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Costa Rica

Drawn in the “Group of Death” Costa Rica will be relying on a super performance from Keylor Navas in goal. (Photo by Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images)

2022 FIFA World Cup Team Previews: Costa Rica

Costa Rica
Drawn in the “Group of Death” Costa Rica will be relying on a super performance from Keylor Navas in goal. (Photo by Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images)

2022 FIFA World Cup Team Previews: Costa Rica

The 2022 FIFA World Cup is less than a month away from kicking off in Qatar. Over the next 32 days, I will be previewing each team that will be taking part in the world’s most-watched event. Check out all of the team previews that have been done so far. Up next is Costa Rica.

Costa Rica is one of the more underrated teams in CONCACAF and just missed out on automatic qualifying by having a significantly worse goal difference than the United States. It took “Los Ticos” a 1-0 win against New Zealand in the Inter-Confederation Playoff to secure a spot in the 2022 World Cup. A third-minute goal from Joel Campbell was the difference. In 2022, Costa Rica has been playing quite well with only one loss in 11 matches and has wins over both the United States and Canada. With a very experienced squad, Costa Rica could put a scare in the big dogs of Group E.

World Cup Appearances

It was not until 1990 that Costa Rica made their first World Cup appearance, but in recent years they have been a regular participant. In the last five World Cups, “Los Ticos” have been a part of four of them only missing out in 2010. The 2022 World Cup will be the sixth-ever appearance for Costa Rica in soccer’s premier competition.

Best Finish at a World Cup

Twice in their five previous appearances, Costa Rica made it out of the group stage. In their first World Cup in 1990 “Los Ticos” made it to the Round of 16 before losing 4-1 to Czechoslovakia. They made the knockout stage that year after finishing second in their group behind Brazil.

However, the best World Cup finish for Costa Rica came in 2014 with an incredible performance. Drawn in the “Group of Death” with England, Italy, and Uruguay, Costa Rica shocked the world by winning the group and conceding just one goal in the process. They rode the momentum to a penalty win against Greece before falling to the Netherlands on penalties in the quarterfinal. Had they beaten the Netherlands, “Los Ticos” would have been the second-ever CONCACAF team to make a World Cup semifinal.

Key players

As it was in the 2014 quarterfinal appearance for Costa Rica, goalkeeper Keylor Navas will be tough to score against. The PSG player and former Real Madrid star was once one of the best goalkeepers in the world. Now, this could be a farewell tournament for Navas, 35, and he’ll want to go out with a bang.

Navas is not the only player for “Los Ticos” that brings a wealth of experience, as Costa Rica’s two most capped players will also be making the trip to Qatar. Midfielders Celso Borges and Bryan Ruiz will have played in more than 300 matches combined by the time the 2022 World Cup starts. As of now, Borges has 154 caps while “Los Ticos” captain Ruiz has 144 caps.

Another player that has been a part of Costa Rica’s last two World Cup appearances is forward Joel Campbell. Campbell has played in 119 matches for Costa Rica and has 25 goals to his name, good for seventh most behind both Ruiz and Borges. 


Colombian-born Luis Fernando Suárez will be managing his third World Cup with a third different nation. In 2006, Suárez was in charge of Ecuador and made it to the Round of 16. In 2014, he managed Honduras and went out in the group stage. With a veteran Costa Rica team, Suárez will be looking to lead his new team to the knockout stage. 

Biggest Group Game – vs. Japan on Nov. 27

Group E is brutal with Germany and Spain leading the way so beating Japan could be the best result for Costa Rica. Japan is no slouch at all though, as they are the 24th ranked team in the FIFA rankings while “Los Ticos” sit at 31st. A win against Japan paired with a shock result against Germany or Spain could see Costa Rica advance out of the “Group of Death” once again.


We have seen Costa Rica surprise everyone in a “Group of Death” before, just look at the 2014 World Cup. The only difference between the 2014 and 2022 teams is that eight years ago it was the start of all their careers, while 2022 could be the end for many of those same players. It would be great to see Costa Rica cause some upsets, but I just don’t see lightning striking twice. Costa Rica will end their 2022 World Cup in the group stage despite getting a win against Japan.


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