Costa Rica exceeded expectations at the last World Cup as they got out of their group at the expense of Italy and England. However, there is a sense that Brazil was the peak for them as they’re now an ageing side with 18 of their squad aged at least 28 years old.
With that in mind, we expect them to struggle and Serbia have a higher quality squad, with a central midfield of Milinkovic-Savic alongside Nemanja Matic amongst the best in the tournament. They looked in good shape when hammering Bolivia 5-1 and so we expect them to kick off the World Cup with a win.
Costa Rica, on the other hand, were thumped by an aggregate of 6-1 in the run up to the tournament in friendlies against Belgium and England, with six losses in their last eight matches not making for inspiring reading ahead of a World Cup campaign. Serbia are 23rd in our rankings and Costa Rica have lost five of their last seven against top-25 ranked teams, failing to score in four of these.
Serbia have shut out their opponents in five of their last six wins, but they don’t tend to score many themselves as 10 of their last 15 have seen fewer than three goals, bringing Under 2.5 Goals and no in the both teams to score market into play.
The enigmatic Aleksandar Mitrovic had an excellent second half of the domestic season with Fulham, with 12 goals in his last 14 appearances of the Championship season, whilst his international numbers are also very impressive as he has 12 goals in his last 13 starts. That includes a hat-trick in his last start and so we’re siding with him in the first goalscorer market.