Costa Rica will play their last friendly match at home against Nigeria on Wednesday ahead of their World Cup opener, in a match that the Central Americans foresee as a party before traveling to Qatar to face Spain, Japan and Germany at the World Cup-2022.
“We have to be part of a nice party, the public that is going to go to the stadium will enjoy and then our obligation is that they enjoy a lot, regardless of the lineup we have,” said the coach of Costa Rica, the Colombian Luis Fernando Suarez.
Suarez hopes that the match will serve as a stimulus to go to Qatar “full of energy”, although Nigeria will be a “difficult opponent, very physical and fast”, added Suarez.
The duel, to be played at the National Stadium in San José (02H00 GMT on Thursday), will be the last test for the tricolor team on Costa Rican soil, before leaving the following day for Kuwait, where they will play another friendly against Iraq on November 17.
Without Keylor Navas
PSG goalkeeper Keylor Navas, as well as his substitute Patrick Sequeira, defender Francisco Calvo and midfielder Jewison Bennette will not be in the squad against the Nigerians. All of them will join the tricolor’s training camp in Kuwait.
On the other hand, Suárez will have at his disposal defender Óscar Duarte, midfielders Celso Borges, Bryan Ruiz, Yeltsin Tejeda and forward Joel Campbell, who will be playing their third World Cup in Qatar.
There are also fifteen young players in the squad, such as attacking midfielder Brandon Aguilera and striker Gerson Torres.
“We take this game very seriously, we know that it can help us a lot to prepare for the World Cup,” said Duarte.
Costa Rica, drawn in Group E, will make its World Cup debut against Spain on the 23rd. They will then face Japan on the 27th and will close against Germany on December 1.
The Ticos are going to their sixth World Cup, the third in a row, with the hope of repeating the feat of Brazil-2014, when they reached the quarterfinals for the first time in a World Cup after relegating the mighty Italy, England and Uruguay in the group stage.
Nigeria without its stars
For his part, Nigeria coach Yalisu Yusuf will face the match with a team full of U-23 players, in addition to Watford winger Samuel Kalu.
However, the Nigerian coach will be without winger Samuel Chukwueze (Villareal, Spain), striker Kelechi Iheanacho and midfielder Onyinye Ndidi (Leicester City, England) and attacker Victor Osimhen (Napoli, Italy).
Nigeria, six-time World Cup and three-time African champions, will not be in Qatar, so Yusuf is looking to put together a team that will allow “The Super Eagles” to return to soccer’s biggest stage as soon as possible.
Costa Rica: Esteban Alvarado – Keysher Fuller, Óscar Duarte, Kendall Waston, Bryan Oviedo- Celso Borges, Anthony Herández, Brandon Aguilera, Álvaro Zamora, Gerson Torres- Johan Venegas. Coach: Luis Fernando Suárez.
Nigeria: Nathaniel Nwosu – Daniel Bameyi, Ejeh Isaiah, Evans Ogbonda, Chidiebere Nwobodo- Afeez Nosiru, Qudus Akanni, Daniel Wotlai, Samuel Kalú- Sunday Faleye and Edidiong Ezekiel. DT: Salisu Yusuf.