Costa Rica and Serbia kickoff their Group D World Cup campaigns on Sunday.
The two sides will look for all three points before taking on the group’s heavyweight Brazil in their following matches.
Serbia have been serial underachievers at the international level. The team has plenty of talented players, but it may not have enough quality to get through to the knockout round. Serbia boast the likes of Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Nemanja Matic.
The squad’s midfield will be its strongest part, and strikers such as Luka Jovic and Aleksandar Mitrovic have the potential to be breakout players at the tournament. Defensively, Serbia could deploy older players that are a liability. The defence will be anchored by Branislav Ivanovic. The former Chelsea defender is now 34 and Costa Rica’s agile attackers could get the best of him.
Costa Rica were surprise quarterfinalists at the last World Cup and they have the potential to go deep into the tournament once more. The team has plenty of talent around the pitch. Real Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas is in goal and has plenty of experience to lead the side. Forward Bryan Ruiz has 24 goals in 110 appearances for the national team. The Sporting Lisbon forward is a creative player who can set up teammates or score himself. Joel Campbell is another Costa Rican who can get goals for the side. He has 15 goals in 77 appearances and was in fine form during Costa Rica’s World Cup warm-up matches.
Serbia manager Mladen Krstajic has been in charge since October. He took over for Slavoljub Muslin and was given the job permanently in December. Muslin had led the side through qualification and got excellent results and Krstajic hasn’t had great results since takeover. The Serbians did get a 5-1 win against Bolivia in their final warm-up friendly for the World Cup.
Costa Rica were one of only three teams to go unbeaten at the 2014 World Cup. The team’s downfall was penalties. The team returns several of those stars to this year’s team. Serbia did not qualify for the 2014 World Cup and in the two tournaments’ prior, the Serbians were unable to get past the group stage. In their last six group matches at the World Cup finals, Serbia have won just once and lost five times.
Serbia’s improvement and Costa Rica’s talent should cancel each other out in this fixture. The two sides will finish level and get a point a piece.
Costa Rica vs Serbia Betting Tips
Over 2.5 goals