Costa Rica vs Paraguay: Preview and Prediction

Costa Rica will both hope for a miracle when they face off against Paraguay in the Copa America 2024 Group D clash.

With their quarter-final hopes hanging by a thread, Costa Rica must secure a win when they face Paraguay at Q2 Stadium on Tuesday. Los Ticos find themselves in a precarious position, sitting third in Group D with just one point following a 3-0 loss to Colombia. Paraguay, meanwhile, have already been eliminated after a 4-1 defeat to Brazil, leaving them without a point in the competition.

Costa Rica entered the tournament with promise, but their momentum was shattered in their last match. Luis Diaz’s penalty conversion in the 31st minute marked the end of Costa Rica’s four-match run without conceding, culminating in their heaviest defeat since a 4-1 friendly loss to the United Arab Emirates last September.

Gustavo Alfaro’s squad now faces a do-or-die situation. To progress, they not only need a win against Paraguay but also require Brazil to lose to Colombia, alongside a favourable five-goal swing. Costa Rica’s performance in this Copa America has been underwhelming, with no shots on target so far, and they risk finishing the tournament winless for only the second time since 1997.

Historically, Costa Rica have managed to avoid consecutive group-stage defeats at the Copa America and have lost their final group match only once this century. They remain unbeaten in their last three encounters with Paraguay, with the previous two matches ending in goalless draws.

For Paraguay, the current Copa America has been a continuation of their struggles on American soil. They are set to exit the tournament in the group stage for the first time since 2016 when the event was last held in the US. Paraguay have never won a Copa America match in the United States and face the possibility of finishing without a point for the first time in the tournament’s history.

The Paraguayan squad, managed by Daniel Garnero, has conceded six goals in two group matches—the second-highest at the tournament after Bolivia. This is also the highest number of goals conceded by Paraguay in a single Copa America group stage since 2001. Garnero, however, has yet to lose three consecutive matches as the national team manager.

Paraguay’s defensive woes have been significant, and they have struggled to recover after conceding the first goal. Their last comeback victory after going behind was against Bolivia in their 2021 Copa America opener. Since then, they have lost every match in which they conceded the first goal. The Hard Tackle delves into the potential elevens and tactics for this clash.

Team News & Tactics

Costa Rica

Costa Rica will be without Manfred Ugalde for this decisive match, as the Spartak Moscow striker received a second caution at this tournament on Friday. Meanwhile, Francisco Calvo will be facing a suspension tightrope having picked up a caution already this `.

Having held Brazil to a 0-0 draw in the opening game, Costa Rica fell 4-0 to Colombia in their second match. A win on the night followed by a Colombia victory over Brazil with a significant shift in goal difference is what they need to qualify for the last eight.

Costa Rica are expected to line up in a 3-4-2-1 formation, with Patrick Sequeira in goal, behind the back three of Jeyland Mitchell, Juan Pablo Vargas and Francisco Calvo. Ariel Lassiter and Haxzel Quirós should provide the width as wing-backs. Orlando Galo and Jefferson Brenes should start in central, midfield with Álvaro Zamora and Joel Campbell supporting Anthony Contreras upfront.

Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1): Sequeira; Mitchell, Vargas, Calvo; Quiros, Galo, Brenes, Lassiter; Zamora, Campbell; Contreras

Costa Rica vs Paraguay: Preview and Prediction.


Andres Cubas will be unavailable for the game following his sending-off last time around. Paraguay have an otherwise fully fit squad to choose from. Having already been eliminated from the competition, they have little but pride to play for on the night.

Paraguay are expected to set up in a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Rodrigo Morínigo in goal. He should be protected by the back four of Gustavo Velázquez, Fabián Balbuena, Omar Alderete, and Matías Espinoza.

Hernesto Caballero should replace the suspended Andres Cubas in the midfield double pivot alongside Mathías Villasanti. Julio Enciso should don the number 10 role, with Damián Bobadilla and Ramón Sosa providing the width. Alejandro Romero should start upfront as the focal point of the Paraguayan attack.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1):  Morinigo; Velazquez, Balbuena, Alderete, Espinoza; Caballero, Villasanti; Bobadilla, Enciso, Miguel Almiron; Romero

Costa Rica vs Paraguay: Preview and Prediction.

Key Stats

  • Costa Rica has not lost to Paraguay in their last three encounters, with their last two meetings ending in goalless draws.
  • The last victory for Paraguay against Costa Rica came in 2010, with a 1-0 scoreline.
  • The only Copa America meeting between these teams saw Paraguay secure a 1-0 win in 2004.
  • The Paraguayan squad have conceded six goals in two group matches—the second-highest at the tournament after Bolivia.
  • This is also the highest number of goals conceded by Paraguay in a single Copa America group stage since 2001.

Player to Watch

Joel Campbell

Embed from Getty Images

Joel Campbell’s combination of experience, versatility, playmaking ability, and attacking prowess makes him a key player for Costa Rica in their decisive Copa America clash against Paraguay. His contributions on and off the ball will be vital for Los Ticos as they aim to secure a crucial victory and keep their hopes of advancing to the knockout stages alive.

Aside from his goalscoring potential, Campbell is also an adept playmaker. His vision and passing can open up spaces for his teammates, creating goalscoring opportunities. With Manfred Ugalde suspended, Campbell’s role in creating chances becomes even more critical. His link-up play with other forwards and midfielders could be the key to unlocking Paraguay’s defence.


Costa Rica 1-0 Paraguay

Considering Costa Rica’s urgent need for a win and Paraguay’s defensive vulnerabilities, this match could be closely contested. However, Costa Rica’s historical resilience in the Copa America might give them the edge. A hard-fought 1-0 victory for Costa Rica seems likely, but they will need other results to go their way to progress.

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