Spain v Costa Rica: La Roja can edge low-scoring contest
Spain v Costa Rica betting tips, odds and preview
Spain have only won two of their last seven matches at World Cup finals but are expected to improve that record when they face Costa Rica in their opening match.
They failed to make it out of their group in 2014 and lost in the round of 16 four years ago but are the shortest price of any team to win their opening match in the World Cup odds for Qatar 2022.
Wednesday’s Group E match at Al Thumama Stadium in Doha kicks off at 4pm and is live on ITV.
Costa Rica out to defy the odds again
Spain’s recent World Cup record is disappointing given they won three major tournaments in quick succession earlier this century, including the 2012 World Cup.
While they may not be in the same class as the team that went all the way in South Africa, their recent performances suggest they are genuine contenders for another title.
Luis Enrique’s men have reached the last four of the last two Nations Leagues as well as last summer’s European Championship and Spain winning odds of 2/13 suggest a routine victory here.
🏆 @SEFutbol were on top of the world in 2010
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) November 15, 2022
Costa Rica are 25/1 underdogs for the win and must finish above either Spain or Germany if they are to reach the knockout stage.
That sounds unlikely but eight years ago they topped a group containing Italy, England and Uruguay and were only beaten by the Netherlands on penalties so defying the World Cup betting is nothing new.
Their usual tactics could also see them frustrate Spain. Happy to let their opponents dominate possession, Costa Rica will get plenty of men behind the ball and be hard to break down.
Chances in short supply
Creating chances can often be a problem for both of these teams so opposing goals certainly seems the best gameplan for punters.
Spain have plenty of the ball regardless of the opposition but do not possess the quality up front that many of the best World Cup teams enjoy, while they must beat Costa Rica’s experienced goalkeeper Keylor Navas.
Alvaro Morata is expected to lead the line for Spain and Ferran Torres offers another attacking option but neither are in great form.
Morata has only managed one goal in his last 10 games for Atletico Madrid while Torres has only scored two goals for Barcelona in La Liga this season.
Costa Rica’s ageing squad is not short on experience so they are unlikely to be overawed by the occasion and this has the potential to turn into a tricky opener for Spain.
In Coral’s #YourCall markets, under 1.5 goals in the first half, under 2.5 in the second half and either team to win stands out at 5/4.
Sarabia can strike first
Pablo Sarabia has had a frustrating season after spending much of his time at PSG on the bench but scored 25 goals for club and country last season while at Sporting.
He netted in back-to-back games for Spain against Switzerland and the Czech Republic in June and is 7/2 to break the deadlock, while teenage sensation Gavi is 12/1 to strike first and add to the hype around him having already become Spain’s youngest ever goalscorer.
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All odds and markets are correct as of the date of publication