Saturday 4 February 2023

Can Costa Rica win the 2021 CONCACAF Nations League Finals?

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As the biggest European nations prepare for their major tournament in Euro 2020, the CONCACAF countries are also vying for glory too in the Nations League finals.

And although there is plenty of Premier League interest in Euro 2020 with England the favourites for the tournament, there are also quite a few recognizable names from England’s top tier competing in the Nations League Finals. Unfortunately for Costa Rica, our Premier League representation has dwindled to nothing in recent years but even so, we’re still looking quite the competitive side.

It’s true that Los Ticos have found it difficult to wins matches recently, but with such an expe3rienced squad, there’s plenty of reason to be hopeful about winning the Nations League finals. In this article, we’ll rate the chances of Costa Rica bringing the trophy home to San José.

Costa Rica could win the 2021 CONCACAF Nations League
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Squad

Costa Rica have a wealth of talent for a country with a population of barely five million people. PSG Goalkeeper Keylor Navas is one of the finest stoppers in the world and has been an ever-present in the squad since he was dropped way back in 2018. Although he is the only player of Champions League quality in the nation, there are others with Premier League experience.

Bryan Oviedo has made over 50 appearances in the top flight of English football for Everton and Sunderland. Tricky winger Bryan Ruiz is the captain of the international side and racked up a phenomenal 127 international caps. Ruiz has even won silverware in Europe as he won the Dutch Eredivisie with Twente.

Costa Rica’s frontline is speared by former Arsenal prodigy Joel Campbell, who at 28-years-old will soon land his 100th cap for Los Ticos.

Fixtures and Form

Costa Rica had the most competitive qualifying group for the tournament and that was evident from the hard fought fixtures vs Curacao and Haiti. Los Ticos boasted an unbeaten record in qualifying but only one win and three draws demonstrates the fine margins between a group win and not qualifying.

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Costa Rica are the lowest of the fours seeds for the tournament with Mexico the highest ranked, followed by Honduras and the USA. Costa Rica will face favourites Mexico on June 3rd and whilst the gulf in class between the sides seems large on paper, it could well come down to the fitness of Mexico’s lead striker Raul Jimenez. The Wolves poacher has been out injured with a fractured skull for six months, but manager Nuno Espírito Santo believes that the scorer could be back before the tournament begins.

Mexico will struggle to beat Costa Rica goalkeeper Keylor Navas – one of the world’s leading Number Ones – without Jimenez and that could give the underdogs the chance to progress to the final.

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