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Costa Rica 2022 FIFA World Cup Squad and Team Profile

Costa Rica announced their 26-man squad for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar after becoming the fourth nation from North America. In this article, check out the Costa Rica FIFA World Cup 2022 squad, fixtures, lineups and team analysis.

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Last updated: 14.11.2022
Costa Rica 2022 FIFA World Cup Squad and Team Profile

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Costa Rica announced their 26-man squad for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar after becoming the fourth nation from North America at the tournament with Canada, Mexico and USA. The know stars of the national team have been included with no notable omission from the squad as Los Ticos warmed themselves up to be one of the surprise packages of the tournament.     

 

History

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Costa Rica are participating in their sixth World Cup since their first appearance in the 1990 event with most of their history in this competition coming recently. After being eliminated from the group stages of the 2002 and 2006 tournaments, Costa Rica had a spectacular 2014 World Cup in Brazil when they had a fairy-tale ride to the quarterfinal stage of the competition. With almost no chance of qualification from a group containing England, Italy and Uruguay, Costa Rica not only move into the knockouts but topped the group undefeated with a 3-1 win against Uruguay in the opening group stage game and drawing against the other two nations which few lower-ranked nations could have achieved in a tight group like this. The story did not end there as they defeated Greece on penalties in the Round of 16 although failed at the same hurdle against the Netherlands in the quarterfinals. Even in that shootout, the Dutch had to change goalkeepers and needed to wait until the eighth penalty which was saved to go through. Costa Rica became the people’s champions in that tournament and the performances put the nation in the world’s perspective even boosting their sports, economy, tourism etc. because of the attention. The impact of the fairytale was so much that fifteen players from the squad made the ambitious move in the two transfer windows following the tournament including the famous move of Keylor Navas to Real Madrid for his magnificent performances in the 2014 tournament. Winger Christian Bolanos is the record appearance maker for Los Ticos competing in nine matches at the World Cup while Ronald Gomez and Paulo Wanchope scored the most goals for the nation in the tournament with 3 each over two editions in 2002 and 2006. 

 

Previous Tournament

 

However, the next edition of the World Cup in 2018 was not the same fulfilling Costa Rica had in a group paired with Switzerland, Serbia and Brazil taking only points as they bow out of the group stages. They did put up an excellent defense in the tournament with only an outstanding free-kick from Serbia’s Alexander Kolarov separating the two in the first game. Against Brazil in the second game, Costa Rica made it a lot more difficult for the Selecao even with their attacking talent that they needed stoppage time to break the deadlock. Knocked out of the group stages, Los Ticos played without fear in the last group stage game earning a stunning 2-2 draw against Switzerland netting the first goals of the tournament also. Keylor Navas, as usual, was brilliant in between the sticks in the tournament carrying on his excellent form from his then club Real Madrid onto the world stage.

 

Qualification

 

Costa Rica had a closely fought qualification campaign with USA, Mexico and Canada with only three points separating them. They were level on points with the USA after 14 matches in the final round but finished in the inter-confederation playoffs because of goal difference. Los Ticos even beat the Yanks in the last game by 2-0 although not enough to overtake them for an automatic qualification spot. Luis Fernando Suarez’s side registered seven wins, four draws and suffered two losses in the final round. In the inter-confederation playoffs, Costa Rica faced New Zealand from the Oceania region and beat them 1-0 through a 3rd-minute goal from Joel Campbell to secure their place in Qatar for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. 

 

Preparation for World Cup 2022

 

Costa Rica’s preparation for the World Cup has been excellent losing only once in 2022 and none after their entry in the World Cup in Qatar. The sole defeat came in the 2-0 loss to Panama in CONCACAF Nations League in June after their 2-0 win against USA. Since then they have four clean sheets in resulting four games and scored seven goals. In the friendlies in September, Los Ticos played an entertaining 2-2 draw against South Korea with Jewison Bennette scoring twice while Oscar Duarte and Waston got the scoresheet as they cruise past Nigeria 2-0. Costa Rica also have a friendly lined up against Iraq five days before they begin the tournament in Qatar.    


