Betting tip World Cup 2018: Costa Rica - Serbia

Sunday, 17.06.2018 at 14:00 o’clock (CET)

Is Costa Rica good for another sensation?

Costa Rica was the big surprise at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. A scenario the Central Americans would love to repeat in Russia. To get their tournament underway, in the first round of matches in the group phase they will go up against the team from Serbia. As usual, in our 2018 World Cup betting tips we provide you with everything you need to know about the current form of both teams. Kickoff is on June 17 at 2 PM.

Costa Rica

  • pressure is clearly on the opponent
  • strong on the counterattack

Serbia

  • lots of offensive dynamism
  • physical advantages
  • significantly better personnel

Current Form of Costa Rica

In our opinion, Costa Rica goes into their match against Serbia as a slight underdog. This doesn’t necessarily mean a thing, of course, as the finals in Brazil clearly showed us. Nonetheless: If we take the entire calendar of international matches during 2018 as our point of reference, it becomes quite apparent that the team of Oscar Ramirez is the underdog. The team has played a total of 5 matches this calendar year, but only managed to win 2 of them, the other 3 ending in defeat. One of these was their recent duel against Belgium, which the Central Americans clearly lost 1:4. In fact, they were outclassed in every aspect of the match. In 90 minutes, Costa Rica only managed to control ball possession 33% of the time, and during certain phases was dominated by their opponent. They only managed a single shot on their opponent’s goal, compared to the 9 shots they gave up. One plus in all of this for Costa Rica: They did prove themselves to be very efficient since, as we can see, they did turn that one shot into an actual goal. And if they can score against Belgium, they can certainly do the same against Serbia. Not least because the Central Americans’ system will likely be focused on quick counterattacks, while the Serbian defense – as we saw during qualifying for Russia – is not always rock-solid. We also see certain problems for Costa Rica in standard situations. Even though they have an international-caliber goalkeeper in Keylor Navas of Real Madrid, due to his height he is not always a sure thing when dealing with high crosses. Against a robust team from Serbia with a number of players who head the ball well, this is definitely a factor that speaks against the underdog. However, on the goal line itself Navas is beyond a doubt one of the best in the business. That said, the results prior to the whipping by Belgium provide only minimal reason to hope for a successful start to their finals campaign: against England they lost 0:2, while versus World Cup spectator Northern Ireland they were indeed able to celebrate a 3:0 success. In free kick situations, Costa Rica is definitely good for a goal. We note a paradox, however, when we bear in mind the problems their opponents have in standard situations. That notwithstanding, if we take the match against Northern Ireland as an example, we see that 2 of their 3 goals resulted from standard situations. Key offensive players – as was the case in 2014 – include playmakers Bryan Ruiz, Celso Borges and Joel Camphell, meaning that Serbia should be prepared for numerous attacks coming at them from their right-hand side. Costa Rica enjoys the additional advantage that – just as in 2014 – they are under absolutely no pressure, which is not something you can say about their opponent.

Current Form of Serbia

Serbia kicks off their group phase with what is undoubtedly a difficult and unpleasant test. That said, it is fair to assume that these players from the Balkans are up to the task. However, there are a number of factors that do not necessarily speak in favor of Serbia and with which we want to begin our prediction: On the one hand, there has been a lot of unrest swirling about this team in the months since they clinched qualification and during the run-up to the World Cup. After friction with the Serbian FA, successful coach Slavoljub Muslin was replaced by Mladen Krstaljic, who has had only limited success in continuing the winning tradition of his predecessor. Here is a brief comparison: Under Muslin, the team only lost one international in 2017, a 2:3 against Austria in Vienna. Other than that, they chalked up no fewer than 5 victories in 9 matches, while in 4 of those wins they did not even concede a single goal. For the most part, the ex-coach had managed to stabilize the team’s defense compared to autumn 2016, while their quick counterattacks were much more confident. In comparison to that record, Serbia has played 4 matches in 2018 and only in 50% of these did they come out on top. However, in 3 of those 4 matches they gave up at least one goal. That said: Their dress rehearsal for their first World Cup match against Costa Rica was more than successful. Serbia clearly beat the team from Bolivia 5:1. However, just a few days beforehand, they were forced to accept a 0:1 defeat at the hands of Chile, a team which, in our opinion, plays a similar style to Costa Rica. That notwithstanding, every sports tipster should be in no doubt that Serbia has a clear advantage over their opponent in this upcoming match in terms of personnel. If we look at the Serbian squad, we see that it is riddled with players who earn their money with top clubs. One enormously important building block for the team is playmaker Sergej Milinkovic-Savic of Lazio, while Nemanja Matic of Manchester United is also a world-class midfielder. We also see strengths on their wings in the form of players like Tadic and Kostic, both of whom are likely to cause Costa Rica problems. In addition to that, in Aleksandar Mitrovic they have a true finisher who was successful 3 times against Bolivia alone, while Luka Jovic of Eintracht Frankfurt is also available to them, one of the best “jokers” of the past season in the Bundesliga. In other words, Serbia boasts an enormous amount of tempo and offensive dynamism, a factor which might well tilt the scales on Sunday in their favor.

Prediction and Betting Tip

As we have said, Serbia enters this match as a favorite. They have a good blend of experience and youth, and can draw on a much broader depth of talent. Because of this, we would risk a bet on the Europeans winning this match, not least because the odds for such an outcome are more than appealing: Tip 2.

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