ball and helping spark her teammates into life after winning back possession. Hopefully she can get more minutes on Monday.
Zambia Underwhelming on All Fronts
The World Cup debutants were a frequent pick to cause a surprise in Australia and Zealand. Known for their ability to break quick and counterattack, it wasn't so much that wins were expected from the nation, but goals were.
So, what happened? Barbra Banda has failed to make an impact with the minimal amount of time she's had on the ball. She's been cut adrift and well marked by opposing teams. Meanwhile, Racheal Kundananji has looked a shadow of the player that scored 25 goals in 29 matches for Madrid CF last season. The Copper Queens currently rank just above Costa Rica in shooting (29th) and xG statistics (30th).
Disappointment up front aside, Zambia have been porous in defense. No team at the World Cup has conceded more goals than Zambia (10) or has a higher xG against (10.9). Third-string goalkeeper Eunice Sakala is expected to drop back down to the bench after Catherine Musonda served her one-match suspension during the 5-0 defeat to Spain.
Statistically speaking, these are two of the most underwhelming teams at the 2023 World Cup. But that might mean more space and opportunities. You can't underestimate the desire of two disappointed squads that both have something to prove.
Costa Rica vs Zambia Pick
Despite struggling to show their best attacking soccer in the opening two matches, Zambia are well poised to scored a first-ever World Cup goal in this one. They should be the more physical side and can dominate on set pieces.
Although Banda is the favorite to do so (+300 first goalscorer | -125 anytime), Kundananji (+450 first goalscorer | +125 anytime) has been brighter going forward at this tournament. Costa Rica could struggle to handle her speed and decision making.
Picks: Draw (+280) | Racheal Kundananji First Goal (+450)