Costa Rica FIFA World Cup squad 2022:

 

Goalkeepers: Keylor Navas (Paris St-Germain), Esteban Alvarado (Herediano), Patrick Sequeira (CD Lugo)

 

Defenders: Francisco Calvo (Konyaspor), Juan Pablo Vargas (Millonarios FC), Kendall Waston (Saprissa), Oscar Duarte (Al-Wehda), Daniel Chacon (Colorado Rapids), Keysher Fuller (Herediano), Carlos Martinez (San Carlos), Bryan Oviedo (Real Salt Lake), Ronald Matarrita (Cincinnati)

 

Midfielders: Yeltsin Tejeda (Herediano), Celso Borges (Alajuelense), Youstin Salas (Saprissa), Roan Wilson (Grecia), Gerson Torres (Herediano), Douglas Lopez (Herediano) Jewison Bennette (Sunderland), Alvaro Zamora (Saprissa), Anthony Hernandez (Puntarenas FC), Brandon Aguilera (Nottingham Forest), Bryan Ruiz (Alajuelense)

 

Forwards: Joel Campbell (Leon), Anthony Contreras (Herediano) Johan Venegas (Alajuelense)

 

Coach: Luis Fernando Suarez

 

Costa Rica have changed little over the years and their 2014 success so most of the know faces have been called up for the 2022 World Cup as well. Keylor Navas, Bryan Ruiz, Celso Borges, Oscar Duarte and Joel Campbell remain from the last two editions while Bryan Oviedo and Johan Venegas are members of the 2018 World Cup squad. The rest will have the first taste of the mega event. Keylor Navas and Celso Borges will play record matches in the tournament while 18-year-old Jewison Bennette is one of the youngest talents going to Qatar. 


Strength

 

Undoubtedly, the strength for Costa Rica will be the rich experience they have in the squad playing in the finals. Los Ticos can count on them anytime to produce the magic for their side in trying to create another memorable occasion just like the 2014 edition in Brazil. Their defense is also something to watch out for as Costa Rica are one of the masters of nullifying opposition’s attack how glamorous it might be with their solid structure of low to mid-block. They want to trouble opposition bigger than them through it. Not only experience, debutants and youngsters could also make an impact enjoying their first tournament like Sunderland’s Bennette who played an important role in the qualification. 


Weakness

 

The weakness for Costa Rica will be their group in which they will rub shoulders against Germany, Spain and Japan. Three nations carrying a wealth of talent and World Cup prestige in their ranks. The squad might have World Cup experience pulling up big upsets against the favorites in the clash and their defense may hold strong at certain points but the magnitude of their task here is huge. Despite having new faces, Los Ticos have not managed to move away from relying on their competition veterans putting far more pressure on them to deliver at their age towards the end of their careers.

 

Star player: Keylor Navas

 

Keylor Navas did no enjoy the number one spot at Real Madrid after the 2018 World Cup with the Los Blancos opting to buy the golden glove winner of the tournament Belgium’s Thibaut Courtois to guard the stick for them. The three-time Champions League winner then moved to Paris Saint-Germain in France for more game time three years ago. There too Navas faced competition once Gianluigi Donnarumma was signed last summer eventually losing his place to the Italian shot-stopper. Nevertheless, his lack of status as a starter at the club level will not bother his prestige for Costa Rica which is the undisputed number one. Navas will like to repeat his heroics from the previous two editions still being one of the best in the world in his position. His nation needs his saving abilities to work their game plan in conceding fewer goals in vital stages of the match and hitting the opposition with their counter. Now 35-year old, the custodian will like to have a memorable campaign once again in possibly the last World Cup of his career.


How Costa Rica will Lineup at FIFA World Cup 2022?



Costa Rica will line up in their classic 4-4-2 making it harder for the opposition to go through them while quickly hitting on counters. They can even shift to a 5-4-1 to bring more solidity to the side or can change to a 4-2-3-1 also if attacking is necessary with Bryan Ruiz slotting in the number ten role. Keylor Navas remains in goal while his back-four consists of right-back Carlos Martinez, center-halves Oscar Duarte and Francisco Calvo and left-back Bryan Oviedo. Bennette will produce the attacking edge on the left with Gerson Torres doing the same on the right. In the central midfield, Celso Borges and Nottingham Forest’s 19-year-old Brandon Aguilera will be ideal choices while Daniel Chacon is also a legitimate option. Joel Campbell and Jonathan Venegas will make the front two of the side.

 

Opponents & Fixtures

 

Spain vs Costa Rica - 23 November 2022, Al Thumama Stadium (9:30 PM)

Japan vs Costa Rica - 27 November 2022, Ahmed bin Ali Stadium (3:30 PM)

Costa Rica vs Germany - 2 December 2022, Al Bayt Stadium (12:30 AM)

 

Costa Rica will start their World Cup campaign with a crunching fixture against Spain on 23rd November before taking on Japan four days later and Germany for the last group stage game. Los Ticos had to be at their very best and work their plan well to gain something out of this tough group to stay in this competition which is a big ask.  

 

Prediction

 

Luis Fernando Suarez’s side are capable to pull out upsets in the tournament and has often given nightmare to their counterparts with their discipline at the back and effective counters. They have also earned the top sport in a supposed ‘group of death’ in the 2014 edition of the tournament and few encouraging signs in 2018 too. However, this group will be too much to handle for Costa Rica as they try to make a much more damage control approach in Qatar than glory.     

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