Costa Rica vs. Serbia
|Date & Time||Sunday June 17, 2018, 8:00 AM (EDT)|
The Line: Serbia -109 / Costa Rica +396 / Draw +238 -- Over/Under: 2
Costa Rica and Serbia meet Sunday in the 2018 World Cup at the Samara Arena.
Costa Rica made the quarterfinals of the 2014 World Cup, but it heads into this match in shaky form, losing six of its last eight matches. Costa Rica was outscored by England and Belgium by a combined score of 6-1, and the Ticos have scored one or less goals in nine of their last 10 matches. Costa Rica simply isn’t catching anyone off guard this time around, and the offensive firepower doesn’t seem to be there to beat some of the better teams in the tournament. Joel Campbell obviously has a nose for the back of the net and Marco Ureña has shown flashes here and there, but Costa Rica must rely heavily on its defense if its going tot survive this tournament. Keylor Navas, one of the top goalies in the field, must play out of his mind like he did in 2014, if Costa Rica has a chance to survive this group.
Serbia returns to the World Cup after missing the tournament in 2014, and this club looks to make it past the group stages for the first time since 1998. Serbia has won four of its last seven matches and is coming off a 5-1 beatdown over Bolivia. Serbia can be a fun team to watch offensively, as there’s a handful of guys a defense must prepare for, including Luka Milivojevic, Aleksandar Mitrovic, Nemanja Matic and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. Serbia has scored two or more goals in three of its last six matches and they often come in buckets when this side gets comfortable. The concern with Serbia is an aging defense that can be soft at times and has allowed at least one goal i four of its last five matches. The Eagles have to have a little more balance to their attack if this tournament is going to be a success for the first time in a long time.
There’s no previous meetings between these two sides.
Serbia is the better team in this match and needs to win in order to have a realistic chance of getting out of this group. Costa Rica has the experience of making a serious run last year and is sharp defensively, but this club is often cooked when it allows a goal. Costa Rica simply doesn’t have the offensive firepower to respond when giving up a goal, and the Eagles have plenty of options to put pressure on this defense.
Give me Serbia in a key victory.