World Cup Warm-up: England v Costa Rica

Interestingly, Costa Rica has a very good record against British national teams in 2018. On March 23rd, Costa Rica defeated Scotland 1-0, and on June 3rd, Costa Rica defeated Northern Ireland 3-0. It is possible that the Costa Ricans feel comfortable on British soil due to the fact that some of the most important players in their squad have strong connection to British football. To name a few, Bryan Ruiz, Costa Rica’s captain, had a spell in Fulham, Joel Campbell is still registered as an Arsenal player and Cristian Gamboa, the experienced right back, has played in West Bromwich Albion between 2014 and 2016.

But from all Costa Rican players, maybe the one with the strongest ties to British football is Bryan Oviedo. Oviedo was one of the most important players for Everton between 2012 and 2017 before his move to Sunderland where he currently plays. In a way, the upcoming match against England is a closure for Oviedo.

On January 25th, 2014 Oviedo broke his leg during a FA Cup match while playing for Everton. This injury made him miss Costa Rica’s best campaign ever, in which they almost reached the Semi Finals of the World Cup in Brazil, when the Netherlands eliminated them only after a penalty shootout.

Oviedo is fit and is part of the final squad of Costa Rica for Russia 2018. The upcoming match against England can present an opportunity for Oviedo to start his small journey towards private redemption on British soil, towards maybe a possible reproduction of Costa Rica’s sensational campaign from 2014, on Russian land.

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