As has been the case throughout the tournament so far Costa Rica have had the privilege of having no injuries or suspensions and will subsequently go into their last 16 game with Greece with their strongest 11.
After being expected to make numerous changes for the game for their final group game with England manager Pinto only made a couple of alterations with Miller coming in at centre back and Brenes starting on the left wing. Those two players are expected to drop back to the bench with first choice Umana and Bolanos coming back into the team in the sides favoured 5-4-1 formation.
Brenes could prove to be an important addition off the bench in what is expected to be a very compact game whilst forward Urena is another who has impressed in all his sub appearances. He scored in their opening game with Uruguay and whilst not expected to start he is another who could make an important contribution at some point in the game.
If Costa Rica need to protect a lead then expected to see Cubero and/or Barrantes enter the match to provide extra stability in the centre of midfield.
Bench (from): Cambronero GK, Pemberton GK, Myrie RB/LB, Acosta CB, Miller CB, Francis LB, Barrantes DM, Cubero DM, Granados DM, Calvo LW, Brenes ST, Urena ST
Tactical Keys to the Game:
Progression this far into the tournament was certainly not expected by anyone outside of Costa Rica and there is no doubt that the team will be looking to continue to prove doubters wrong and continue their journey.
• Mood in the squad is very high following their last minute goal that ensured what was an unlikely qualification. • This is the furthest they have progressed at a World Cup and know this is an excellent chance to go even further. • Goalkeeper Karnezis may be fit for the match but midfielder Kone will miss the rest of the tournament.
Kone – AM – Injury
Karnezis – GK – 50%
Katsouranis – DM – Suspension
Expected Team (4-3-3)
Greece were forced into making two changes early in their last match with goalkeeper Karnezis suffering a back injury and being replaced by Glykos and midfielder Kone having to be replaced by Samaris who went on to score the opening goal. Karnezis has improved and is expected to be in contention to start this game, though he will be monitored over the next couple of days with Glykos on standby.
Although Greece are not expected to make many changes for this game the main selection dilemma appears to be in midfield with Katsouranis available again after suspension. Karagounis started the last match and showed his value to the team, dictating the tempo of the play and Samaris played a big role when he replaced Kone and staked his claim for a starting place. It is likely to be Katsouranis, Karagounis and Samaris competing for two places. Santos has been very reluctant to field both Katsouranis and Karagounis recently due to their aging legs. Karagounis offers more to the team in possession though Katsouranis has been favoured in starting 2 games before his suspension. Maybe more clues will come out in the next couple of training sessions.
It would a surprise if Christodoulopoulos didn’t keep his place in the team on the left wing with Samaras starting in the striker’s role.
Bench (from): Glykos GK, Kapino GK, Moras CB, Vyntra CB/RB, Tzavelas LB, Tziolis DM, Katsouranis DM, Tachtsidis CM, Fetfatzidis RW, Gekas ST, Mitroglou ST
Tactical Keys to the Game:
Football Form Labs Betting Preview:
Costa Rica (10) v Greece (20), Sunday 29th June 21:00 BST
Costa Rica are the surprise package of the whole World Cup after topping a group including three past World Champions. This match, however, poses a significant tactical shift as they take on the mantle of favourites against a Greek side that were also not expected to make the second round.
The Central Americans are not the most adventurous of sides but they are disciplined and organised. This approach has seen them concede just one goal so far and since 2013 17 of their 22 competitive games have had fewer than three goals with 12 having no more than a single strike. They are unbeaten in their last four games against European nations but those games have seen just four goals in total and three of the matches have seen fewer than two goals. Costa Rica have lost six of their last 10 matches against teams ranked 16-30 with three of the four competitive matches having no more than two goals.
Greece qualified for the knockout stage courtesy of a last minute goal against Ivory Coast having not scored in either of their opening two matches. 10 of their last 14 competitive matches have had fewer than three goals with half having fewer than two and this looks likely to be another low scoring game. Since 2009 Greece have played 12 matches against teams ranked 6-20 and have drawn half those games with four goalless games and 10/12 Under 2.5 Goals matches.
Since 1990 seven of the eight Second Round matches to be between teams that picked up seven and four points respectively have had fewer than three goals. Furthermore, there have been 18 Second Round matches in this time where the higher ranked side was outside the top eight in our rankings and eight of the games have finished all-square (W7-8-L3 to the higher ranked side). 13 of these 18 games had fewer than three goals and five finished goalless.