Costa Rica vs Germany Prediction
1st December 2022
22:00 Qatar Time/19:00 GMT
Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor
World Cup Head-to-Head Record
Played:1 Germany Wins:1
Costa Rica vs Germany Prediction Match Overview
Costa Rica vs Germany is a must-win game for both sides. After an absolute dismantling by Spain, Costa Rica won their second match against Japan. They played very defensively and sat deep trying to contain, which made sense as they must have lacked confidence. They would probably have been satisfied with a 0-0 draw. However, a beautiful late Keysher Fuller strike actually gained them the victory. Their goal difference is dreadful, so realistically they need to at least draw with Germany and hope Spain beat Japan. A win would be beyond their wildest dreams and send them into the knockout phase.
Germany were stunned by Japan in their opening game. They took the lead, but two late Japanese goals condemned the Germans to defeat. It seemed as though Japan would dispatch Costa Rica, and Germany would have to beat Spain to stay in the tournament. However, the surprise Costa Rica win against the Asians handed Germany a reprieve. They were competitive in the second game against Spain, although Spain mostly controlled possession. However, things weren’t looking good after Alvaro Morata scored with a brilliant finish in the second half. Substitute Niclas Fullkrug hammered a shot into the top corner late on, though, to give the Germans their first point of the tournament. Now they enter Costa Rica vs Germany knowing that if they and Spain win, they will qualify in second place. If Germany win and Japan vs Spain is a draw, they would have to win by two clear goals to take second place on goal difference.
Injuries and Suspensions
Might not play: Goretzka, Kehrer, Raum (Germany)
Will not play: Calvo (Costa Rica)
Costa Rica vs Germany Prediction Analysis
Costa Rica might only need a point, but this is a risky game to play. However, they will likely line up with a back five and midfield four. They will likely play very defensively against a superior German team and try to win on the counter, like against Japan. Germany might deviate from the three in midfield they played against Spain to introduce another attacker. Leroy Sane might be fit enough to play out wide and give the Germans a different attacking dimension. Niclas Fullkrug might be rewarded with a start after his goal.
Germany conceded possession aplenty against Spain, but this match is a very different test. They know they must win, no questions asked. Therefore, against weaker opposition and a likely low block, the Germans can afford to be more expansive. Indeed, this match will be far less of a midfield contest than Spain was. Yelstin Tejeda, Gerson Torres, Joel Campbell, and Celso Borges must be diligent and organised, keeping the shape in midfield in a line of four. They know Germany will be ruthless in trying to attack and score goals. Hence, they must keep gaps from appearing in between the defensive and midfield lines for the likes of wonder kid Jamal Musiala to exploit. The teenager was brilliant against Spain and central to everything good the Germans did.
Musiala will be expected to use his invention and ingenuity to open up a stubborn Costa Rica team. He will be supported in this by Joshua Kimmich and likely Ilkay Gundogan. Kimmich and Gundogan will control possession and create triangles with Musiala to pin the Costa Ricans back and try to disrupt their shape. The German line of three behind Fullkrug will interchange positions and link up to try to confuse the Costa Rican organisation. Costa Rica might be well-served by pressing Germany aggressively. However, they are an old squad whose players are not suited to high pressing. Hence, Germany should have time on the ball to dominate the game and seek out gaps.
It is vital that Germany move the ball from side to side and use the entire width of the pitch to drag Costa Rica from side to side. Costa Rica vs Germany will likely be a game of attack against defence for long spells. Hence, overloading one side of the pitch to allow the full-back on the other side to find space might be essential. Thilo Kehrer is more of a centre-back playing full-back, but we expect David Raum at left-back to get forward and exploit the space as the ball is quickly shifted from right to left. This way, he can get behind the Costa Rican backline and play cutbacks or crosses. He will also be able to link with the wide-left player, probably Serge Gnabry.
