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Costa Rica World Cup squad 2022: All 26 players on Los Ticos national football team roster for Qatar

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Costa Rica are the fourth qualifier from the North America region to the 2022 FIFA World Cup, needing to win an intercontinental playoff last summer over New Zealand.

It looked bleak for Costa Rica early on in North American qualification, but they finished in spectacular fashion to secure the fourth spot for a berth into the intercontinental playoff. They emerged victorious over the Kiwis in June behind an early Joel Campbell goal.

Unfortunately, Los Ticos must now navigate one of the most difficult draws of the entire World Cup, selected alongside two European powers and a strong Asian side in Group E. But they’re not new to springing World Cup upsets after topping a group that featured England, Italy, and Uruguay in 2014.

Los Ticos will face Nigeria on November 9 in Costa Rica in its final friendly tuneup before departing for Qatar on November 10. While in the Middle East they will make a brief stop in Kuwait to take on Iraq on November 17. They will open World Cup play on Wednesday, November 23.

MORE: Closer look at Costa Rica’s group opponents at the FIFA World Cup

Final 26-man Costa Rica World Cup squad

Manager Luis Fernando Suarez named his final squad on Thursday, November 3 and has opted for an eye toward the future. Nearly half his final World Cup roster is made up of players 25 years old or younger (11 of 26 total). But that also comes with some inexperience, as 11 members of the 26-man squad also have fewer than 10 international caps.

Veterans Keylor Navas (35 years old), Kendall Waston (34), Celso Borges (34), Bryan Ruiz (37), and Joel Campbell (30) are all still there. In fact, the ex-Arsenal man Campbell is one of only three listed forwards on the final squad.

Among the surprise omissions were attacking midfielder Randall Leal (Nashville SC), wingers Alonso Martinez (Lommel SK) and Ariel Lassiter (Inter Miami), and right-back Cristian Gamboa (VfL Bochum). A younger backup ‘keeper Patrick Sequeira was also preferred over Alajuelense veteran Leonel Moreira.

In the case of Herediano’s Orlando Galo, the manager confirmed he would have been on the roster if not for the provisional suspension issued by FIFA following a positive doping test.

Left-back Ronaldo Matarrita is carrying an injury, but Suarez is confident that he’ll be able to recover in time.

Below is the final 26-man squad:

Position Player Club Age Caps
Goalkeeper Esteban Alvarado Herediano (CRC) 33 24
Goalkeeper Keylor Navas PSG (FRA) 35 107
Goalkeeper Patrick Sequeira CD Lugo (SPA) 23 2
Defender Francisco Calvo Konyaspor (TUR) 30 75
Defender Daniel Chacon Colorado Rapids (USA) 21 8
Defender Oscar Duarte Al-Wehda (SAU) 33 70
Defender Keysher Fuller Herediano (CRC) 28 29
Defender Carlos Martinez San Carlos (CRC) 23 5
Defender Ronaldo Matarrita FC Cincinnati (USA) 28 52
Defender Bryan Oviedo Real Salt Lake (USA) 32 74
Defender Juan Pablo Vargas Millonarios (COL) 27 11
Defender Kendall Waston Saprissa (CRC) 34 61
Midfielder Brandon Aguilera Nott’m Forest (ENG)
Guanacasteca (CRC)
19 4
Midfielder Jewison Bennette Sunderland (ENG) 18 7
Midfielder Celso Borges Alajuelense (CRC) 34 154
Midfielder Anthony Hernandez Puntarenas (CRC) 21 2
Midfielder Douglas Lopez Herediano (CRC) 24 2
Midfielder Bryan Ruiz Alajuelense (CRC) 37 144
Midfielder Youstin Salas Saprissa (CRC) 26 3
Midfielder Yeltsin Tejeda Herediano (CRC) 30 73
Midfielder Gerson Torres Herediano (CRC) 25 12
Midfielder Roan Wilson Grecia (CRC) 20 2
Midfielder Alvaro Zamora Saprissa (CRC) 20 2
Forward Joel Campbell Club Leon (MEX) 30 118
Forward Anthony Contreras Herediano (CRC) 22 8
Forward Johan Venegas Alajuelense (CRC) 33 80

Costa Rica national team stars, strengths & weaknesses

Los Ticos are in their third straight World Cup and have made it to five of the last six editions. At this point the global audience will likely recognize a few of the names, including some of whom were part of the famous quarterfinal run in 2014.

