Serbia will begin its FIFA World Cup campaign against a plucky Costa Rica side at Samara Arena on Sunday.
5Dimes has Serbia as the favorite in this Group E encounter with odds at -114.94 with Costa Rica at +360 and a draw at +235.
Costa Rica is the underdog in this match and they have the lowest odds to win Group E. However, they were major underdogs in the last World Cup in Brazil where they won their group, which included England, Uruguay, and Italy and lost in the quarterfinals to Holland on penalties.
This will be the first ever meeting between these two teams.
Serbia is back in the World Cup after failing to qualify for the last one. The Serbs are tough to judge by their recent form in friendlies. They won their last beating Bolivia 5-1, but in their last three friendlies facing teams that will participate in Russia they went 1-1-1 beating Nigeria, losing to Morocco, and playing to a draw against Korea Republic.
Costa Rica has a veteran laden squad, whose best player is Real Madrid GK Keylor Navas. He leads the strength of the team, which is the defense that plays a 5-4-1 format so they surround their star goalie with a lot of support. Los Ticos don’t have a great attack an their main FW Marco Urena suffered a facial injury playing in the MLS, but he should be ready to go in this match. Real Betis’ Joel Campbell will spell him in the 2nd half or if he cannot go in this match.
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Bryan Ruiz and Christian Bolanos are the two key players for Costa Rica in the midfield and they will have their hands full with a legit Serbian midfield.
The Serbs will play a 4-2-3-1 formation and their midfield is led by Lazio’s Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, who scored 12 goals in 33 appearances for his Italian club this season. Nemanja Matic and Luka Milivojevic are the two defensive midfielders, but look for them to push forward in this match. Aleksandar Mitrovic is their key striker and played for Fulham this season where he netted 12 goals in only 15 matches while on loan.
Costa Rica really has to keep tabs on MF Nemanja Matic from Manchester United, as he is attack minded and Los Ticos cannot give him space in the middle of the field or he will hurt them. Dusan Tadic and Adem Ljajic will play on the flanks and the Serbs have many attacking options even and showed that netting five goals in their last friendly leading up to the World Cup.
The speed of Urena and Costa Rica has to be a concern for Serbia, who cannot let Los Ticos dictate the tempo if the match.
Costa Rica and Serbia recent form
27/03/18 – Tunisia 1 Costa Rica 0 (Friendly)
03/06/18 – Costa Rica 3 Northern Ireland 0 (Friendly)
07/06/18 – England 2 Costa Rica 0 (Friendly)
11/06/18 – Belgium 4 Costa Rica 1 (Friendly)
23/03/18 – Serbia 1 Morocco 2 (Friendly)
27/03/18 – Nigeria 0 Serbia 2 (Friendly)
04/06/18 – Serbia 0 Chile 1 (Friendly)
09/06/18 – Serbia 5 Bolivia 1 (Friendly)
Costa Rica and Serbia betting prediction
|Best Bet||Odds||Bet Now|
|Costa Rica to win||+360 at WilliamHill||Place Bet|
|Both teams to score||+120 at WilliamHill||Place Bet|
Costa Rica was beaten handily in their last two matches, but they played the big teams of England and Belgium.
While they will not shock the world and win their group in this World Cup, they will play well in this match using their pace and solid defense.
They will not keep a clean sheet, but they will get the minor upset beating Serbia 2-1.
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