Preview: Grenada vs. Costa Rica – prediction, team news, lineups

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Preview: Grenada vs. Costa Rica – prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Sunday’s World Cup Qualifying – North Central America clash between Grenada and Costa Rica, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

For the first time since 2008, Grenada and Costa Rica will square off on Sunday at Kirani James National Stadium in St. George’s as both sides continue their 2026 World Cup qualifying campaign.

On matchday one, the Spice Boys played to a 2-2 draw with Trinidad and Tobago, while Los Ticos won 4-0 against Saint Kitts and Nevis.

Match preview

© Reuters

Grenada ended a four-match losing run in all competitions on Wednesday, but that will feel more like a defeat and a real missed opportunity.

That is because they were up 2-0 before the half-hour mark and failed to hang on, extending their winless run in World Cup qualification fixtures to three matches.

While their opening game of this competition ended in disappointment, it is still an improvement from where they were before Shalrie Joseph‘s return as head coach.

They had lost their previous four competitive matches by a combined margin of 15-1, before the Grenada Football Association decided to sack Terry Connor.

It has been a long time since they last won an international match, defeating Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 5-1 in an October 2022 friendly.

The last time they earned a positive result against a side from Central America was over two years ago in June 2022, when they conceded an 88th-minute equaliser to El Salvador in a 2-2 draw.

Manfred Ugalde celebrates scoring for Costa Rica in March 2024© Reuters

Matchday one was as comfortable as can be for the Costa Ricans, who extended their unbeaten run in World Cup qualification to nine matches.

Gustavo Alfaro‘s men will enter this encounter on a two-match losing run away from home across all competitions, conceding three goals in defeats at Panama (3-0) and Argentina (3-1), respectively.

Costa Rica have conceded just once in their previous seven World Cup qualifiers combined but have not lost an away contest during a qualification campaign since October 2021 (1-0 versus Canada).

From November 2021 until now, they have won 14 of their last 15 matches across all competitions when scoring the opening goal, with their lone defeat over that stretch coming against the world champions Argentina in March (3-1).

The Costa Ricans have won their previous six competitive fixtures when netting multiple times and have not lost when doing so since a 4-2 defeat versus Germany at the 2022 World Cup.

Los Ticos are undefeated in their previous two meetings with Grenada, though they could only manage a 2-2 draw when visiting St George’s in 2008.

Grenada World Cup Qualifying – North Central America form:

Grenada form (all competitions):

Costa Rica World Cup Qualifying – North Central America form:

Costa Rica form (all competitions):

Team News

Costa Rica's Francisco Calvo celebrates scoring their first goal with Alejandro Bran on September 8, 2023© Reuters

Lucas Akins of Mansfield Town collected his first international cap for Grenada on Wednesday, leaving Chad Phillip as the only uncapped player selected to the squad for this window, while Jason Belfon is only two appearances away from 50.

A brace courtesy of Myles Hippolyte gave the Spice Boys an early 2-0 advantage versus the Soca Warriors, just the second and third of his international career.

Five new faces who did not begin the Costa Rican friendly versus Uruguay were in the starting 11 against Saint Kitts and Nevis including Julio Cascante, Jefferson Brenes, Ariel Lassiter, Warren Madrigal and Manfred Ugalde.

Orlando Galo notched a brace on Thursday, with the other strikes coming from Josimar Alcocer and Andy Rojas, the first on the international stage for Rojas.

Grenada possible starting lineup:
Belfon; Ettienne, Harrack, Pierre, Gabriel; Theodore, Hippolyte; Abraham, Clarke, Johnson; Lewis

Costa Rica possible starting lineup:
Sequeira; Mitchell, Cascante, Calvo; Taylor, Aguilera, Galo, Lassiter; Campbell, Ugalde, Zamora

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We say: Grenada 1-3 Costa Rica

There is a big difference between competing and winning, and for as well as Grenada have played at times when facing experienced CONCACAF opponents, they have lacked a killer instinct, which we believe will hurt them against a vastly improved Costa Rican side under Alfaro.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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