World Cup 2014 Group D preview: Costa Rica v England
Costa Rica can complete a clean sweep of Group D wins in Brazil if they beat England. No, you couldn’t make it up.
Frank Lampard will lead the Three Lions out as captain for what many are predicting could be his last international match, and he is 7/2 to net anytime.
Speaking in the build-up to the game, Lampard was still unclear about his intentions. “I don’t know whether I will carry on,” he said. “I will get home and make a decision at that point because I have my future at home to sort out as well. This is not the time or the place. Sitting in your room for a month, you don’t always come up with the right judgement.”
Eliminated from the World Cup, having lost against Italy and Uruguay, the interesting part is that England now face a team that has already secured qualification from Group D, on maximum points so far. Despite this the Three Lions are still odds-on 4/5 favourites for the match, while Coral offer Costa Rica at 10/3.
Although the Central Americans could rest players, with the greatest of respect to Jorge Luis Pinto’s team, it is unfathomable to contemplate that England could face a second-string Costa Rica side.
Luke Shaw and Ross Barkley will also start the match, and the latter has shown signs of promise. Having burst onto the scene with Everton under manager Roberto Martinez this season, he is seen as the future of the England midfield. To net at anytime, he is 7/2.
Leighton Baines has picked up an injury, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is also still out. Boss Roy Hodgson shed light on the situation with the latter: “Alex had a slight recurrence of the knee problem and will be out. The hamstring injury to Leighton Baines has ruled him out, too.”
It will be interesting to see how the Three Lions will line up in attack. Daniel Sturridge has proved his worth, however a different approach may be adopted, with Rickie Lambert still waiting to start a World Cup match. The striker who has just earned a move to Liverpool, could even start alongside new teammate Sturridge and Raheem Sterling. Reds manager Brendan Rodgers will watch with interest.
There is speculation that Phil Jagielka may be dropped, after a poor performance against Uruguay. Phil Jones, at 22, could deputise, and the Manchester United defender, along with Everton talent John Stones, who was on the standby list, may be the future of England’s defence.
Hodgson’s biggest conundrum will yet again be Wayne Rooney. He justified his selection against Uruguay with a goal, though did spurn a number of chances. He is 11/2 to open the scoring and, if involved, it is likely to be in the hole behind the main striker.
Costa Rica’s biggest threat will be Arsenal forward Joel Campbell, who has been out on loan at Olympiakos this season. He has proved to be a handful with his direct running, dragging defenders out of position, and he also has an eye for goal. Coral are offering a price of 13/2 for him to open the scoring and, if Jones starts at the back for England, his lack of match practise may work in Campbell’s favour.
For England, it is a nothing fixture. For Hodgson, although he has said he won’t walk away from the job, nothing less than a win here might leave him re-thinking his position.