Stars

The undisputed international star of the Costa Rica squad is goalkeeper Keylor Navas who is considered the greatest goalkeeper in the history of the CONCACAF (North American) region. Navas spent years as the Real Madrid starter, winning three Champions League titles. He is currently stuck behind Gigi Donnarumma at PSG and has struggled for playing time as he reaches the latter stages of his career.

There are also two heavily experienced presences in the Costa Rica side who have enjoyed long careers at overseas clubs. Celso Borges is one of the most experienced international players at the World Cup with 154 caps, spending several seasons at Spanish side Deportivo La Coruna before returning to Costa Rica. Bryan Ruiz, meanwhile, spent significant time at Dutch side Twente before a move to Fulham in the Premier League, finishing his lengthy European career at Portuguese side Sporting.

Borges still contributes heavily at the international level, but Ruiz is now more of a bench option. Yet the presence of both will be critical for a Costa Rica squad featuring a number of inexperienced players.

Strengths

This Costa Rica side is known for its physicality and ability to grind out results, starting with an astute back line and a talented group of defensive midfielders.

Veteran Borges should be heavily involved in their World Cup journey at holding midfield, and behind him he’ll have a wall of gritty defenders including Kendall WastonKeysher Fuller, and Oscar Duarte who could either rotate in a traditional four-back system, or all start in unison if they go with three at the back.

Weaknesses

This year’s World Cup comes at an inconvenient time in the development of this Costa Rica roster. They are stuck between having experienced players not yet finished with their careers, while the youngsters set to replace them are not yet established within the national team.

Navas is still a top goalkeeper, but Ruiz, Borges, Duarte, and Waston have slowed with age, as have veterans Bryan Oviedo, and Johan Venegas, who are all 32 years old or older, and former Arsenal youngster Joel Campbell has also begun to fade at 30.

Promising youngsters such as Jewison BennetteDaniel ChaconBrandon Aguilera and Carlos Martinez are still as green, and while they show promising talent, it’s been tough for the national team to fully integrate them while still producing positive results in a tight CONCACAF World Cup qualifying journey.

Costa Rica World Cup group

Los Ticos have been drawn into Group E at the 2022 World Cup, a vicious collection of powerful opponents that leaves Costa Rica likely on the outside looking in barring multiple upset results.

They open with a match against tournament juggernauts Spain before matching up with Japan four days later in a do-or-die match for Los Ticos. Then, they finish with Germany likely needing a result to have a chance at reaching the knockout stage.

World Cup Group E fixtures and match schedule

Date Match Time (ET) Stadium
Wed, Nov. 23 Germany vs. Japan 8 a.m. Khalifa Int’l
Wed, Nov. 23 Spain vs. Costa Rica 11 a.m. Al Thumama
Sun, Nov. 27 Japan vs. Costa Rica 5 a.m. Ahmad Bin Ali
Sun, Nov. 27 Spain vs. Germany 2 p.m. Al Bayt
Thurs, Dec. 1 Japan vs. Spain 2 p.m. Khalifa Int’l
Thurs, Dec. 1 Costa Rica vs. Germany 2 p.m. Al Bayt

Costa Rica World Cup squad, lineup

Opening the tournament against a strong Spain side, Los Ticos will hope to produce a shock result and set themselves up for a positive group stage finish.

They will be up against it, with Japan and Germany to follow, a brutal draw for the CONCACAF nation.

Costa Rica can play in multiple formations. They had success with a three-back system in North American World Cup qualifying, but recently set up in a more traditional 4-4-2 lineup in their intercontinental playoff and pre-World Cup friendlies.

In the first match they will likely look to clog the spaces against a Spain side that should dominate the ball. A 5-4-1 formation will give Los Ticos the best chance to do it.

Costa Rica projected starting XI vs Spain

GK: Navas

DFs: Oviedo — Calvo — Waston — Duarte — Fuller

MFs: Torres — Tejeda — Borges — Aguilera

FWs: Contreras.

Can Costa Rica replace players on World Cup roster?

When the final 26-man roster is official, participating teams at the World Cup can only make changes before the first game of the tournament, and only in the case of extraordinary circumstances.

According to the official tournament rules (page 32), “a player listed on the final list may only be replaced in the event of serious injury or illness up until 24 hours before the start of his team’s first match.”

The team in question would need to submit a medical report to FIFA and if the world governing body determines “the injury or illness is sufficiently serious to prevent the player from taking part in the FIFA World Cup” then the replacement will be allowed. 

The replacement player must come from the preliminary list of players submitted to FIFA in October. 


Credit: sportingnews.com

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