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Last World Cup: Did Not Qualify
Nickname: Ticos
Coach: Jorge Luis Pinto
Star man: Bryan Ruiz
Tournament best: Last 16 1990

Seized upon Mexico's struggles to follow the United States as the pace-setters in the CONCACAF section, but going any further than the group stage will be a lot to ask.

Strengths: Costa Rica tended to start well in qualifying, with only one side grabbing a greater share of early goals than they did. They also nodded home a respectable number of headers. Defensively they proved resilient to long range efforts, conceding proportionally fewer goals from outside the box than all other qualifying nations bar five. In FIFA Rankings terms, they're one of the most improved sides at the finals over the past 12 months after a strong qualifying campaign.

Weaknesses: Their attack didn't always deliver though, with nearly a third of matches yielding them no goals and only one point was recovered from the five matches in which they fell behind. They were also susceptible to conceding late goals and long balls occasionally caught them out.

Prospects: All three of their Group D opponents are former World Cup winners, which immediately raises concerns. Of the three, Italy seem their best bet at causing an upset, with the Italians' vulnerability to goals from the left and from the air both able to be exploited.

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