Costa Rica vs Serbia
FIFA World Cup 2018 – Group E
Date: Sunday, 17 June 2018
Kick-Off at 13:00 UK / 14:00 CET
Venue: Samara Arena, Samara.
Costa Rica and Serbia will have high set of expectations ahead of their meeting in the opening fixture of 2018 FIFA World Cup Group E.
- Serbia are favorites to clinch the three points on the return to the biggest football stage.
- The Central Americans are the weakest team the weakest opposition in the group (at least on paper), that contains Brazil and Switzerland.
- Costa Rica were the surprise package of 2014 edition, a fairy tale run lasted till the quarterfinal.
- The Los Ticos are massive underdogs in a tricky group this time as well, but nobody is right to underestimate this team.
- Serbia missed out on last two major tournaments, but they are coming to Russia with a talented squad capable of upsetting the odds.
Costa Rica Serbia Match Preview
Costa Rica will be looking to build on the magnificent success from Brazil where they shockingly topped the group ahead of Italy, Uruguay and England. They went past Greece in the last 16 round after a penalty-shootout, but were unfortunate to be on the losing side of penalties in the quarterfinal when they fell by Netherlands.
The head coach Oscar Ramirez kept the core of the team his predecessor led towards the Word Cup quarter-final and he will likely use the well-tested 5-4-1 formation with five men securing team’s star man Keylor Navas on goal.
Such formation did not often work well though, and the European heavyweights likes England and Belgium run rout in the warm-up friendlies with the Los Ticos conceding as many as six goals in back-to-back defeats.
Serbia have a very talented squad and it’s no surprise they made the return to the global stage after missing out on Euro 2016 in France and World Cup 2014 in Brazil. They booked tickets for Russia by topping a tricky qualifying group above the likes of Republic of Ireland, Wales and Austria.
In spite of such an overwhelming campaign, the head coach Slavoljub Muslin was fired right after the qualification process. He was replaced by Mladen Krstajic who initially took over the team on an interim basis and later made permanent.
Krstajic, a former Schalke center back tends to have a more defensive-minded approach given that Serbia’s back line that was often quite vulnerable under Muslin.
Costa Rica Team News
Team’s top scorer in the qualification process Marco Urena suffered facial fractures a month ago playing for his Los Angeles FC.
His fitness is under a big question mark, but we still expect him to start as the lone striker on the expense of Real Betis’ Joel Campbell who will likely come on from the bench in the second half.
A lot is expected from Bryan Ruiz and Christian Bolanos in the center of the park.
Costa Rica Predicted Starting Eleven (5-4-1)
Navas – Gonzalez, Duarte, Acosta, Oviedo, Gamboa – Borges, Bolanos, Guzman, Ruiz– Urena.
Serbia Team News
- Mladen Krstajic does not have significant troubles with injured players.
- Serbia will play a 4-2-3-1 formation here with Sergej Milinkovic Savic playing right behind Aleksandar Mitrovic who will lead the line.
- The key to team’s defensive success will rely in Nemanja Matic and Luka Milivojevic as defensive midfielders.
- Dusan Tadic and Adem Ljajic will also bring threat from the flanks.
Serbia Predicted Starting Eleven (4-2-3-1)
Stojkovic – Ivanovic, Milenkovic, Rukavina, Kolarov – Matic, Milivojevic – Tadic, Milinkovic-Savic, Ljajic – Mitrovic.
Costa Rica Serbia Head-to-head
Costa Rica and Serbia did not have the chance to lock horns in the past.
Costa Rica Serbia Predictions
A good number of Serbia’s players enjoyed strong campaigns for their clubs in the season behind us. Team’s talisman Aleksandar Mitrovic was the pivotal figure in Fulham’s return to the Premier League football after joining the Championship outfit in January.
Nemanja Matic was one of the most consistent players in Mourinho’s Manchester United, Aleksandar Kolarov made it all the way to the Champions League semi-final with Roma, Luka Milivojevic ended up as Crystal Palace’s top scorer, while Sergej Milinkovic-Savic emerged into one of the most expensive players on the market nowadays after a brilliant season in Lazio.
Serbia showed how lethal they can be in the final third when they netted as many as five goals past Bolivia in the final warm-up last weekend. Mitrovic completed a hat-trick back then and he will no doubts represent a huge threat to the vulnerable five-man defense of Costa Rica’s here. You can have the red-hot Mitrovic to score anytime at 2.25.
Costa Rica could also take advantage of the vulnerabilities in Serbia’s defensive line through Marco whose speed could cause troubles to Ivanovic and Milinkovic. The value is just massive in backing goals at both ends as well as three or more goals to be scored at the 3.10 odds. It’s a must-take pick knowing that both teams revealed the lack of the meticulousness at the back lately.
Predicted Full-Time Result is Serbia snatching the victory in their opener which has prospects of producing a goal fest based on everything written above.
Costa Rica vs Serbia Betting Tips
Aleksandar Mitrovic to score anytime @ 2.25.
Over 2.5 goals FT & BTTS @ 3.10.
Correct FT Score: 3-1 Serbia @ 19.00.