Two former World Cup winners —and — are the obvious favorites to advance, and their meeting on Nov. 27 is the marquee match of the first round. Stingy Japan has a solid squad and is the more likely of the other two teams to upset the natural order if one of the giants slips up. As for aging , surviving the first round will be an exceedingly tall order.
Everything you need to know about:
Coach: Luis Fernando Suárez
Highest finish: Quarterfinals (2014)
2018 finish: Round of 16
FOX Bet odds: +75000
Key players:, ,
What we’re excited to watch: If Costa Rica is to advance against the odds, they’ll almost certainly have to win their second match in Qatar, against Japan on Nov. 27.
What success look like: Getting out of a group this tough would be a triumph.
Achilles heel: Age. There’s no getting around how long in the tooth the Ticos are. Borges is 34. Navas is 35., Costa Rica’s all-time top scorer, is 37. Even Campbell is now on the wrong side of 30.
X-Factor: Navas. The three-time UEFA Champions League winner hasn’t played a minute forthis season after losing his starting job. That means the best player in Costa Rican history — he singlehandedly led the Ticos to the quarterfinals in 2014 — has something to prove in Qatar.
Three things you need to know about Costa Rica
Alexi Lalas gives us three things we need to know about Costa Rica ahead of the 2022 FIFA Men’s World Cup.
Goalkeepers: Keylor Navas, Esteban Alvarado, Patrick Sequeira.
Defenders: Francisco Calvo, Juan Pablo Vargas, Kendall Waston, Oscar Duarte, Daniel Chacon, Keysher Fuller, Carlos Martinez, Bryan Oviedo, Ronald Matarrita.
Midfielders: Yeltsin Tejeda, Celso Borges, Youstin Salas, Roan Wilson, Gerson Torres, Douglas Lopez, Jewison Bennette, Alvaro Zamora, Anthony Hernandez, Brandon Aguilera, Bryan Ruiz.
Forwards: Joel Campbell, Anthony Contreras, Johan Venegas.
Doug McIntyre is a soccer writer for FOX Sports. Before joining FOX Sports in 2021, he was a staff writer with ESPN and Yahoo Sports and he has covered United States men’s and women’s national teams at multiple FIFA World Cups. Follow him on Twitter @.
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