Costa Rica played well to qualify, but it is unlikely they will repeat their 2014 heroics.
Costa Rica World Cup Fixtures, Squad, Group, Guide
After a 2018 World Cup qualifying phase with its fair share of ups and downs, and some very disappointing results in the latest friendlies, there’s a fear in Costa Rica that the team is not up to the standards they set in Brazil 2014 and that their “golden generation” has already seen its best years pass. The team qualified with two games to spare, but their only victories in the CONCACAF Hexagonal were against the two teams that didn’t even make the play-offs: USA and Trinidad & Tobago.
Related: World Cup TV Schedule
Key Moments in Qualifying
A great start to the final qualifying round, with victories away to Trinidad & Tobago (2-0) and at home to the USA (4-0). However, they would be the only teams they would beat in the tournament.
A 2-0 defeat in Mexico and a 1-1 draw away to Honduras put the team second in the group.
Two goals from Marcos Urena earn Costa Rica a first-ever win in the United States.
Costa Rica qualify for a second consecutive World Cup but the success has a bitter-sweet flavour as it comes on the back of a three-match winless streak.
Costa Rica World Cup Group
Costa Rica World Cup Friendlies
Costa Rica played against Scotland on the 23rd of March and secure a 1-0 victory. They then lost to Tunisia by the same scoreline on the 27th. They then play Northern Ireland, England, and Belgium within the space of eight days.
- 23rd March – Scotland (won 1-0)
- 27th March – Tunisia (lost 1-0)
- 3rd June – Northern Ireland
- 7th June – England
- 11th June – Belgium
Related: World Cup Friendlies
Costa Rica World Cup Fixtures
Related: World Cup Fixtures
Oscar Ramirez, age 52 (08.12.64)
Appointed in October 2015, after previous coach Paulo Wanchope resigned, “The Machillo” was a standout midfielder and part of the Costa Rica side that played at the 1990 World Cup. After his retirement he became technical assistant at Saprissa and the national team, and was then coach of Santos de Guapiles and Alajuelense – where he won five league titles.
For some time Costa Rica have relied on their three European-based stars: Keylor Navas, Bryan Ruiz and Joel Campbell. Today, just one is a starter in an elite team, while the loss of form and injuries mean the other two have struggled to play regularly.
Many of those who surprised the world in Brazil 2014 have kept their place in the squad. Giancarlo Gonzalez, Oscar Duarte, Celso Borges, Yeltsin Tejeda, Christian Bolanos and Marcos Urena form an experienced backbone.
Striker Alvaro Saborio, who missed Brazil 2014 with injury, retired from international football in 2016.
Costa Rica World Cup Squad
Preliminary World Cup Squad –
Goalkeepers – Leonel Moreira, Keylor Navas, Patrick Pemberton
Defenders – Johnny Acosta, Francisco Calvo, Oscar Duarte, Cristian Gamboa, Giancarlo Gonzalez, Ronald Matarrita, Bryan Oviedo, Jose Salvatierra, Michael Umana, Kendall Watson
Midfielders – Christian Bolanos, Celso Borges, David Guzman, Ulises Segura, Yeltsin Tejeda, Rodney Wallace
Forwards – Joel Campbell, Bryan Ruiz, Marco Urena, Johan Venegas
Costa Rica World Cup Injuries
We will update you with injuries regularly
Related: World Cup Stadiums
The Unanswered Questions
Will the stars be back on time?
Joel Campbell and Bryan Ruiz were both going through rough patches of form before getting injuries. They have been instrumental for Costa Rica in recent years.
Where is the generational change?
It was hoped that players such as Jimmy Marin, Randall Leal and Gerson Torres, all aged 20, would make the step up to the senior team, but they do not seem to be remotely close to doing so.
Is it possible to reverse the recent run of bad form?
Although no one expected Costa Rica to perform as they did in Brazil, it was clear that the team had a positive momentum in the build-up to the tournament, which is not the case this time. They have not played well in recent matches and the friendly defeats against Spain (5-0) and Hungary (1-0) are worrying.
Don’t forget to follow World Soccer on Facebook, and Twitter.