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World Cup Preview Costa Rica

Outright Odds: 500/1
Group A Winners: 16/1

Costa Rica are living proof that when it comes to football, size does not matter. The Ticos have generally been mainstays in the World Cup finals despite having country 40 times smaller than Mexico and a population of just four million. The Ticos eased to third place in their qualifying group and will aim to compete against the "bigger" sides in this year's Finals.

Despite their overall comfortable qualification, Costa Rica almost fell at the first hurdle, a qualifying match against Cuba in which they scraped through on away goals. They re-appointed former coach Alexandre Guimaraes who guided them to the last World Cup and he has turned the team around.

Costa Rica sent out a warning, but ultimately revealed their main weakness in a recent friendly against former champions France.

They raced into a two goal lead in Martinique but eventually lost the match 3-2. Their weak defence will be their main downfall and 14 goals conceded in 10 qualifiers, including five against Honduras and three at Guatemala does not bode well for more seasoned opposition.

However, where their strengths lie is in attack. Winston Parks, Walter Centeno and veteran striker Paulo Wanchope means the side will always be able to create and score goals but there is always the danger they may concede them in greater numbers. Costa Rica missed out on the knockout stages in the 2002 World Cup to Turkey due to their superior goal difference.

Wanchope, his country's all-time top scorer with 43 goals in 67 international matches will retire after the tournament and is looking for one final hurrah before hanging up his boots for good.

Guimaraes will be keen to repeat the success of the 1990 team which reached the second round on their debut following victories over Sweden and Scotland. With Group A opposition in Poland and Ecuador, there is the possibility of an upset on the cards.

If they can nick a result or two like they did back in the 2002 World Cup, a victory over China and draw with Turkey, then qualification is not beyond them.

However, looking back to the heavy 5-2 group stage defeat to Brazil, if the defence does not improve, a gallant but narrow defeat may be on the horizon.

Recommended Bet:
You could not bet confidently on Costa Rica winning or even qualifying from the group stage to emulate their exploits in the 1990 World Cup. However, there may be some value in the individual match betting.

If Germany start the tournament slowly, Costa Rica could catch them cold in the opening fixture and snatch a point. There could be a possible upset in their second match against Ecuador who are themselves no great success on the big stage.

Germany vs Costa Rica draw @ 4/1.

Article Source: http://www.articledashboard.com.


David Walker runs free World Cup bets and World Cup previews websites. A free 45-page World Cup guide is available from the website and features a "free World Cup football shirt for every reader" offer. .

By: David Walker

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