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Can Costa Rica Begin Another Cinderella World Cup Run vs Serbia?

Producing one of the best stories of the 2014 World Cup, Costa Rica qualified for Russia 2018 by virtue of a second-place finish in CONCACAF qualifying and while it’s not likely Los Ticos make it back to the quarterfinals or even out of the group, they’ll have a decent chance to play spoilers in their fourth World Cup appearance.

Kicking off Group E action with a match against Serbia on Sunday, June 17, the Costa Ricans will be underdogs from the hop. Bovada has them at +370 on the three-way moneyline with The Eagles favored to take all three points at -110.

  • Serbia and Costa Rica have never met in an international match.
  • Aleksandar Mitrovic has scored 5 goals in Serbia’s last 3 matches.
  • Costa Rica gave up only 2 goals in 5 matches at the 2014 World Cup.

Does Costa Rica Have a Chance vs Serbia?

With no consensus “Group of Death” heading into the competition, Group E could prove to be just that if Costa Rica can replicate its performance from 2014. For that to happen, though, Real Madrid No. 1 Keylor Navas will have to produce a Golden Glove-worthy effort in Russia and that’s a definite possibility.

The Serbs will hold the large majority of possession in this matchup and Navas will see a high volume of action. If the veteran keeper can stand on his head and help his team quickly counter, Costa Rica has a shot at nicking a result.

That said, the odds for this fixture are more than fair. Joel Campbell and the rest of the Costa Rican attackers will have to be extremely clinical when they get a sniff at net because chances will be few and far between.

Why Serbia Should beat Costa Rica

Stout defensively with the likes of Branislav Ivanovic, Nemanja Matic and Luka Milivojevic patrolling the center of the pitch, the Costa Ricans will not have an easy time breaking into the Serbian half and retaining possession will be nearly impossible for Los Ticos.

As we’ve seen countless times in this sport, though, possession doesn’t always translate to victory. Not known as being the most creative team, Serbia has had trouble unlocking backlines in past competitions but with budding superstar Sergej Milinkovic-Savic driving forward and picking out passes, The Eagles could change that perception in Russia this summer and they can start when they break the ice against Costa Rica on Sunday.

If Navas is able to continue his impression of a brick wall, though, this fixture has a fair shot at ending in a draw.

The Best Bets for Serbia-Costa Rica

Aleksandar Mitrovic has been without a doubt Serbia’s most lethal scorer this year and I like him to find the back of the net against Costa Rica. His price to score anytime is +185 at Bovada but the “Serbian Balotelli” can also be had at +330 to be the match’s first goalscorer.

I am also going to have a go at Serbia to win to nil as I have a hard time seeing Costa Rica breaking through and the +175 line on that prop is far more attractive than the Serbs’ moneyline price.