Costa Rica vs. Canada Gold Cup 2015: Predictions, Lineups, Schedule, Preview, Stream
A year ago, Costa Rica was expected to be a punching bag in the World Cup's Group of Death. Uruguay, Italy and England were all fancied to bully Los Ticos out of Brazil.
Instead the CONCACAF side proved to be the aggressor, knocking off Uruguay 3-1 in its opener before stunning Italy 1-0 to top the group.
Chile managed passage all the way to the quarterfinals, besting the work of its confederation partners Mexico, Honduras and the U.S.
When the Gold Cup group drawings were announced, many expected Costa Rica to cruise through Group B. After all, it could not be harder than the Group of Death from 2014.
It has been harder. So hard that with a draw, Costa Rica could be out of the tournament.
The team blew leads in its last two games and was forced to settle for draws.
Canada should be a cakewalk, but the team has proven competitive in each of its games. Despite not scoring any goals, the team was close to two 0-0 draws through its two openers. However, a late Jamaica goal proved the team's undoing.
With a draw coupled with an El Salvador win over Jamaica, Costa Rica would sit in third in the group and rely heavily on other group results to know its fate.
With a win, Costa Rica all but guarantees safe passage to the second round. A Costa Rica win plus a Jamaica victory puts the team through as second place. An El Salvador win coupled with a Costa Rica win would put both sides through with goal differential determining the group winner. A draw in the other match coupled with a Costa Rica win also guarantees a knockout berth. Again, goal differential would make the difference.
Prediction: Costa Rica is far better than it has looked throughout this tournament. There is simply no way this team will not manage a win from such an "easy" group. Look for a 1-0 win for Los Ticos in its final group game.
Start Time: 8:30 p.m. EST
The game can be streamed live on Fox Soccer 2Go.