Betting tips for Costa Rica v Greece: Predicted line-ups & essential facts and stats

Predicted line-ups:

Costa Rica: Navas, Gamboa, Diaz Campbell, Miller, Gonzalez, Duarte, Ruiz, Borges, Campbell, Tejeda Valverde, Brenes

Greece: Glykos, Torosidis, Holebas, Karagounis, Manolas, Papastathopoulos, Salpingidis, Maniatis, Samaras, Samaris, Christodoulopoulos

Captain Kostas Katsouranis will be available again after serving a suspension in the previous match, while Panagiotis Kone is a doubt.

Preview:

Costa Rica and Greece will clash in Recife on Sunday in a battle of the tournament outsiders.

Costa Rica emerged as the surprise team of the World Cup thus far. Los Ticos managed to shock the entire football world, topping the ultimate Group of Death of the tournament by beating Uruguay and Italy, and holding England to a draw, en route to a Round of 16 qualification. Jorge Luis Pinto’s side have reached the knockout stages of the World Cup for only the second time in their history; the first was in 1990 when they eventually lost 4-1 against Czechoslovakia in the last 16.

The Greeks have quite a story to tell themselves. After losing 0:3 to Colombia in their opening game and drawing with Japan many assumed the Greek episode in Brazil has come to its conclusion. However a dramatic win against the Ivory Coast in their final matchday has seen Fernando Santos’ side progress to the second round for the first time in its history.

Georgios Samaras showed he has nerves of steel when his team was awarded a penalty kick in the dying minutes of Monday’s fixture, and he stepped up to take it knowing an entire nation’s fate lies on his shoulders. His winning goal ended his personal goalscoring drought of 1478 minutes with the national team.

Despite Greece’s infamous defensive reputation, manager Santos believes they have shown the world they can also attack and play offensively: ”We showed against Ivory Coast how well we can defend but also how good we can be in attack. We created a lot of chances and we kept attacking until the end. Even when we conceded the 74th-minute equaliser, we continued to attack,” said the 59 year old.

Costa Rica arrive as the slight favourites, but with the Greek defence always lined up perfectly, it’s hard to tell whether
Jorge Luis Pinto can continue his style of play against a side which barely allows any space within 20 yards of the box. Then again, neither did Italy and Costa Rica still emerged victorious.

Look for Costa Rica to be in charge of the style of play and seek to attack right away, while the Greeks will hope they can find the gaps in the Costa Rican team and capitalise on them.

Prediction: Costa Rica 1 – Greece 0

Some essential facts and stats to help with online betting:

This will be the first ever meeting between Costa Rica and Greece.

The last team from CONCACAF to go further than the last 16 at the World Cup are the USA in 2002.

Greece’s seven wins at major tournaments have never been by more than one clear goal (four 1-0 and three 2-1 wins).

Greece have only won two of their nine World Cup games, both against African sides (v Nigeria in 2010 & Ivory Coast in 2014).

Greece have scored in only two of their nine games at the World Cup (the two 2-1 wins v Nigeria & Ivory Coast).

Greece have only kept one clean sheet in nine World Cup games, against Japan in 2014 (0-0).

Costa Rica are yet to concede a goal from open play at this World Cup, the only one they have let in being Edinson Cavani’s penalty.

None of Costa Rica’s four goals at this World Cup have been scored before the 44th minute.

Meanwhile, each of Greece’s four goals in World Cup history have been scored from the 42nd minute onwards.

Costa Rica have surrendered possession in each of their three games so far at this World Cup, their highest ratio being 44.4% against Uruguay.

Samaras’ penalty against Ivory Coast is his only shot on target so far at this World Cup (270 minutes played).

Joel Campbell was involved in two of Costa Rica’s four goals at this World Cup (1 goal, 1 assist).

Keylor Navas has saved seven of the eight shots on target he’s faced in this World Cup.

