Our prediction for this Nations League match:
Empower Field at Mile High will host the CONCACAF Nations League semi-final between Mexico and Costa Rica. When the two teams met in a friendly three months ago Mexico defeated Costa Rica thanks to Lozano’s late goal, meaning that los Ticos are hungry for revenge. Roberto Alvarado has been omitted, while aforementioned attacker Lozano is pushing for a start after scoring a brace in a 2-1 win over Iceland.
Costa Rica, on the other hand, did well to win top position in Group D, with the team leaving the likes of Curacao and Haiti behind them in the standings. Los Ticos, though, will be without first-choice goalkeeper Keylor Navas in Friday’s clash, which is probably the main reason why home win should be considered. As always, a man to watch in the away team will be veteran midfielder Bryan Ruiz, who has netted 26 goals in 127 appearances for the national team.
Highlighted Player (Hector Herrera):
Mexico international Hector Herrera is a 26-year-old midfielder playing for Portugal giants FC Porto. Herrera began his career with Pachuca in 2010 and spent three years at the club before being sold to Porto. During his first season with the Dragons Herrera struggled for playing time, but he went on to cement his place in the starting eleven, becoming one of the most valuable players for the club.
Herrera has since them racked up over 110 performances for the Portugal side, scoring over 20 goals in the process. Full Mexico international since 2012, Hector Herrera represented his country at the 2014 World Cup.
During the summer of 2016 Herrera was heavily linked with a move away from Porto and was reported to have made a personal agreement with Italian side Napoli, but the €25 million asking price proved to be a stumbling block that ended up ruining the deal.
Highlighted Team (Costa Rica):
Los Ticos are administered by the Costa Rican Football Federation and are members of the CONCACAF confederation competing at the international stage since 1921, although it was not until 1927 that they had become the FIFA members.
Costa Rica is the most successful national football team in the history of Central America with eight championships and their decorated reputation was upheld in 2014 when the current Central American champions made an imposing impression during the FIFA World Cup in Brazil. Having reached the quarter-finals, Costa Ricans continue to be a thorn in the side for a many bigger soccer nations.
Alvaro Saborio is the most-capped member of the current team captained by Bryan Ruiz, but the most prominent star of the squad is definitely Real Madrid goalkeeper and 2016 Champions League winner Keylor Navas. Arsenal forward Joel Campbell is also a notable player whose 2014 FIFA World Cup performances have been nothing short of impressive.