Focus on Costa Rica ahead of England friendly at Elland Road

Costa Rica are England’s opponents in their final friendly warm-up match before both sides head to Russia for the World Cup.

Here, FP runs the rule over Los Ticos.

History

Costa Rica did not lose a match at the 2014 World Cup until a penalty shoot-out defeat to Holland in the quarter-finals.
Costa Rica did not lose a match at the 2014 World Cup until a penalty shoot-out defeat to Holland in the quarter-finals (Nick Potts/EMPICS)

Costa Rica have played at four previous World Cups, their debut coming in 1990 when they reached the last 16. Their best performance came in the 2014 tournament in Brazil, where they did not lose a match until they were knocked out by Holland on penalties in the quarter-finals. Costa Rica secured their place in Russia by finishing runners-up to Mexico in the final round of CONCACAF qualifying. They beat Scotland 1-0 in March in Alex McLeish’s first game back as manager.

Previous

England played out a goalless draw against Costa Rica in the last World Cup having already been eliminated.
England played out a goalless draw against Costa Rica in the last World Cup, having already been eliminated (Nick Potts/PA)

Costa Rica played out a goalless draw in a dead rubber against Roy Hodgson’s side, having already famously topped their group at the 2014 World Cup – a pool in which England finished bottom, also behind Italy and Uruguay. From that Costa Rica squad, 14 players will be going to Russia. In contrast, England have just five survivors from four years ago: Phil Jones, Gary Cahill, Danny Welbeck, Jordan Henderson and Raheem Sterling. The latter three were all substitutes against the Central Americans, with only Sterling coming on.

Manager

Costa Rica manager Oscar Ramirez is one of the most successful coaches in the country's history.
Costa Rica manager Oscar Ramirez is one of the most successful coaches in the country’s history (Jane Barlow/PA)

Oscar Ramirez was appointed three years ago after previous boss Paulo Wanchope, who played for Derby and Manchester City, resigned following a brawl in the stands at an under-23s game in Panama. Ramirez is a former Costa Rica international with 75 caps, and won multiple league titles as a boss with Alajuelense prior to taking up the post with the national team.

Players

Costa Rica’s squad features several recognisable names. The most high profile is goalkeeper Keylor Navas, who joined up with the squad after winning a third successive Champions League crown with Real Madrid. That might be an uncomfortable reunion for Liverpool duo Trent Alexander-Arnold and Jordan Henderson, who were on the losing side in Kiev. Former Fulham forward Bryan Ruiz captains the side, which also includes Sunderland and ex-Everton defender Bryan Oviedo, Arsenal’s Joel Campbell and Celtic’s Cristian Gamboa.

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