Costa Rica will take on Argentina at the National Stadium in San Jose this evening in what appears to be a major mismatch.
Costa Rica are ranked as the 53rd best team in the world by Fifa, while Argentina sit fourth in the table produced by world football’s governing body.
As such, it is hardly surprising that Argentina are strong 12/25 favourites to win the tie.
Having said this, the last meeting between the pair produced an unlikely classic, with Argentina edging the match in a five-goal thriller.
Add to this the fact that the two coaches have turned the encounter into something of a grudge match and Argentina’s path to victory no longer looks so smooth.
A successful £10 bet on Argentina to beat Costa Rica 3-2 at bwin in a repeat of last January’s encounter would return £310.
Costa Rica coach Ricardo La Volpe is a World Cup winner with Argentina having been in the squad as reserve goalkeeper in the 1978 tournament.
However, this is not enough to have endeared him to current Argentina coach Sergio Batista, who was a World Cup winner with his country in 1986.
Batista criticised La Volpe during the latter’s spells as coach of Boca Juniors in 2006 and Velez Sarsfield in 2007, and La Volpe has hit back in kind in the lead-up to the match.
“In the past he said I had to get used to Argentinian football. He forgot I played and grew up in Argentinian football. He was in a bunker and now he is the coach of the Argentinian national team,” La Volpe told TyC Sports.
With the added motivation associated with taking on a rival, La Volpe has spent hours devising a way of defeating last year’s World Cup quarter-finalists and believes he has come up with a winning formula.
“If I have to win through dead balls, I would work a hundred hours for that,” he commented.
With this in mind, odds of 27/2 are available for a 1-0 Costa Rica win.
A £10 stake on Argentina to beat Costa Rica 3-0 would return £97.50. New customers can register here to receive a £25 free bet.