The 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil is finally underway as Uruguay kicks off against Costa Rica in the opening match for Group D. Uruguay is a team in form coming off the back of two wins in friendlies against Northern Ireland and Slovenia. Costa Rica is sure to be the underdog for this match, as they will find it difficult to keep up with Uruguay’s aggressive style of play. Let’s take a look at what Uruguay needs to do to secure a victory:
Be on the Offensive
Uruguay’s squad is vastly superior to Costa Rica’s squad at the moment, who have suffered serious injuries to some of their best players. Uruguay are gifted with a luxurious set of attacking options, and they’re going to need to take advantage of that and exploit Costa Rica’s defensive weaknesses.
With Luis Suarez still recovering from his injury, expect Diego Forlan to come in and partner with Edinson Cavani up top. Uruguay’s wingers will need to spread the game wide and allow openings for their two strikers to dominate inside the box. Uruguay is prone to under-performing against teams that they have the upper hand on, so they will need to make sure they get a few early goals to make this a less nerve-wracking affair.
Keep Joel Campbell Quiet
One of the key battles in the match is going to be Joel Campbell vs Godin and Lugano. Campbell displayed a couple excellent performances in Costa Rica’s warm-up games and could easily cause Uruguay’s back line some trouble if given the opportunity.
Campbell is going to be very important for Costa Rica’s offense. His job is to break fast on a counter attack and hold up the play to give his team a chance to switch to offense. If the two central defenders can keep the ball off of Campbell, Costa Rica is going to have a difficult time finding the back of the net. This should be a good test for both Godin and Lugano, as they will be coming up against the likes of Daniel Sturridge and Mario Balotelli in the later matches.
Don’t Get Frustrated
Costa Rica is going to try and catch Uruguay on the counter attack, and that means tactically they’re going to need to sit back and absorb Uruguay’s aggressive offensive. This deep defensive strategy could begin to frustrate Uruguay if they struggle to find the back of the net. However, Uruguay needs to keep a cool head, continue pressing, and know a goal is going to come soon if they stay consistent.
One of Costa Rica’s key assets is their goalkeeper, Keylor Navas. He had an excellent season with Levante in La Liga and is one of the most in-form goalkeepers in the world right now. If Uruguay resorts to taking pot shots outside the 18-yard box out of frustration, Navas will be their to respond to each of their efforts. As the offensive side, Uruguay will need to use their ingenuity to find the gaps in the defensive and exploit them that way, rather than resorting to mindless shots attempted on target.
Diego Forlan will be key in this leadership role. He is their most experienced attacking player, and will need to dictate the game for Uruguay in the final third of the pitch, threading balls through tight spaces and finding his strike partner in Edinson Cavani.