Costa Rica start their preparations for Copa America Centenario 2016 with an international friendly against fellow contenders Venezuela at Estadio Nacional de Costa Rica in San Jose on Friday.
Costa Rica had mixed fortunes in their last three matches in all competitions as they had won, lost and drawn one each. Their form can be still considered strong as they had lost just once defeat in their last 7 matches; and winning in five .However the only defeat came against Friday’s opponent Venezuela in a friendly on February 2016. The Los Ticos are a hard-working team focused on team work and with the likes of Bryan Ruiz and Arsenal youngster Joel Campbell at their disposal, they are a real force to reckon.
Venezuela were held to a goalless draw by Panama in their last friendly, which left them without a win in their last four. Three of their last four matches were draws, but they had won just once in their last 15 matches. As mentioned earlier, the win came against Costa Rica. Head-coach Rafael Dudamel has some quality players with plenty of experience in his squad in the form of West Brom striker Salomon Rondon and their captain and Genoa midfielder Tomas Rincon. But their recent showing on international stage were far from disappointing.
Costa Rica vs Venezuela: Head-to-Head Stats
The sides had met previously on 8 occasions, Costa Rica lead the head-to-head with 5 wins, 2 draws, while Venezuela were victorious in just 1.
The last meeting between the sides was on 3rd February 2016, Venezuela won it 1-0 at home, ending their 7 match win-less run against Costa Rica, courtesy of an 89th minute goal by 23-year old defender Wilker Angel.
Costa Rica remain unbeaten in 2 matches played at their home against Venezuela, by winning both.
Costa Rica: Predicted Line-up (4-2-3-1)
Pemberton – Oviedo, Duarte, Gamboa, Salvatierra – Borges, Tejeda – Bolanos, Ruiz, Campbell – Urena.
Venezuela: Predicted Line-up (4-4-2)
Hernández –Villanueva, Velazquez, Vizcarrondo, Rosales – Otero, Figuera, Rincon, Anor – Martinez, Rondon.
Costa Rica vs Venezuela: Prediction
Costa Rica could be backed as clear favourites to win this friendly against Venezuela and odds at 1.95 offers good value of return. But there is an air of caution as Costa Rica will be without their star goal keeper Keylor Navas, who is still with the Real Madrid for the Champions League final on Saturday.
Costa Rica had kept a clean sheet only once in their last three games, and Venezuela despite failing to score against Panama in the midweek, had scored a goal in each of the previous 7. I recommend both teams to score at 2.10 is the best bet for this game.