SAN JOSÉ, Costa Rica.- Oscar Ramírez, head coach of Costa Rica, is already planning his team matches in Group E of the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Los Ticos, who surprised soccer fans after reaching the quarterfinals in Brazil 2014 where they were eliminated by the Netherlands in penalty kicks, will face Serbia (June 17), Brazil (June 22) and Switzerland on June 27 in Russia.
Part of their preparation is a friendly against Scotland on March 23 in Edinburgh and Tunisia on March 27th in Nice, France.
Ramírez, who played at the 1990 World Cup in Italy, recently discussed the importance of facing Scotland and Tunisia during a press conference.
"In the friendlies, I will look to give rhythm to the team against what Costa Rica can expect in the group stage of the 2018 World Cup when we face Brazil, Serbia and Switzerland,” he said.
"Scotland is very mobile in the midfield, combined game and has a similar design as to what Switzerland can give us, and Tunisia is a team that can help us in the dynamics. They do not let you think, they attack immediately and have a very strong defense, but we would have liked a European team,” said the head coach.
Regarding the rivals in Group E in Russia, Serbia, Brazil and Switzerland, Ramírez detailed the analysis he has made in recent months.
"Serbia, with the new coach can change the approach,” he said. “Switzerland and Brazil have a base, for example, in the defensive line of Brazil, some (players) have two or three World Cups. A national team always has to maintain a base and we have it. There are positions in which there is some way to fight and others in which there is already stability and we have to maintain it," he added.
For the tour of Europe, Ramírez called upon 23 players, 17 of them abroad and six in the local League.
Of those called up by Ramírez, midfielder Wilmer Azofeifa, of Santos, and forward Josué Mitchell, of the champion, Pérez Zeledón, will debut with the national team.
Costa Rica will face Serbia in the World Cup on June 17 at the Samara Arena, on the 22nd in Brazil at the St. Petersburg Stadium and will close the group stage on the 27th against Switzerland.
- Costa Rica Roster:
GOALKEPERS: Keylor Navas (Real Madrid-Spain), Leonel Moreira (Herediano) and Kevin Briceno (Saprissa).
DEFENDERS: Cristian Gamboa (Celtic-Scotland), Ian Smith (IFK Norrkoping-Sweden), Kendall Waston (Whitecaps-Canada), Bryan Oviedo (Sunderland-England), Francisco Calvo (Minesota United-USA), Ronald Matarrita (New York City) -EUA), Johnny Acosta (Rionegro Aguilas-Colombia), Giancarlo Gonzalez (Bologna-Italy), Oscar Duarte (RCD Espano-Spain).
MIDFIELDERS: Wilmer Azofeifa (Santos), David Guzman (Portland Timbers-USA), Rodney Wallace (New York City-USA), Yeltsin Tejeda (Lausanne Sport-Switzerland), Celso Borges (Deportivo La Coruna-Spain), Ulises Segura (DC) United-USA), Daniel Colindres (Saprissa) and Bryan Ruiz (Sporting-Portugal).
FORWARDS: Yendrick Ruiz (Herediano), Joshua Mitchell (Perez Zeledon) and Marco Urena (Los Angeles-USA).