Costa Rica to pay their way

  • By: Ian Ogg
  • Last Updated: June 29 2014, 20:57 BST

Ian Ogg previews tonight's last-16 clash between Costa Rica and Greece and expects a very tight contest.

Costa Rica v Greece (Round of 16, Recife, 2100 BST)

Greece were a shade fortunate to progress to the second round courtesy of a contentious penalty in injury time although they had hit the Ivory Coast crossbar on three occasions.

That was by far and away their best performance following a scoreless draw against Japan and a 3-0 defeat to Columbia and they will need to carry on the good work if they are to get the better of Costa Rica.

The Latin Americans may have been billed as also-rans in Group D but there was no fluke about their qualification for the second round with defeat of Uruguay and Italy before a tame draw with England sealed their position at the top of the table.

There will be a little extra pressure on Jose Luis Pinto's side given that they go into this tie as favourites whereas before, little had been expected of them but they appear to have the qualities to cope with that in what could be a tight encounter.

Joel Campbell has enhanced his reputation with an excellent tournament and the Arsenal man's pace can be expected to trouble the Greek defence which makes him of interest at around 7/1 in the first goalscorer market.

It's no surprise that under 2.5 goals has been chalked up at around 2/5 but under 1.5 goals is worth considering at 6/4 along with the 1-0 correct scorelines for both sides with the possibility of extra-time and even penalties not dismissed.

Costa Rica look to have enough about them to edge this tie and record an historic victory and I'll take them to do so by the odd goal.

Verdict: Costa Rica 1 Greece 0

Opta facts:

Greece's seven wins at major tournaments have never been by more than one clear goal (four 1-0 and three 2-1 wins).

Greece have only kept one clean sheet in nine World Cup games, against Japan in 2014 (0-0).

Costa Rica are yet to concede a goal from open play at this World Cup, the only one they have let in being Edinson Cavani's penalty.

None of Costa Rica's four goals at this World Cup have been scored before the 44th minute.

Meanwhile, each of Greece's four goals in World Cup history have been scored from the 42nd minute onwards.