Thomas Muller might be dropped, allowing Musiala to play in the number 10 position, where he is arguably at his best. He can create havoc here and link up with Sane to good effect, similar to what we saw against Germany. Indeed, Sane’s explosiveness (if fit) would be perfect for Germany in this game. Sane is the type of winger who can dribble past players, find space for a shot, or play a slide-rule pass into the striker Niclas Fullkrug. Speaking of Fullkrug, he is both competent on the ground and in the air, so crosses are a further avenue for Germany to exploit. Centre-back Antonio Rudiger had a header ruled out from a set piece against Spain. Hence, set plays are a possible weapon to use. Costa Rica will likely combat this with their three centre-backs. Indeed, they are a tall team. Germany will probably get chances in this game and must be more clinical than they have been so far in the competition.
Costa Rica, for their part, will have very few chances to attack in all likelihood. However, when they do, they must try to use Joel Campbell and Antony Contreras to get up the pitch. If they can keep it level for an hour, they can introduce talented 18-year-old winger Jewison Bennette. Bennette can try to stretch Germany and give the European nation more to think about defensively. They are unlikely to try this from the start; they will likely play a containing game in the early stages.
Costa Rica Key Players
Now 36 years old, Navas has looked far from his best in this tournament. Indeed, he was poor against Spain. He looked better against Japan, but the Japanese needed to test him more. Against Germany, we expect he and his defence to be under extreme pressure as Germany relentlessly seek the win that will possibly see them advance. Navas will be very busy and must roll back the years to produce an impressive shot-stopping display. He will also have to be brave in coming to claim crosses. We expect Germany to press high, so Navas will probably have to kick the ball long rather than try to build possession from the back. His ability to make saves is the priority in this game.
Tejeda is now 30 and has many miles in his legs, but he must push hard in this game, as his team will be without the ball for long periods. He must be diligent, covering spaces and not allowing the likes of Sane and Musiala to find gaps in the Costa Rican defensive third. He must also try with his midfield partners not to allow Kimmich and Gundogan time to run the game. This is a big ask for a Costa Rican team lacking in quality. Tejeda is not of the same class as the German midfielders and will likely be more passive. However, if he can remain disciplined and the team holds its shape, he could be vital in holding Germany off.
Germany Key Players
Musiala is making many waves in world football, with good reason, as he looks like a potential superstar. Against Costa Rica, we expect him to continue in the same fashion he did against Spain. Indeed, he will look to link up with Kimmich and Gundogan and find space in the attacking third to dribble past players. His dribbling will open space, and he can play cute little passes into Sane and Fullkrug. Musiala is one of those players who can unlock an organised defence, and the Germans will look to him to create some magic moments. He and Sane are the key for their team in Costa Rica vs Germany.
Sane was not healthy enough to play against Japan and only got 20 minutes against Spain. However, his quality is well-documented, and he caused many problems in those 20 minutes. Sane set up Musiala for a one-on-one and had a chance of his own, but he rounded the goalkeeper and went too wide. If he starts against the Central Americans, he must try to play these through balls and cleverly link up again. Sane has blistering pace, but against Costa Rica’s low block and organised defensive shape, the winger might get less space in behind to use it. However, when he does isolate Fuller or Bryan Ovideo, he is more than capable of beating them and coming onto the back three to cause chaos.
Costa Rica vs Germany Prediction
Costa Rica can qualify with a win or a draw, depending on the other game’s result. The Germans know a draw is useless to them in Costa Rica vs Germany, so they have an advantage over Costa Rica as their task is clear, and they don’t have to be indecisive. We see this as a problem for Costa Rica, as sitting deep and playing for the draw is very dangerous against Germany. They will probably invite pressure and allow the Germans to dominate the game. We don’t see them being able to hold out. They can actually upset a vulnerable German defence if they start with a more positive game plan. However, they will probably set up negatively, which will be to their cost as Germany will be too strong. We also think Spain will beat Japan, meaning Germany will qualify in second place.