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HomeNewsCopa America 2024: Colombia vs Costa Rica Match Preview

Copa America 2024: Colombia vs Costa Rica Match Preview

On Friday, Costa Rica heads to Arizona to face an in-form Colombia in the Copa América. Colombia sits at the top of Group D after the first round of matches, thanks to their 2-1 victory over Paraguay, with first-half goals from Daniel Muñoz and Jefferson Lerma. But heading into matchday two, La Sele will enter the field with renewed confidence and belief after Monday’s historic goalless draw against Brazil.

Colombia Profile

Nicknamed ‘Los Cafeteros’ due to the country’s renowned coffee production, it has been quite a couple of years for Colombian football. After failing to qualify for the 2022 World Cup, incoming Argentine coach Nestor Lorenzo has gone undefeated in 24 games dating back to February 2022, beating the likes of Spain, Germany, and Brazil in the process. As a result, Colombia now sits at an impressive 12th place in the FIFA World Rankings, their highest standing in nearly four years.

Lorenzo took charge of a faltering squad and turned them into a force to be reckoned with immediately upon his arrival two years ago. The 58-year-old tactician showed few qualms, clearing out the old guard and ushering in an exciting new generation. Out went the highest-capped outfield player, Juan Cuadrado, and top goal scorer, Radamel Falcao.

In came the inexperienced Richard Ríos, Jhon Lucumí, and Jhon Arias, as well as exciting young talents, Kevin Castaño, Jhon Durán, and Yáser Asprilla, to give Los Cafeteros some much-needed freshness. Captain James Rodríguez has also been offered an unlikely return to the national side, to significant effect, as he was awarded the match of the match award after the victory over Paraguay.

Lorenzo likes to play an expansive style of football revolving around the talents of mercurial winger Luis Díaz and the creative genius of Rodríguez, a system that has reaped emphatic results, as they are on an exceptional nine-game winning streak, dating back to November of 2023. Scoring 21 goals in the process. Centre-back Lucumí is a doubt after picking up a knock against Paraguay, so the experienced Yerry Mina may replace him. But other than that Lorenzo have a full-strength squad to choose from.

Despite having one of the world’s largest and most passionate fanbases, Colombia has had little to celebrate in its international footballing history, with the 2001 Copa América being their only title to date.

However, they enter this tournament with an immense sense of optimism due to their fine form and the unrelenting belief that Lorenzo has instilled in the side, making them the competition’s dark horses in the eyes of many onlookers. They are also heavy favorites to win this fixture, but if the past week has taught us anything, it’s that matches are not won on paper!

Costa Rica Team News

After the emotional rollercoaster that was Monday’s point against Brazil, Los Ticos head into this tie yet again as heavy underdogs. But it is a role head coach Gustavo Alfaro and his players appear to thrive in, so expect pretty much the same set-up and team as the last game, with an organized low-block back five and a packed-out industrious midfield to try and suppress any Colombian attacks.

Costa Rica became just the third CONCACAF nation to keep Brazil off the scoresheet in this competition, joining Honduras (2001) and Mexico (2001 and 2007), highlighting the remarkable defensive shift the whole team put in, and they will need more of the same if they are to get anything against a red-hot Colombia.

Possible Starting 11

Sequeira; Mitchell, Vargas, Calvo (C), Quirós, Brenes, Galo, Lassiter; Aguilera, Ugalde, Zamora.

The two nations have played each other fifteen times since their first fixture in 1938. Colombia has won ten times, Costa Rica four, and the other contest ended in a draw. It will also be the nation’s first meeting since 2018 when Los Cafeteros came out 3-1 victors. Ironically, Colombia has not lost to a CONCACAF opponent since the 2016 Copa América, when Costa Rica hung on for a 3-2 triumph against them in Houston, so here is hoping history repeats itself!

With 1.4 million people of Colombian descent living in the USA, this contest will have a home atmosphere, with the vast majority of the 63,400-capacity stadium supporting Los Cafeteros.

Kick-off is at 3:00 pm MST (UTC−7) on Friday, June 28th, at the State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.

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