Costa Rica v Serbia – Preview, Predictions and Betting Tips
This match is over: Final score is: 0-1
Next Costa Rica match: Brazil vs Costa Rica
Next Serbia match: Serbia vs Switzerland
17th June 2018 – 13.00 GMT
Samara Arena, Samara
Costa Rica will plan a repeat of their heroics in the World Cup finals four years ago when they lock horns with Serbia at the Samara Arena on Sunday afternoon.
La Sele shocked the football world in Brazil, beating Uruguay and Italy on their way to the quarter-finals, where the Netherlands needed a penalty shootout to knock out the Central Americans.
Much of the team from 2014 remains with the likes of Keylor Navas, Bryan Ruiz and Giancarlo Gonzalez likely to be in the starting XI. Bryan Oviedo, who missed the last World Cup through injury, will be present but frontman Joel Campbell has been plagued by injuries this season and faces a fight for his place.
The Serbians finished top of the qualification group, seeing off Austria and Wales, and on paper their squad is strong enough to give it a real go in Russia. But it’s off the pitch where there’s concern. Slavoljub Musin lost his job after securing a place at the finals and was replaced by one of his understudies, Mladen Krstajic. Despite being a decorated player in his day, the ex-Schalke defender has no experience as a number one.
He certainly has a fine array of players to select from, though. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Nemanja Matic are among the talents to enter the summer on the back of excellent seasons at club level.
Serbia were extremely consistent over their qualification campaign, scoring in every single fixture and losing just once. Costa Rica’s form has been much less impressive going into the tournament and they may struggle to live up to the performance in Brazil in 2014.
Because of the new Serbian coach Krstajic, there is an unpredictability factor but Serbia to win at 10/11 with William Hill still looks like a super price.
All of Serbia’s qualification games – apart from those with minnows Moldova – were tight, so if Costa Rica set out to frustrate then a 1-0 final score at 4/1 with William Hill will be worth looking at too.
- Branislav Ivanovic recently became one of just three players to win over 100 caps for Serbia (including Serbia & Montenegro and Yugoslavia)
- Serbia lost just one match on their way to winning their qualification group (W6 D3)
- Serbia to beat Costa Rica – 21/20
- Costa Rica have won only one of their last five competitive matches
- Aleksandar Mitrovic scored six goals during Serbia qualifying campaign
- Aleksandar Mitrovic to score first – 19/5
- Costa Rica didn’t lose a match in normal time at the last World Cup (W2 D3)
- Costa Rica to win, draw no bet – 7/4
Costa Rica: Keylor Navas, Johnny Acosta, Giancarlo González, Ian Smith, Celso Borges, Óscar Duarte, Christian Bolaños, Bryan Oviedo, Daniel Colindres, Bryan Ruiz (captain), Johan Venegas, Joel Campbell, Rodney Wallace, Randall Azofeifa, Francisco Calvo, Cristian Gamboa, Yeltsin Tejeda, Patrick Pemberton, Kendall Waston, David Guzmán, Marco Ureña, Rónald Matarrita, Leonel Moreira.
Serbia:Vladimir Stojković, Antonio Rukavina, Duško Tošić, Luka Milivojević, Uroš Spajić, Branislav Ivanović, Andrija Živković, Aleksandar Prijović, Aleksandar Mitrović, Dušan Tadić, Aleksandar Kolarov (captain), Predrag Rajković, Miloš Veljković, Milan Rodić, Nikola Milenković, Marko Grujić, Filip Kostić, Nemanja Radonjić, Luka Jović, Sergej Milinković-Savić, Nemanja Matić, Adem Ljajić, Marko Dmitrović.