Costa Rica was the betting World Cup Cinderella Story of 2014. Los Ticos came out of nowhere to win their group. Everyone was ambushed. Including gamblers. Nobody saw it coming. From there Costa Rica defeated Greece. Advancing to the quarterfinals was their greatest performance ever. But now the secret is out. Nobody will be looking past the Costa Ricans. Especially Serbia. The Serbs return after failing to qualify in 2014. They are considered to be something of a middle of the pack team. There is no shortage of star power for Serbia. But it is aging.
2018 FIFA World Cup Costa Rica vs. Serbia
Date and Time: Sunday, June 17, 2018, 8 a.m. ET
Location: Cosmos Arena, Samara
World Cup Betting Online Odds at SBG:
|Serbia||-½ (-106)||2 (-113)|
|Costa Rica||+½ (-109)||2 (-102)|
2018 FIFA World Cup TV Coverage: FOX
Serbia had an impressive qualification. They lost just one out of ten qualification matches. They also won their group at the 2016 Euro. But a change of coaches since then brings questions. Slavoljub Muslin departed after the Euro. His success could not overcome conflicts with team administrators. Problematic was style of play and players selected. Star midfielder Sergej Milinkovic Savic is a bet the World Cup asset. He could not get along with Muslin however. Mladen Krstajic is caretaker coach. And he took good care by winning over Savic.
Serbia striker Aleksandar Mitrovic is a budding superstar. He was the key triggerman in Serbia’s under 19 European title. Mitrovic added six goals in qualifying. With that he established himself as a top performer. As a pro he broke out on loan with Fulham. There he scored 12 goals in 17 matches.
Costa Rica faces the sportsbook online challenge of repeating 2014. It will be nearly impossible to do so. Especially in a group with Brazil. Los Ticos are now the hunted. They will catch nobody off guard. They earned respect with their run at Brazil in 2014. Its likely that they will discover just how expensive such respect can be. Costa Rica has a new coach in Oscar Ramirez. Unenviable is the task of replacing Jorge Luis Pinto. Pinto will go down in history. No coach had a greater run.
Challenges up ahead for Costa Rica
Ramirez faces the demand of a Round of 16 berth. Anything less will be considered a failure. As well as a step back. Pinto has raised the bar. And its now on Ramirez to feed the new expectations. For Los Ticos Bryan Ruiz is the top star. The attacking midfielder is captain and dangerous. He has 109 caps and 23 goals for his international career. Ruiz is a pro for Sporting PC in Portugal. Nobody was bigger in the epic 2014 Costa Rica run. He scored the winning goal that put them into the Round of 16.
Matchup to Watch
Serbia is a dark horse choice by many to bet the World Cup with. They do bring talent. And play an exciting style. Costa Rica slumped with just one win in its last seven international games. Momentum has stalled. Serbia’s resurgence makes them a top potential value.
Bet the World Cup Picks
Look for Serbia to celebrate its return with an opening day win.
World Cup Betting Online Pick: Serbia
World Cup Betting Online Score Prediction: Serbia 2, Costa Rica 0
Check out highlights of Serbia’s Aleksandar Mitrovic!