Our prediction for this Gold Cup match:
Costa Rica take on Nicaragua in San Jose in the opening match of their 2019 Gold Cup campaign. Los Ticos aim to bounce back from a 1-0 loss to Peru and they are considered hot favourites to win Monday’s clash at Estadio Nacional de Costa Rica. Real Madrid goalkeeper misses the tournament with injury and, no doubt, a man to watch in the home team will be Joel Campbell, who used to play for Arsenal in the Premier League in the past.
Nicaragua’s record at the Gold Cup is anything but impressive. Henry Duarte’s troops suffered a loss in each of their first six games at the CONCACAF Championship, which is probably the main reason why we are tempted to put our money on the hosts. Anyhow, los Ticos are likely to prove their worth in their Gold Cup opener in front of home fans.
Highlighted Player (Celso Borges):
Celso Borges is an experienced 28-year-old central midfielder who currently plays for Spanish club Deportivo La Coruna and the Costa Rica national team. Borges was a youth prospect at Saprissa before making his making his professional debut at the age of 18.
He had a very successful career winning five national championships with Saprissa. Borges later had stints at various clubs before joining Deportivo in 2015 initially on loan and then permanently. He played in the 2005 U-17 FIFA World Championships and was considered among the best players of the tournament. His youth team exploits earned him a senior team debut in 2008 after which he became a regular with the national team.
Borges has already earned a total of 85 caps for Costa Rica and found the back of the net 19 times. He had a successful run with the national team in 2014 FIFA World Cup reaching the quarter-finals.
Highlighted Team (Nicaragua):
Nicaragua national football team played their first ever international friendly on May 1, 1929, with the team suffering a heavy loss to El Salvador away from home. Twelve years later los Pinoleros participated in the CCCF Championship qualifiers, but they failed to make it to the finals of the tournament. Nicaragua suffered a loss in each of their four qualifying games and, as a result, they finished bottom of the group.
The Nicaragua national football team have yet to qualify for the World Cup finals, but they did well to win silver medal at the 1973 Central American games. Los Pinoleros finished the campaign in second place in the standings, two points behind champions Panama. Nicaragua suffered their biggest defeat on October 17, 1975 when they were outclassed by Brazil (0-14) in Mexico City.
In 2015 the Nicaraguans recorded their biggest victory, with the team rolling over Anguilla (5-0) in front of home fans in Nicaragua. Nicaragua usually welcome their rivals at Nicaragua National Football Stadium.