Costa Rica vs Paraguay- Preview and Prediction
Reigning Copa Centroamericana champions Costa Rica are set to face last summer’s Copa America semifinalists Paraguay to open their 2016 Copa America Centenario stint in a match to be held at the Camping World Stadium in Orlando Florida on Saturday, June 4.
Costa Rica and Paraguay joins the United States and Colombia to form Group A, dubbed as the “Group of Death” by some football analysts, of the four-group tournament.
Los Ticos is coming off a two-year mercurial campaign under two different head coaches and will head into the Centenario with a third one.
The team made the quarters of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil with manager Jorge Luis Pinto at the helm while former national team player Paulo Wanchope guided them to another last-eight finish during the CONCACAF Gold Cup last year, as per the Los Angeles Times.
This time, 51-year-old Costa Rica legend Oscar Ramirez will lead the squad in the historic competitions and because of that much is expected from the national team at the moment. Ramirez began his head coaching stint with a 1-0 triumph over USMNT in October of last year then followed it by going undefeated in four consecutive World Cup qualifying matches over Haiti, Panama, and two against Jamaica.
La Sele’s main players are still their forward trio of team captain Bryan Ruiz of Sporting CP, Joel Campbell of Arsenal, and Alvaro Saborio of DC United.
Meanwhile, Paraguay’s last two years have also been unstable as there had been an influx of young players to replace the old ones in the national team.
Veterans Justo Villar, Paulo da Silva, and Nelson Haedo Valdez will still be in the US competitions, but the fate of the squad is now undoubtedly in the hands of 25-year-old Ingolstadt 04 striker Dario Lezcano. Top goal scorer Roque Santa Cruz was not included in the lineup, via The Big Lead.
Supporting Lezcano will be 23-year-olds Oscar Romero and Gustavo Gomez, which brings a unique pace in Los Guaraníes game.
Paraguay is in dire need of offense with its limited number of goal scoring options up front, while, in contrast, Los Ticos has a three-pronged attack to choose from.
The predicted result is a 2-1 victory for Costa Rica.
Costa Rica starting lineup (4-3-3 formation): Navas; Gamboa, Umaña, Acosta, Duarte; Bolaños, Borges, Venegas; Saborio, Ruiz, Campbell
Paraguay starting lineup (4-4-2 formation): Villar; Samudio, da Silva, Piris, Gomez; Romero, Sanabria, Iturbe, Ayala; Valdez, Lezcano