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England Vs. Costa Rica: Prediction, TV Channel, Preview And Betting Odds

After opening games against Euro 2012 finalists Italy and 2010 World Cup semifinalists Uruguay, few people would have anticipated that either England or Costa Rica would enter their final group match already assured of qualification for the Round of 16. Anyone claiming two weeks ago that the team with their passage out of Group D booked would be Costa Rica would have been looked upon with a heavy dose of ridicule.

Yet, after brilliantly topping Uruguay and then Italy, countries with six World Cup triumphs between them, Costa Rica, with just three match wins at the World Cup finals prior to 10 days ago, are already looking ahead to taking part in the knockout phase for only the second time in their history. In contrast, England — the third previous World Cup winner in what was thought to be a three-way battle for progression from Group D — go into their final match with their minds already thinking of going home.

It is the first time ever that England has lost its first two matches at the World Cup and the first time the country will exit before the knockout phase since 1958. In some senses the reaction from the notoriously blood-thirsty national media back in England has been predictably lacking in perspective; calling for everyone involved to apologize for the “humiliation.” In other ways, though, the backlash has been less vicious. Coach Roy Hodgson will remain in charge with the signs being that he will do so without yet being hounded in the same way as most of his predecessors.

Fine margins in back-to-back 2-1 defeats against tough teams is on the face of it no disgrace. Indeed, the opening performance in the loss to Italy fuelled much optimism that England were on the right track. New players like Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge showed that they were ready to mix it on the biggest stage and brought fresh life after the famed “golden generation” of the last decade had so dismally failed to match expectations for their country.

But there were also reasons for that defeat which needed to be addressed heading into a make-or-break match with Uruguay. Hodgson failed to do so and Uruguay coach Oscar Washington did a tactical number on his counterpart to take full advantage and send England out. In this defeat there were few saving graces for England; they had been deservedly beaten. One of the game’s most experienced and considered coaches, Hodgson appeared to have gotten swept away in the enthusiasm for young, attacking vitality and neglected to ensure that the team had a basic shape to allow those players to flourish. Captain Steven Gerrard, never the most tactically disciplined, was horribly outnumbered in a two-man central midfield alongside Liverpool teammate Jordan Henderson.

In terms of the tournament, Hodgson has come up short. Still, reason for optimism remains going forward, and he will be desperately hoping that strong signs of that are visible against Costa Rica in Belo Horizonte. With nothing to play for but pride, England’s team will be much changed. Gerrard will drop out, to be replaced in the team and as captain by Frank Lampard. Meanwhile, the likes of 18-year-old Luke Shaw, 20-year-old Ross Barkley and 22-year-old Phil Jones are all expected to take their place in the starting lineup. It could be a vibrant swansong, a hint of what might have been and what could be in the future.

But England will have learned by now not to underestimate Costa Rica, especially with Los Ticos now aiming to get the point needed to improbably secure top spot in the group. What has been most impressive about Jorge Luis Pinto’s side is that, while they have produced stoic defensive efforts, they have achieved their headline-making back-to-back wins over two of the game’s powers not simply by grinding out ultra-defensive victories. Against Uruguay, they were able to come back from a goal down before against Italy keeping a proactive high-defensive line to press the high-quality Azzurri midfield.

The pace in attack of Joel Campbell has been complimented by the quality of Christian Bolanos and Bryan Ruiz, together with real offensive intent from wing-backs Christian Gamboa and Junior Diaz. Pinto has admitted though, that, while going for the win, he will also be taking the chance to rest several players against England as he seeks to get his team in peak condition for their Round-of-16 contest.

Prediction

The drop off in quality by rotating lineups is likely to be felt greater by Costa Rica than England. Indeed, a midfield featuring Lampard, Jack Wilshere, James Milner and Adam Lallana should give England more balance, if not the same attacking thrust. Still, with England’s second-choice defense failing to convince in a warm up match against Ecuador and the pressure off both teams, there should be goals in store. Much will depend on just how much Pinto alters his side, with the loss of too many key men giving England the chance to at least bow out with a win.

England 2-1 Costa Rica