Costa Rica made their sixth appearance at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar last December and had a tournament that was memorable.
They were close to qualifying for the round of 16 until a late capitulation against Germany in the last game of their group.
The tournament may have ended in a bust for Los Ticos but there was some promise shown at the showcase of the world’s biggest team.
With the most promising sports betting strategies in mind, Overlyzer takes a look at Los Ticos, their most promising players and what’s next for the team.
Costa Rica in international tournaments
Costa Rica are one of the top three teams in CONCACAF, the football confederation for North America, the Caribbeans and Central America.
They joined the confederation in 1961 but have been a member of FIFA since 1927. They are also a member of the Central American Football Union (UNCAF) sub-confederation.
They are the most successful UNCAF team, having won eight titles and four runners-up medals. They have won three CONCACAF Gold Cups, one runners-up medals and four third place medals.
They made their World Cup debut in 1990 and have been to five other tournaments since then. Their best performance in that tournament is their quarter final exit from the 2014 World Cup which Brazil hosted and Germany won.
That was a historic tournament for them because they topped a group that had Uruguay, Italy and England in it. They would defeat Greece in the round of 16 via penalties before being knocked out by eventual third place team Netherlands in the quarter finals.
Costa Rica at the 2022 FIFA World Cup
Los Ticos made it to the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar through the inter confederation playoffs after goal difference made them miss out on the top three CONCACAF qualification spots.
They were ranked in the top five of CONCACAF teams before then, but seventh-place Canada shocked them as well as top two teams Mexico and the United States of America to finish first in the qualifiers.
Costa Rica faced off against New Zealand from the Oceania region and a 1 – 0 victory over the Kiwis got them their World Cup ticket.
At the tournament, they were grouped with Japan, Germany and Spain. This was one of the most intense groups of the tournament. It lived up to its billing as one of the groups to watch out for thanks to the upsets that it produced.
Despite their fight in the latter stages, they will be remembered for their 7 – 0 loss against Spain in their first game. That was the 2022 tournament’s biggest loss and also the biggest loss in their football history (Mexico defeated them by the same scoreline in 1975).
They finished last in their group but were able to score three goals (one against Japan for their only win, and two in a 4 – 2 loss to Germany, who also got knocked out at the group stages).
Stand out players for Costa Rica at the 2022 World Cup (players to watch)
A few players stood out in their cameo, however.
Veterans Keylor Navas and Joel Campbell gave good accounts of themselves. Their presences, however were not enough to help Los Ticos repeat their 2014 World Cup performance which was described as memorable among lesser teams by many media outlets.
Alongside these two, who are the country’s most recognizable players, another veteran Bryan Ruiz also stood out for the side. Ruiz would retire from football after the tournament, despite many wanting him to play with Los Ticos at the CONCACAF Gold Cup in the summer of 2023.
Celso Borges, Costa Rica’s most capped player in history (158 appearances) also had his moments but like Ruiz, he is not one to look forward to. He will most likely be retiring from the national team after the summer Gold Cup.
One player that Los Ticos fans will be looking forward to seeing his growth is Roan Wilson. The 20-year-old played only a few minutes at the tournament but he made enough of an impact to show that he is one for the future.
Currently playing his trade at Gil Vicente in Portugal, he is already gearing up to replace Ruiz in the middle of the park for the Central American team.
Brandon Aguilera is another young midfielder who the country will hope can give as much as Borges has done. A host of other young players like Manfred Ugalde, Jewison Bennette and Christopher Nunez are also waiting on the sidelines for the Navas-Campbell-Ruiz-Borges generation to pass the torch to them.
Bennette is rising in stocks among these stars, thanks to his comparison to Campbell, who has been Los Ticos biggest star for many years.
What next for Costa Rica?
They will be looking for redemption in the 2023 Gold Cup in the summer.
Having achieved number three in the CONCACAF rankings (via FIFA), they will be gearing up for a fourth Gold Cup win.
The tournament will be hosted in Canada and the United States and Los Ticos have been grouped with Panama, El Salvador and an unknown team who will be decided upon after a preliminary match fixture.
They are the favourites to go through from their group alongside Panama according to the most promising sports betting strategies available on Overlyzer, but it will take Luis Fernando Suarez some work to bring his new team together following the 2022 World Cup.