Costa Rica will face Paraguay in the second match of Copa America Centenario Group A at the Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida on Saturday evening.
Costa Rica would like to leave behind the disappointing show at the Gold Cup 2015, where they failed to win a single game, despite making into the quarter finals. But the team has won so many hearts with their fantastic run at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. The Los Ticos knocked out Italy and England in the group stages en route to the quarter finals before losing in penalties to the Netherlands. Head coach Oscar Ramírez will be hoping for a similar performance if they are to get out from the group which includes hosts USA and Colombia.
Paraguay are coming to the tournament on the back of poor form as they managed just 1 win from their last six. Despite their struggles, they have a history of upsetting some big names in Copa America. They were unbeaten in the group stages after holding big guns Argentina and Uruguay to draws and knocked out Brazil on penalties in the quarter finals. They were comprehensively beaten by Argentina 6-1 in the semis and then Peru in the third-place offs. They were also losing finalists in the 2011 edition of Copa America.
Costa Rica: Team News
Real Madrid goal keeper Keylor Navas will miss the tournament due to a due to an Achilles tendon problem; and he is replaced by Deportivo Saprissa’s Danny Carvajal. Alajuelense shot stopper Patrick Pemberton is the likely number one for Costa Rica in the tournament.
Arsenal’s young forward Joel Campbell is a key player to watch in this fixture and the likes of Bryan Ruiz and Celso Borges are all expected to start on Saturday.
Costa Rica: Predicted Line-up (5-4-1)
Pemberton – Gamboa, Acosta, Duarte, Watson, Matarrita – Borges, Bolanos, Ruiz, Campbell – Saborio.
Paraguay: Team News
The veteran goal keeper Justo Villar, who played in key role in helping Paraguay to reach the final in 2011 Copa America and a fourth place in Chile is an undisputed starter in goal. While 36-year old defender Paulo da Silva is the captain of the side and the most experienced player with 134 caps under his name.
Familiar names like Roque Santa Cruz, Lucas Barrios and Raul Bobadilla are left out, while Nestor Ortigoza and Richard Ortiz missed the tournament through injury.
Paraguay: Predicted Line-up (4-4-2)
Villar – Samudio, da Silva, Gomes, Valdez – E.Benitez, Ortiz, Piris, – J.Benitez, Lezcano.
Costa Rica vs Paraguay: Head to Head Stat
The teams are even-stevens in head to head record after sharing 2 wins each and a draw from the 5 meetings so far.
The last meeting between the sides ended in a 0-0 draw, in an international friendly played at Estadio Nacional de Costa Rica on March 2015.
Paraguay and Costa Rica met once in Copa America during the 2004 edition in Peru; an 85th penalty helped Paraguay earn a 1-0 win on the opening fixture of Group C.
Costa Rica vs Paraguay: Prediction
Costa Rica might be coming in good form but the absence of their influential goalkeeper Keylor Navas left a huge void to fill in. But they have won 7 of their last 10 matches in all tournaments, which includes scalps against Uruguay and USA.
Paraguay haven’t lost a group match in the previous two editions of Copa America and they are a team that must be taken seriously in this tournament, despite their poor form elsewhere.
Costa Rica might look like the favourites on paper, but I am backing Paraguay to upset the odds and grab a vital win here. Full-time score prediction Costa Rica 0-1 Paraguay.
Recommended Bet: Paraguay to win (odds 2.62)
Best Bet: Both teams to score and Paraguay to win (odds 6.00)
Risky Bet: Paraguay to come from behind and win (odds 15.00)
*All Odds from Ladbrokes at the time of composing this article.
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