Copa America appetizers. Costa Rica surviving Keylor
June 4, 2016
Like a 4 am ice cold shower abruptly awakening anyone's body, the news broke; Keylor Navas won't be playing the Copa America just a week after becoming UEFA Champions League with Real Madrid due to an ankle tendinitis.
The team that surprised the everyone at the World Cup just two years ago has been in turmoil since then. Manager Jorge Osorio left, replaced by former NT forward Paulo Cesar Wanchope, failed to advance in the Gold Cup and was replaced by Oscar Ramírez.
Besides the absent Keylor Navas, mainstays like midfielder Celso Borges, playmaker Bryan Ruiz and forward Joel Campbell are in the squad.
They reached the quarterfinals of the World Cup based on a 5-3-2 system with great goalkeeping from Navas, a solid defensive structure and a gregarious spirit. Everybody has to help defensively for Bryan Ruiz being able to direct counterattacks for the Arsenal striker Joel Campbell and veteran Alvaro Saborío.
Celso Borges. The midfielder from Deportivo La Coruña in Spain, son of Brazilian-born Alexandre Borges, playmaker for Costa Rica in World Cup Italia 90. A good game-reader who likes to beat defensive lines with through passes. More comfortable in a possession oriented style rather than a counterattacking defensive set.
Bryan Ruiz. The link between defense and attack, he is one of the leaders on the pitch. Ruiz likes running through the middle before making decisive passes that can make the difference. He fitted well in teams like Fulham or PSV.
Joel Campbell. An electric forward who came under the spotlight in 2011 in a match against Bolivia in Copa America that got him signed for Arsenal. Highly skilled, assist more than he scores, but in short tournaments like the World Cup or Copa America has been prolific. He is the most talented player of Costa Rica.
Oscar Ramírez: The inexperienced on international level manager has kept the 5-3-2 set. A studious of the game's strategy he likes the defensive tactics while keeping an eye on the rivals. He was Wanchope's assistant before getting the job as manager. Even though the starting XI is already set, he likes to rotate his players searching the team's chemistry.