Spain vs Costa Rica Odds, Prediction, Picks | Women’s World Cup Preview
Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty. Pictured: Spain Women’s National Team.
Spain vs Costa Rica Odds
|Costa Rica Odds||+4000|
|Over/Under||4.5 (-150 / +110)|
|Both Teams to Score (Yes/No)||(+300 / -450)|
|Odds via bet365. Get up-to-the-minute World Cup odds here.|
Group C of the 2023 Women's World Cup will get up and running at 3:30 a.m. ET Friday when Spain meet Costa Rica at Wellington Regional Stadium in New Zealand.
The Central Americans are back in the Women's World Cup for the first time since 2015 and for just the second time in history.
But matchday one could be a serious wake-up call for the CONCACAF side ranked 36th in the world. Amelia Valverde's team has a tall task beginning group play against the Spaniards, who are currently ranked No. 6 in the FIFA Rankings and are some experts' pick to win the tournament.
Unsurprisingly, the bookmakers are pretty confident that Spain will take the three points. The Europeans are currently priced at an extremely short -8000 to seal a victory. Taking a punt on the slim chance of an upset could be lucrative, with Costa Rica sitting at +4000 to win.
Spain Have Endless Riches in Attack
It's not so much a question of will Spain score, but more about how many times? Las Rojas are blessed with a litany of attacking talents to call upon, and spreading out the goals is often what they do best.
We know that Spain will probably line up in some variation of 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3. What we don't know is who that lone center forward will be or even who will start in the wide positions.
The mainstream theory is that veteran Jenni Hermoso or Esther Gonzalez will lead the frontline. The duo are the favorites to open the scoring for Spain, at +225 and +200, respectively. But don't underestimate Alba Redondo, who could come off the bench and put a few away against tired legs.
In the wide positions, Mariona Caldentey, Salma Paralluelo and Athenea del Castillo will battle it out for a starting spot. Reigning Ballon D'Or winner Alexia Putellas will look to be dangerous in the central attacking space between the midfield and the forwards.
Costa Rica Dealing With Form Issues & Controversial Move
Valverde made a bold move by leaving the country's all-time leader in appearances, Shirley Cruz, off of her 23-player World Cup squad. In subsequent press conferences, the coach explained it had to do with a more physical and mobile style that, in Valverde's opinion, the 37-year-old midfielder wasn't equipped to handle.
But you can't replicate experience. Cruz has been a winner at every club she's played for in Europe, the United States and in her native Costa Rica. She was there when Los Ticos qualified for their first-ever World Cup in 2015, and she was on the team that finished fourth in CONCACAF Qualifying last July.
Since dropping Cruz from the starting line-up, Costa Rica have not won a single match. The Central Americans' last victory came in October 2022 against the Philippines.
With Priscila Chinchilla in the attack, there are some bright young options for Costa Rica going forward. The real issues are in the backline. Defensively, Los Ticos might have one of the least talented groups in the tournament. Valverde's team's last clean sheet came in July 2022, in a 4-0 win over Trinidad & Tobago.
In 2023, Costa Rica average a not entirely woeful 1.67 goals against per match. The teams they have faced leading up to the World Cup, however, have been South Africa, Scotland, Poland, Nigeria, Colombia and Mexico. That is hardly the most potent attacking slate.
Spain vs Costa Rica Pick
The Europeans arrive for this one with a point to prove at major tournaments. Despite unrest with the head coach, the Spanish players have consistently shown that they're out for blood when it comes to taking care of weaker sides.
Goals have been very easy to come by. Spain opened last year's Euros Group Stage with a 4-1 win over Finland. Last November, they thrashed Argentina 7-0. Then, in warm-up matches for this World Cup, the Spanish put four goals past Norway, seven past Panama and nine past Vietnam.
There's a good chance we have another goal-fest on our hands.
The Pick: Spain -4.5 (+162 via bet365)