England’s Group D gimmie against Costa Rica grows in difficulty by the week.
All the pre-tournament terror talk has been focussed around Uruguay’s attacking prowess and Italy’s enviable knack of coming to the fore on the big stage, but the Central American outfit seem intent on shaking their whipping-boys tag.
Ticos will be the final group-stage opponents of Roy Hodgson’s men, with the Three Lions expected to dominate the game as 9/20 favourites.
Should the stars who have been shining in the build up maintain their form in Brazil, Costa Rica’s 6/1 to win the same match may well have come in a few points by kick off time.
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Underestimating Jorge Pinto’s men is a dangerous game to play as USA, Mexico and Paraguay found out in recent months, while they booked their World Cup place by on the back of the CONCACAF division’s meanest defence.
Only seven goals were shipped in their 10 games, while USA alone could best the 13 they registered.
In terms of personnel, skipper Bryan Ruiz will be familiar to Premier League football fans from his time at Fulham, where the nonchalant number ten showed sparse signs of brilliance; he’s got three goals in six starts on loan at PSV this term.
Levante super stopper Keylor Navas is one of the most coveted net minders on the planet, while Manchester United fans will be familiar with Arsenal rent-a-striker Joel Campbell.
Everton’s left-sided utility man Bryan Oviedo transforms this trio into a foursome to be feared, while La Sele also have a few lesser-lauded individuals who can hurt England.
There’s creative midfielder Celso Borges who has a keen eye for goal, bagging at a rate of one in three in the Swedish top-flight, while Copenhagen speedster Christian Bolano has got the pace to trouble most full-backs.