SAN JOSE – The squad named on Monday to represent Costa Rica in the 2018 World Cup is little changed from the unit that reached the quarterfinals of the 2014 tournament in Brazil.
“There are players with characteristics for certain moments. The coming friendly matches will be tough and that will be the way to bring the lads toward the intensity we need,” coach Oscar Ramirez told a press conference in San Jose.
The core of the roster is the starting 11 from 2014: goalkeeper Keylor Navas; defenders Oscar Duarte, Johnny Acosta, Giancarlo Gonzalez and Cristian Gamboa; midfielders Yeltsin Tejeda, Christian Bolaños, Celso Borges and Bryan Ruiz, and forwards Joel Campbell and Marco Ureña.
Costa Rica will compete in Group E against five-time champion Brazil, Serbia and Switzerland.
Ramirez said he expects the 2018 World Cup, set to begin a month from now in Russia, to be a competition “of much dynamism.”
He pointed to Spain, defending champion Germany, France, Brazil and Argentina as the pre-tournament favorites.
Costa Rica will play friendlies against Northern Ireland, England and Belgium in an eight-day span early next month before traveling to Russia.
Goalkeepers: Keylor Navas (Real Madrid), Leonel Moreira (Herediano) and Patrick Pemberton (Alajuelense).
Defenders: Cristian Gamboa (Celtic), Ian Smith (Norrköping), Ronald Matarrita (New York City-FC), Bryan Oviedo (Sunderland), Oscar Duarte (Espanyol), Giancarlo Gonzalez (Bologna), Francisco Calvo (Minnesota United), Kendall Waston (Vancouver) and Johnny Acosta (Aguilas Doradas).
Midfielders: David Guzman (Portland), Yeltsin Tejeda (Lausanne), Celso Borges (Deportivo A Coruña), Randall Azofeifa (Herediano), Rodney Wallace (New York City-FC), Bryan Ruiz (Sporting) and Christian Bolaños (Saprissa).
Forwards: Daniel Colindres (Saprissa), Johan Venegas (Saprissa), Joel Campbell (Betis) and Marco Ureña (Los Angeles FC).