Know the Opposition - Costa Rica

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Stephen Brandt is back with his view from overseas, and getting the England Fans up to date on Group D opponent Costa Rica.

FIFA Ranking: 31

Last World Cup: Did Not Qualify
Coach: Jorge Luis Pinto
Colors: Red/White
Nickname: Ticos

World Cup 2014 is coming upon us ever so slowly, and now we know the nations that England will play on their road to the final.

One such nation is Costa Rica. I'm based in America, so I get to see a lot of Costa Rica, and most fans don't like the thought of playing against them. The team includes a lot of very good players, but they play such a typical CONCAFF style. By this I mean they are weak at the back, strong upfront, and have problems in the midfield area.

They can be very lethal in and around the box, with Fulham striker Brian Ruiz, and Major League Soccer (MLS) player Alvaro Sabario, of Real St. Lake doing most of the damage. Joel Campbell, who is owned by Arsenal is a dangerous player, he is currently playing on loan at Olympiacos.

However like many teams in the region, they have problems at the back, similar to the United States team. If you are looking for someone who will provide flair and red cards, that man can be found in the temperamental Sabario. He has quite the temper, and once kicked a ball at a kid during training, Ah, we need more fun in these matches.

The thing with Costa Rica, the most successful Central American team,  is that they are out for redemption. They missed out on the last world cup (South Africa 2010) having failed to qualify from their group. The Ticos are in their fourth World Cup Finals, and are looking stronger each year. A memorable match from their Hexagonal qualification was the 1-0 loss to the United States in Denver in March of this year. That was also the famous snow game here in the states.

The key is that Costa Rica despite their play and problems at the back, are a good team, they beat USA and not a very well put together Mexico to finish second in their group. Predicting what a team can do off of what they did against "Named" countries can be a problem. Mexico has been horrible for a while, heck they've had more managers in a year than Chelsea has had in two. (Four) And that's saying a lot.

If you are looking for an exciting match, the England v Costa Rica match won't be one for the ages. It might actually set the sport back a couple decades. Costa Rica is more interested in bunkering, and grinding out a point, than going for the win. They have the talent to do some damage if they pull themselves out of the boring system they seem to have adopted. You don't want to sleep on the Tico's.

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