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U.S. tries to keep WC run alive

Five Aside
Read
 By Nick Ames

Aleksandar Kolarov quality the difference as Serbia do enough to beat Costa Rica

ESPN FC's Paul Mariner explains how important it is to come out flying in a World Cup opener, which may have contributed to Serbia's defensive nature.
FIFA World Cup: Aleksandar Kolarov (56') Costa Rica 0-1 Serbia

SAMARA, Russia -- Three quick thoughts in Serbia's 1-0 win over Costa Rica in Group E at the World Cup on Sunday.

1. Aleksandar Kolarov quality proves the difference

Serbia are up and running. While this match was no classic it contained a goal fit for any World Cup game, curled in beautifully by Kolarov in the 56th minute, and that free kick was enough to beat a decent but ultimately limited Costa Rica side.

It gives Serbia a boost going into their potentially decisive meeting with Switzerland,...

 By Arch Bell

Costa Rica better off with Major League Soccer's influence

Costa Rica were 2014's 'giant killers', but can they repeat, or better their accomplishments in Russia?
Keylor Navas and Costa Rica will begin their fifth World Cup appearance against Serbia in Group E.
Take a behind-the-scenes look at Whitecaps training as it was announced Kendall Waston had been named to Costa Rica's 23-man World Cup roster.
Why is Brazil's World Cup squad so weird? What's Costa Rica's job? The Exploding Heads and Neymar's dad cover all the important aspects of Group E.

On Sunday, Costa Rica will make their fifth appearance on football's biggest stage at the World Cup -- the Ticos' fourth in the last five editions.

This is no small feat for a country with fewer than five million people. It can also be argued that the Ticos have become the most consistent team from CONCACAF in terms of World Cup qualifying, having breezed through qualification for Brazil 2014 and Russia 2018, unlike Mexico's drama-filled 2013 Hexagonal and the United States' disaster in 2017.

At...

Marcus Rashford, Danny Rose make World Cup cases for England

Despite England's 2-0 victory over Costa Rica, former England international Paul Mariner was not pleased with the team's uninspired performance.

LEEDS, England -- Three thoughts on England's 2-0 win vs. Costa Rica in an international friendly. 

1. Rashford takes his chance but Vardy struggles

Marcus Rashford emphasised his ability to provide the X-factor for England at the World Cup with an outstanding goalscoring performance.

The Manchester United forward, who travelled to Euro 2016 as an 18-year-old, goes to Russia after a difficult campaign under Jose Mourinho but, having been handed a starting role by England manager Gareth Southgate...

Top 10 World Cup memories: No. 5 - Germany 4-2 Costa Rica

Holders Germany are looking to become just the third team to defend their World Cup title when they take the field in Russia.

In this special 10-part series, ESPN's Jayaditya Gupta, who has attended every World Cup since 2002, recalls his favourite matches from the tournament. At no. 5, it's the 2006 World Cup opener, where hosts Germany began a new era under Klinsmann and Low, showing signs of things to come with their new, attacking style of play.

The context

The opening match of the 2006 World Cup, in Bayern Munich's state-of-the-art colour-changing stadium.

Philipp Lahm scored the opening goal of the 2006 World Cup.
Philipp Lahm scored the opening goal of the 2006 World Cup.

The match

The Curse of the World Cup Opener puts goals...

Costa Rica, led by Keylor Navas, hoping to repeat run to quarterfinals

Costa Rica were 2014's 'giant killers', but can they repeat, or better their accomplishments in Russia?
Take a behind-the-scenes look at Whitecaps training as it was announced Kendall Waston had been named to Costa Rica's 23-man World Cup roster.
Ian Darke leads the ESPN panel in predicting the 2018 World Cup winner with names of Germany, Brazil, France and England among the list.
The ESPN FC crew break down Brazil's Group E which contains Switzerland, Costa Rica and Serbia.

The 2018 World Cup is just over a month away, and all 32 teams are preparing in earnest for their shot at the trophy in Russia. ESPN FC is previewing every team ahead of the opening game on June 14. Find all 32 teams here.

Who they are

Captain: Bryan Ruiz
Manager: Oscar Ramirez
Nickname: La Sele
FIFA rank (as of April 12, 2018): 25

How they qualified

Costa Rica won their group with 16 points to advance to CONCACAF's Hexagonal phase. In their first game of the round...



 By Chris Wright

Real Madrid's Keylor Navas: Cannes red carpet scarier than Champions League final

Real Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas says he is more nervous about promoting his new biopic at Cannes this week than he is about facing Liverpool's Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane in the Champions League final on May 26.

"Hombre de Fe" ("Man of Faith") tells how Costa Rica international Navas' faith was vital to his progress from a humble rural background to winning back to back Champions League medals with Madrid.

The movie has already been shown in cinemas in Navas' home country, and...