Costa Rica - Byran Ruiz - Fulham

Clive Mason

When following England to the World Cup finals, you should know the players in the teams they'll play against. We'll start off by profiling Bryan Ruiz of Fulham.

While we are patiently waiting for the World Cup in Brazil, we should get to know some of the players who could cause us some problems, starting with Costa Rica. We're fortunate that some of these players do play in the EPL, so you'll get a fair shot of viewing the player before the teams line-up in the Summer. Or better yet you can do your own advanced scouting of a player.

Up first is one of their stars, Fulham's Bryan Ruiz. For fans of the European game, he's been well known for a while. Either when he was at FC Twente with Steve McClaren or at Fulham with Martin Jol.

However, he does have a very good left foot, to deliver the ball into the box or find the back of the net. He's better when he's played as an attacking midfielder. That's something, which the coaches at Twente and Costa Rica have done, partly because they have had the talent around them to build around him. At Fulham he's really never had two strikers up top, or more attackers to deliver the ball to, so he's had to play up front where is perhaps isn't quite as dangerous. That makes him a second forward, who would be better used as a Lionel Messi, or a False 9. Kind of like Landon Donnovan but taller, and with better hair.

He also can be pushed off the ball, can be dominated, and harassed, basically like any attacker. So the harder you are, the better you can play against him. Ruiz at the international level in his region doesn't have to play against many hardmen at all. Distract him enough, or get him off his game, and you can stop one of the attackers of the Costa Rica team.

With Costa Rica, he plays as their star, he's after all the biggest name, and the one with the most experience on the team. his last eight goals (he's got 12) have come during World Cup Qualifiers, and resulted in four wins, two losses, and three ties.

English fans are used to him, and the players are more than used to seeing him come at them. The key with this version of the 3 Lions, is to be as physical as they can, without crossing the line.

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