One of the beautiful things about the World Cup is that it tends to throw up meetings between two nations that would otherwise never cross paths, and that’s exactly the case here with the South American flair of Costa Rica locking horns with the tough and resolute Serbia of Eastern Europe.
The Serbians were incredibly impressive in qualifying, topping a tough group which also included the likes of Wales, Austria and the Republic of Ireland. It is exactly 20 years since they last progressed beyond the group stage of this competition, and they will be looking to emulate that success in Russia.
Costa Rica, meanwhile, reached the last eight of World Cup 2014, and they would love nothing more than to repeat that feat. You wonder if conditions in Russia will suit, though.
Qualifying from the CONCACAF, aka Central American, regional qualifying is a fairly straightforward task these days with the USA falling by the wayside, and Costa Rica took full advantage by progressing in second behind Mexico.
They were unbeaten on home soil during that qualifying campaign, but won just twice in five attempts on the road – including a demoralising 1-2 defeat in Panama, and with many of their players being taken out of their American comfort zone here Serbia have to be made a warm favourite.
But who will prevail in this all-important first round of matches? Check out what are Costa Rica vs Serbia betting tips! Read our preview of another game taking place on June 17th, Brazil vs Switzerland.
1. Team news
One of the biggest surprises of 2014 World Cup, Costa Rica, will try to show everyone what they got. After losing their last two games against England and Belgium, they will be determined to win their first World Cup match. Costa Rican players you should keep your eye on are definitely Navas, Ruiz, Campbell an Smith.
Serbian record isn't perfect as well. Team news for Serbia goes like this - they won their last game against Bolivia but lost one before that against Chile. They defeated Nigeria in March but before that they lost to Morocco. Coach Mladen Krstajić's team will also have something to prove in their first game of the World Cup.
2. Costa Rica vs Serbia Predictions
The bookmakers are siding with Serbia to win this one….but only just.
Punters can get a shade over even money (2.15) on the Eastern Europeans, with Costa Rica available at 4.00 and the draw at 3.25.
3. Costa Rica vs Serbia Odds
You sense the fact that this tournament will take place in Europe hands a huge advantage to Serbia. The vast majority of their squad play their club football on continental soil, and don’t forget that this is a squad with plenty of quality present: the likes of Aleksandar Kolarov, Nemanja Matic and the exciting young talent Sergej Milinkovic-Savic are all well known around the globe, while Aleksandar Mitrovic is currently banging in the goals for loan club Fulham.
As mentioned, the vast majority of Costa Rica’s squad play their club football either in their homeland or in the MLS, with Keylor Navas and Joel Campbell perhaps the only household names that Europeans will have heard of.
This CONCACAF qualifying is nowhere near as tough to get through as it once was, and so Costa Rica’s results have to be taken with a pinch of salt. Remember, most of their players will be on unfamiliar ground in Russia, and the fact they are without a win in five matches in all competitions – a run which includes a 0-5 hammering at the hands of Spain – cannot be ignored.
The Serbians will be far more comfortable, and pleasing about their chances is that they have the players with the quality to unlock defences and carve out that single, golden opportunity that occasionally these tight World Cup games serve up.
As such, we’re happy to recommend a Serbia victory here.Serbia and Costa Rica will kick off their World Cup 2018 campaigns in Group E with this meeting in Samara on June 17. Who will open their account with a much-needed victory?
4. Costa Rica vs Serbia Live Stream
Costa Rica vs Serbia live stream will be available online, at 1xBet's bookmaker website. In fact, all of the World Cup matches will be shown there. All you got to do to watch Costa Rica vs Serbia online for free is to register. You do not have to make any deposits. But if you would like to place a bet there, register with our bonus code JOHNNYBET to get some great bonuses before you play.
These were the Costa Rica vs Serbia odds. As you can see, Serbia here are slight favourites but in a competition like World Cup these tight games may come up surprising. We wouldn't be so sure of who is going to win. Be sure to also check out our predictions for the next Serbian team match, Serbia vs Switzerland.
What are your Costa Rica vs Serbia predictions? Leave the comment below or join our Tipsters League and post your tips there.