Spain vs Costa Rica predictions and match preview for Wednesday’s World Cup Group E clash. Read on for analysis and predicted lineups as La Roja kick off their campaign.
|Date||Wednesday 23rd November 2022|
|Competition||World Cup Group E|
Spain vs Costa Rica Preview
Spain’s 2022 World Cup campaign kicks off on Wednesday with a match against what is on paper the weakest team in their group. Costa Rica are one of the rank outsiders for the tournament and will hope to frustrate Luis Enrique’s side as much as possible here.
It’ll still be a good test of where Spain are currently at as a side given these are exactly the kinds of games they have struggled with in the past. They have struggled to break down teams who defend deep throughout Luis Enrique’s reign while often saving their best football for the bigger matches. With Germany up next, they will be eager to find a way to put three points on the board here to help take some of the pressure off that match.
Spain did play one warm-up game last week, winning 3-1 against Jordan. It was far from Luis Enrique’s strongest eleven with numerous players rested for this one, however the likes of Ansu Fati and Marco Asensio did manage to stake their claim with assured performances. The makeup of the front three will be the biggest selection dilemma for the Spain boss with first choice striker Alvaro Morata having struggled a bit with injury and illness over the past week while he has six or more options in this squad for the two wide attacking roles.
Costa Rica also played last Thursday, winning 2-0 against Nigeria in San Jose. They made the long trip to Qatar soon after that but will travel with low expectations. Their side still bears quite a strong resemblance to the one that caught everyone by surprise by reaching the Quarter-Finals at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil but many of their stars from that tournament are now well into their 30’s.
Their natural style is to allow their opponents to dominate possession while trying to strike on the break so in theory they could be an awkward opponent for Spain who can struggle against those kinds of teams. However, whether there is really enough quality and legs in this Costa Rica side to keep them at bay for 90 minutes is more doubtful. Keylor Navas, who remains as their first choice keeper and arguably best player, could be in for a busy game.
Simon – Alba, Laporte, Garcia, Carvajal – Gavi, Busquets, Pedri – Sarabia, Morata, Ferran (4-3-3)
Navas – Oviedo, Calvo, Duarte, Martinez – Bennette, Tejeda, Borges, Torres – Campbell, Venegas (4-4-2)
Score Prediction: Spain 1-0 Costa Rica
An early goal for Spain could have a major impact in determining how this game pans out and may allow them to go on and record a comfortable win. If that doesn’t come, Costa Rica could turn this into an awkward afternoon for La Roja and they may need to be patient to find the breakthrough. Over the course of 90 minutes, they should find it but it may be a less convincing win than many are expecting.
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