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HomeNewsCosta Rica's Journey to World Cup Glory Continues: Can They Conquer Grenada?

Costa Rica’s Journey to World Cup Glory Continues: Can They Conquer Grenada?

After Thursday’s convincing 4-0 victory over St Kitts and Nevis, Costa Rica will be looking to record back-to-back wins when they travel to the eastern Caribbean Sea to play against island nation Grenada on Sunday evening.

La Sele will make the 1500-mile journey to Grenada’s capital city St George’s, knowing that another victory will go some way in securing a spot to the third round of World Cup qualification.

Grenada Profile

Nicknamed “The Spice Boysdue to the nation’s historic production of nutmeg and mace crops. Grenada consists of the island of Grenada itself, two smaller islands, Carriacou and Petite Martinique, and several small islands that lie north of the main island and are a part of the Grenadines. The country’s overall population is just under 127,000, some 41x smaller than the Costa Rican one, so this is a true David vs. Goliath encounter!

The last year has been a low point in Grenada’s proud football history. With no victories in 2023 (four defeats and two draws) and two straight defeats in 2024, resulting in the sacking of former Premier League coach Terry Connor. This poor form has led to a lowly 174th place in the FIFA rankings (their second lowest-ever ranking), a stark contrast to their 88th ranking in 2009 following a second-place finish in the 2008 Caribbean Cup.

However, fortunes might slowly be beginning to turn for The Spice Boys. Newly appointed head coach Shalrie Joseph delivered a credible 2-2 draw in their opening fixture of the qualifying campaign away to Trinidad and Tobago on Thursday, thanks to a double from Myles Hippolyte.

Like St Kitts and Nevis, Grenada also has a plethora of players from the UK who are eligible through holding Grenadian ancestry. These include center-backs Aaron Pierre and Kayden Harrack, midfielder Ashley Charles, winger Myles Hippolyte, and veteran striker Lucas Akins, all of whom play in the English football league. In addition, The Spice Boys have a strong backbone of brothers in their squad, with Reice Charles-Cook (goalkeeper), Roman Charles-Cook (right-back), and winger and star player Regan Charles-Cook, who is currently plying his trade in Belgium.

Conceding goals has been a prominent issue for Grenada in recent times. In 2023 alone, the team conceded four goals in matches against Suriname, Jamaica, and Honduras. To counter this, expect a defensive, low-block set-up from Grenada to limit space to the superior opposition players. So, like on Thursday, Los Ticos may have to be patient in breaking down a stubborn defense.

The Spice Boys’ main attacking threats are through counter-attacks and set pieces, with dangermen in captain Saydrel Lewis, midfielder Myles Hippolyte, and leading striker Jamal Charles (who has an impressive 17 goals in 36 games at international level) posing considerable threats.

Nonetheless, this fixture should result in nothing less than a comprehensive victory for Los Ticos against a side currently ranked a mighty 122 FIFA places below them.

Costa Rica Team News

After impressive cameos and a goal each against St Kitts and Nevis, youngsters Josimar Alcocer and Andy Rojas are pushing to enter the starting 11. Brandon Aguilera and Gerald Taylor will be likewise hopefully of a starting berth as Head coach Gustavo Alfaro continues to uncover his preferred line-up.

Alfaro has declared he wants to continue building an “identity” in the Costa Rican team and has reaffirmed his belief in promoting younger, untested players to the senior squad.

Possible Starting 11

Sequeira; Mitchell, Cascante, Calvo (C), Taylor, Aguilera, Galo, Lassiter; Alcocer, Ugalde, Zamora.

The two nations have met twice before, both in 2008 as part of the 2010 World Cup qualifiers. La Sele won 3-0 in Costa Rica but drew 2-2 in Grenada and will be hopeful of rectifying that result this time around.

Kick-off will be at 17:00 UTC−4 on the 9th of June at the Kirani James Athletic Stadium in St George’s.

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