Where: Estádio Mineirão, Belo Horizonte, Brazil
When: June 24, 12:00 PM ET
Line: Costa Rica +292 at England -129, tie +242, total 2.0 – view all World Cup lines
What’s at stake
With the Costa Ricans assured of a slot in the next round, and England out of contention, the only thing that’s going to be settled in this match is the order of finish in Group D.
If Costa Rica wins or ties with England, they are assured of the No. 1 spot in the group. But if England wins, then there’s a chance that Costa Rica slides down to the No. 2 position, depending on the outcome of the Italy-Uruguay match.
Betting on Costa Rica
If the rest of Group D didn’t get the memo that Costa Rica is a team to look out for after beating group favorite Uruguay, the Ticos sent them another when they notched their second win against favored Italy. This time, the message was delivered by Bryan Ruiz, who scored the game winner.
Ruiz is the Ticos’ best player and his resurgence should give Costa Rica momentum going into the match against England. Ruiz was a non-factor in the opener against Uruguay, but thankfully for the Central Americans, Joel Campbell was there to pick up the slack, scoring a goal and adding an assist in a surprising show of might on offense from a team known less for scoring than having a stout defense.
That defense rounded into form against Italy, and caused all sorts of trouble for Italy’s midfielders. The Costa Ricans did not allow the Azzurri to progress on offense, often disrupting the Italians’ playmaking attempts.
Moreover, Costa Rica also have at their disposal a fantastic goalie in Keylor Navas. With Navas proving to be very dependable between the sticks, expect the Ticos to have less hesitation when sending their back five deep to deal headaches to England’s midfielders. They know Navas can weather any attacks should some slip through the cracks.
Betting on England
In search for a win before heading back home, the Three Lions will have defend more effectively against Costa Rica than they did against Italy and Uruguay.
England’s defense has clearly been the weakness of the team, and there couldn’t be any better case to make to support that observation than when Uruguay’s Luis Suarez tallied two goals against them, with each being a result of a methodical breakdown of England’s disorganized defense.
Phil Jagielka and Steven Gerrard, who both were singled out as among the goats of that game, could mitigate the criticisms thrown at them if they could contain Costa Rica’s duo of Campbell and Ruiz. They cannot allow the Costa Ricans to dictate the tempo of the game just like what the Ticos did in their last two wins.
On offense, Wayne Rooney was finally able to supply a goal when he scored against Uruguay, but the tap-in was hardly his doing. Rooney also managed to miss several other prime chances, continuing his trend of doing so at the last three World Cups. For Rooney and Daniel Sturridge to produce against Costa Rica, the midfield will need to set up the two strikers better.
England goes out of the tournament with at least some measure of their dignity intact. Rooney scores again as England (-129) win over Costa Rica.