Uruguay v Costa Rica Preview

Group D | Saturday 14 June | Estádio Castelão, Fortaleza | 21:00




The “Group of Death” gets underway with the bookies favourites Uruguay taking on the Central Americans Costa Rica who come into the game with little expectations of progressing to the knockout stages.

To Win (90mins)
Uruguay 17/20 
Draw 23/10 
Costa Rica 7/2

URUGUAY

Uruguay will head into this match knowing that they are the favourites to top the group and will try to prevent any slip ups before taking on tougher opponents Italy and England.

In their prime, this Uruguayan squad achieved a remarkable semi-finals finish in 2010. Continuity will be key for this generation, benefiting from a stable set-up under Oscar Tabarez, who has been in charge in his second spell as head coach since 2006 and will be the longest-serving coach at the finals.

Uruguay are unbeaten against Costa Rica in their last 10 meetings, having won an impressive seven matches and drawing just three times.

History maybe with La Celeste but they can’t afford to take this game for granted. With several Uruguay players dominating across Europe, several squad members will be looking to step up to the mark for the South Americans.

Diego Godin has been outstanding for Atletico Madrid in the back this season and having already played a UEFA Champions League Final this year, he will be ready to go for several big matches.

He will pair up with West Brom’s Diego Lugano. The central defender will be the anchor for the Uruguayan defence, his 92 caps ranks only second behind Diego Forlan when it comes to most experience on the team.

Luis Suarez is the biggest threat going forward but he is not the only formidable striker, with Edinson Cavani likely to keep 2010 hero Diego Forlan out of the starting side.

They are one of the older squads in Brazil but have real quality in every department, fiercely competitive and are genuine contenders if they can hold it together. 

COSTA RICA

Costa Rica, who finished second in CONCACAF qualifying behind the United States, have participated in three World Cups previously but have made it out of the group stages only once, in 1990 when they beat Scotland and Sweden and narrowly lost to Brazil in the group stage.

Costa Rica don’t have much hope of advancing to the knockout stages in a group that contains Italy, England and opponents Uruguay but they will not go down without a fight.

Los Ticos do have some good players capable of performing on the big stage. Bryan Ruiz is the most established Costa Rican player in Europe and is best known for his stint in the Premier League with Fulham.

Ruiz is Costa Rica's most creative player and could be key to unlocking Uruguay’s steady defence with his quick movement and all round trickery.

Arsenal Loanee Joel Campbell made a good impression in the Champions League for Greek club Olympiakos this season and played a crucial role during the qualifying campaign, scoring three goals, including one in Costa Rica's crucial win over the United States.

Campbell is fast, tricky and can play on either wing or in the middle of the field and is the bright young starlet of Costa Rican football.

Jorge Pinto will be relying on him to trouble the Uruguayans and hopefully grab a goal or two.

If Costa Rica can get off to a good confidence-building start, they could emulate their achievement in 1990 when they reached the round of 16, otherwise, they face a third successive group stage exit.

Their impressive qualifying campaign was founded on their home form but now they must try and keep pace with three former World Cup winners, first off against the South American champions.

Betting Prediction: URUGUAY (-1) handicap 4/10
Uruguay boast one of the most lethal squads at the 2014 FIFA World Cup. With the likes of Suarez, Cavani and Forlan, we could be looking at a goal fest here. Uruguay are tipped confidently for the win at 4/10 and should easily win by more than one goal. 

Written by Chadley Nagel for @Hollywoodbets. Follow them both on Twitter and Facebook now! 

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