2018 World Cup Pick and Preview: Brazil vs. Costa Rica June 22, 2018

by | Jun 22, 2018 | Soccer Betting Previews

Matchup at a Glance

Where: Krestovsky Stadium, Saint Petersburg
Date + Time (ET): Friday, 22.06.2018 – 12:00 UTC
Odds: Brazil -570, Draw +599, Costa Rica +1890 @ MyBookie
Quick Pick: Over 2.5 Goals @MyBookie -130

Brazil and Costa Rica will renew the competition in Group E of the 2018 FIFA World Cup when both sides are set to meet at the “Krestovsky Stadium” in Saint Petersburg early on Friday afternoon (local time), 22 June. The Selecao comes after a disappointing 1-1 draw against Switzerland in its opening match, while Costa Rica lost 0-1 to Serbia and another defeat may rule them out of contention. Can Costa Rica find enough enthusiasm in its lines to end a negative run against Brazil or the Brazilians will strike another victory over the Central American country? Let's find out.

Head-to-head History

This will be the 11th meeting in the head-to-head soccer history of Brazil and Costa Rica, with two of the previous 10 games standing out from the rest. Indeed, this won't be the first ever World Cup fixture involving the teams of Brazil and Costa Rica who have already met at Italy 1990 and at South Korea 2002. Brazil was victorious in both occasions, winning 1-0 in 1990 and 5-2 in 2002. Both games were once again part of the group stage schedule.

The overall balance is: 9 wins for Brazil and a single win of Costa Rica, dating back in March 1960. Brazil has won in eight consecutive games ever since.

The most recent meeting between Brazil and Costa Rica took place in September 2015 at neutral venue and has ended 1-0 with an only goal scored by Hulk.

Game Preview

Brazil couldn't enjoy a proper beginning of their World Cup venture as the Selecao struggled to materialize its scoring chances against a well-defending Swiss team. Neymar was closely marked and neutralized by Valon Behrami, who even received death threats after a few hard tackles on the Brazilian superstar. Thus Neymar failed to leave a mark on the game due to Behrami's tenacious marking and the 26-years-old Brazil forward will hope to be fully fit to improve his World Cup record against Costa Rica on Friday.
Neymar limped out of Brazil’s training session on Tuesday because of pain in his right ankle. The Brazilian soccer confederation said Neymar had been in pain since Brazil’s draw against Switzerland on Friday and that Neymar left as a precaution. Everyone expects him to be ready in time for the second World Cup fixture against Costa Rica.

Tite will probably stick to the same starting formation (4-3-3), with an attacking trio Neymar-Gabriel Jesus-Willian. Philippe Coutinho, who scored a real screamer against Switzerland, will remain in midfield alongside Casemiro and Paulinho. In worst possible scenario, if Neymar must miss out, his absence could see Coutinho pushed into a more advanced role and Renato Augusto start in midfield.

Costa Rica lost its opening game against Serbia (0-1) and hits the Group E bottom. Another defeat may virtually knock Costa Rica out of the World Cup and coach Oscar Ramirez will have no choice but to stick to his defensive-oriented 3-4-2-1 that can quickly transform into 5-4-1. Anyway, some rotations in Costa Rica's starting lineup are very likely and we won't be surprised if Francisco Calvo replaces Johnny Acosta in central defense, while Bryan Oviedo takes his position on left wingback.

Changes are also expected in midfield where Joel Campbell and Christian Bolanos both compete to start in place of Johan Venegas. Meanwhile, captain Bryan Ruiz and centre-forward Marcos Urena will most likely keep their starting spots and should represent the biggest threat for Brazil's defense.

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Possible Lineups of Brazil and Costa Rica

Brazil: Alisson – Danilo, Thiago Silva, Miranda, Marcelo – Paulinho, Casemiro, Philippe Coutinho – Willian, Gabriel Jesus, Neymar. (4-3-3)

Costa Rica: Keylor Navas – Oscar Duarte, Giancarlo Gonzalez, Francisco Calvo – Cristian Gamboa, Celso Borges, David Guzman, Bryan Oviedo – Bryan Ruiz, Joel Campbell – Marcos Urena. (3-4-2-1)

Conclusion and Betting Pick

Brazil are reasonably considered strong favorites in this match and everyone expects them to get their first three points at this year's World Cup against the Ticos. Nevertheless, betting odds on Brazil to win here are too low and we definitely don't like betting on such values. That's why we fancy betting on the goal scoring markets and we expect more open soccer here – if Brazil scores an early goal or at least a first-half goal, Costa Rica won't have another option than to open up and to try scoring as well. We expect some goals in Saint Petersburg and we suggest betting on “Over 2.5 Goals”.

After an unpleasing draw against Switzerland, Neymar and his teammates must prove why they're considered the greatest World Cup pretenders among all 32 teams fighting in Russia.


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