Tournament: World Cup
Stage: Group E
Referee: Malang Diedhiou
Stadium: Cosmos Arena
Match Date: Sunday, June 17, 2018
DID YOU KNOW?
This will be the first ever encounter between Costa Rica and Serbia.
Costa Rica have qualified for their fifth World Cup – they have reached the knockout stages in two of their four previous appearances (1990 and 2014).
Penalty shoot-outs excluded, Costa Rica were one of only three sides to remain unbeaten in the 2014 World Cup (alongside Germany and Netherlands).
Costa Rica have kept three clean sheets in their last four World Cup games, that’s more than in their previous 11 games in the competition (2).
Costa Rica have won their opening game at the World Cup in three of their previous four appearances, the only exception coming against hosts Germany in 2006 (2-4). Meanwhile, Serbia have lost their opening game by a 1-0 scoreline each time in their last two appearances.
Having inherited Yugoslavia and Serbia & Montenegro’s records, this is Serbia’s 12th World Cup participation, although it will be only their second tournament as an independent nation following 2010.
Serbia have failed to reach the knockout stages in their last two World Cup appearances (2006, 2010). In fact, over their last two participations, Serbia have lost five of their six group games (W1), their only win coming against Germany in 2010 (1-0).
Serbia’s best performance in the competition dates back to 1930 and 1962 when Yugoslavia finished fourth. Since then, whether as Yugoslavia or Serbia, they have never gone further than the quarter-finals.
Only Germany’s Joshua Kimmich (9) provided more assists than Serbia’s Dusan Tadic (7) in the UEFA qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup.
This will be Costa Rica boss Óscar Ramírez’s first World Cup as a manager. He played every single minute of Costa Rica’s 1990 World Cup campaign, in what was their first ever appearance in the competition.
Slavoljub Muslin was Serbia’s manager in the entire World Cup 2018 qualifying phase, leading them to top spot in their group, before he left in October 2017 and was replaced by caretaker manager Mladen Krstajic.