Two resolute defensive teams will lock horns in this final Group E fixture, and this match could well determine who progresses and who goes home. With group favourites Brazil taking on Serbia at the same time, and the South Americans the clear favourite to progress, both matches will have a huge impact on the final standings.
Costa Rica came into this World Cup once again facing a group that should be beyond them. Although they proved what they could do in Brazil by topping a pool containing former winners Uruguay, Italy and England, they Central Americans were the heavy favourite to finish at the bottom of Group E and it is almost certain to end up that way. They were brave in both their opening matches, but ultimately conceded late in both to remain on zero points.
Switzerland will be quietly confident in this match. They have progressed to the Round of 16 in two of the last three tournaments and have never lost to a CONCACAF nation at the World Cup. Switzerland will show respect to a team with a giant-killing pedigree, although now that Costa Rica have nothing to play for this should be a straight-forward result.
It is not out of the question that this match could finish scoreless. Switzerland showed against Northern Ireland that they are happy to sit back and defend at times, and managed only a questionable penalty in 180 minutes of football against them. Meanwhile Costa Rica conceded just 3 goals in 5 matches in 2014 and boast one of the best goalkeepers in the world. Switzerland only need a point to progress.
Group E results will have a big influence on Switzerland’s desire to win this match. If Mexico finish first and Germany finish second, Switzerland will prefer to finish second to avoid the Germans. It is therefore important to consider context before placing a wager on this match.
In terms of odds, all the money is with the Europeans to win this match. Switzerland start at odds of -142, while Costa Rica are +477 and the draw is available at +233. On paper, Switzerland boast the better side, although we think they may struggle to score against Costa Rica. Perhaps it will be they who only need a draw to progress, further boosting the case for a dour defensive display.
We recommend waiting until just prior to the match before placing a bet, although without the luxury of doing so ourselves we are going to stick with Switzerland to take all three points with a 1-0 victory.