Copa America: Costa Rica analysis

A tactical preview for Costa Rica football team playing in Copa America 2024

Costa Rica are set to play at Copa America 2024, marking their first appearance in the competition since 2016. Gustavo Alfaro’s team are currently ranked 52nd in the world and they find themselves in a difficult group. Brazil, Colombia, and Paraguay are the other three teams on Group D.

While it will be difficult for Costa Rica to reach the Copa America knockout stages, they could potentially mount a surprising run in the competition.

Predicted lineup of Costa Rica National Football Team playing in Copa America

Costa Rican legend and former Real Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas announced retirement from international football ahead of Copa America 2024. Patrick Sequeira is expected to start between the sticks at the Copa America. Coach Alfaro likes to set his team up in a 5-4-1 formation. He is expected to keep the same shape at the upcoming tournament.

Pablo Arboine, Julio Cascante, and Francisco Calvo are expected to be the three center-backs. Joseph Mora and Haxcel Quiros are tipped to be the two full-backs for Alfaro’s side. Orlando Galo, Jefferson Brenes, Alvaro Ramirez, and Warren Madrigal are set to be the four midfielders. Manfred Ugalde is set to be the sole striker.

Costa Rica Predicted Lineup
Costa Rica Predicted Lineup (Buildlineup.com)

Also Read: A tactical preview for Ecuador football team playing in Copa America 2024

Team Strengths:

Defensively sound: Playing five defenders at the back has to have a positive. Costa Rica thrives in transitions and are rarely exposed in counterattacks due to their added numbers in the defense. As a result, they are never the easiest side to score against.

Ability to score: In recent matches, Costa Rica has managed to find the back of the net on a regular basis. Arguably, they haven’t played the level of opponents that they’d do at Copa America 2024. That doesn’t demean their consistency in front of the goal.

Playing forward passes: Costa Rica’s ability to keep hold of the ball is not the best. However, they do manage to find forward passes when in possession. It is a good trait to have. Considering their Copa America Group D opponents, Costa Rica would need efficiency.

Team Weaknesses:

Struggling in possession: Costa Rica have barely kept over 50% possession in recent games. This shows that the team are not confident when they are on the ball and don’t necessarily have the ability to slow a game down.

Lack of goalscorers: Ugalde is the only reliable scorer for Costa Rica. His backup Anthony Contras is coming off a poor season in the Cypriot League with Pafos. While Kenneth Vargas can play as a striker, he is better suited to the wings.

Lack of pressing: While Costa Rica’s defensive solidity is admirable, they aren’t as determined on the other end of the pitch. Costa Rica barely press their opponent in the final third.

Costa Rica Copa America 2024 Key players

Manfred Ugalde
Manfred Ugalde (Getty Images)

Manfred Ugalde: Manfred Ugalde is Costa Rica’s most formidable attacker. He rides a bright spark of form heading into Copa America 2024. Since his January transfer window move to Spartak Moscow, Ugalde has scored seven goals and has set up six more goals for the Russian club.

Kenneth Vargas
Kenneth Vargas (Getty Images)

Kenneth Vargas: Kenneth Vargas is a promising attacker for Costa Rica. He currently plays for Scottish club Heart of Midlothian. Vargas is versatile and can also play as a center-forward.

Jefferson Brenes
Jefferson Brenes (Getty Images)

Jefferson Brenes: Jefferson Brenes is the heart of Costa Rica’s midfield. Brenes can create and is also a force to be reckoned with in set-piece situations. Costa Rica will rely heavily on the Deprtivo Saprissa midfielder.

Conclusion

Costa Rica are perhaps in the most difficult group in the tournament. Earning qualifications would be difficult for them. However, they can’t completely be ruled out from causing an upset.

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