Costa Rica can capitalise on raw and experimental England
Despite upsetting Italy and Uruguay in Brazil already, Coral make Costa Rica 10/3 outsiders to beat England, as Roy Hodgson’s side bow out.
Granted, the Central Americans are already through to the knockout phase but, although players could be rested, they are unlikely to change their philosophy because of that. Jorge Luis Pinto has won worldwide acclaim for sending his team out with a back to front, direct style that has showed no respect to world football heavyweights. Expect things to be no different against the Three Lions.
Arsenal-owned attacker Joel Campbell and Fulham forward Bryan Ruiz will be desperate to play some part, even if the Costa Rica coach wants to keep both in reserve for the last 16 clash. Either could be impact subs, and add to goals at this tournament.
Campbell, who spent the season on loan at Olympiakos, is well worth a punt in the last scorer market at 13/2. The same can be said of Costa Rica captain Ruiz, temporarily seconded to PSV Eindhoven from January onwards; he is a better price at 8/1.
Other forwards Randall Brenes and Marco Urena look set to start, however. The latter has also scored during the Brazil finals, showing composure to finish Uruguay off. Urena is 11/4 for a goal anytime.
Costa Rica pose a set piece threat too; an area of perceived softness for England, certainly in respect to second balls on evidence from the Italy game. While long range drives like Claudio Marchisio’s do not always fly in, Oscar Duarte got a goal from a corner in the Uruguay match. He is 8/1 to net against the Three Lions.
Everton’s Bryan Oviedo may be missing the finals with a broken leg, but England must also be wary of attack-minded full backs Junior Diaz and Cristian Gamboa. Hodgson must learn the lessons of the Italy encounter in this regard.
No square pegs in round holes against Costa Rica. Luke Shaw and Glen Johnson will need protection from the players deployed in front of them to stop this supply. Ross Barkley is also definitely getting a run-out, but must be careful not to give the ball away because Celso Borges will immediately look to set forwards away in behind the Three Lions defence.
Early balls in search of Luis Suarez’s predatory movement ruthlessly punished Hodgson and his charges in a similar vein. Frank Lampard cannot afford to put in as sloppy a shift as rested England skipper Steven Gerrard did in the engine room last time out either.
The Three Lions must be wary either side of half time too. Half of Costa Rica’s four goals at this tournament have come within 10 minutes before or after the break. Odds on the Central American nation scoring their first in the 41-50 bracket are thus tempting at 10/1.