Keylor Navas, Joel Campbell anchor Costa Rica World Cup preliminary squad

The La Liga keeper and Arsenal striker on loan will be two of Costa Rica's key figures as they try to shock the world and emerge from a group including England, Italy and Uruguay.
Joel Campbell has scored nine goals in 31 appearances for the Costa Rica national football team. Kevin C Cox / Getty Images / AFP
Joel Campbell has scored nine goals in 31 appearances for the Costa Rica national football team. Kevin C Cox / Getty Images / AFP

Goalkeeper Keylor Navas and forwards Bryan Ruiz, Joel Campbell and Alvaro Saborio head the list of players named Monday to Costa Rica’s preliminary 30-man squad for next month’s World Cup in Brazil.

Coach Jorge Luis Pinto resisted naming any major surprises in the line-up and is using the same core of players who helped Costa Rica to qualify as the top team from the Concacaf region.

Pinto said he was happy to stick with his proven players and valued continuity in the team.

“If we have to make changes, we will when the time comes,” Pinto said.

He said he will name his final 23-man squad on May 31, before the team travels to the United States for friendlies against Japan and Ireland.

Pinto also confirmed that defender Bryan Oviedo of Everton will miss the cup with a broken left leg. Oviedo was injured in January and was not able to recover sufficiently to make the team.

Costa Rica will be a heavy underdog to advance from a group containing England, Italy and Uruguay.

The Central Americans will be appearing in their fourth World Cup, but merely picking up a point or two will be difficult against three teams near the top of the Fifa rankings with seven World Cup titles between them.

Knocking one of the European giants out of the World Cup and matching their achievement of reaching the round of 16, which happened in 1990, would be a major accomplishment.

The Costa Ricans will need La Liga keeper Navas to play exceptionally to have a chance of keeping one of their three more-heralded opponents off the scoresheet. Netherlands-based Ruiz, a former Fulham player, and 21-year-old Campbell, an Arsenal signee who has been on loan with Lorient, Real Betis and Olympiakos since 2011, will be asked to carry the scoring duties. Saborio, of MLS side Real Salt Lake, has also been in fine form in the US, scoring six goals in 10 league matches so far in 2014 and netting 12 times in 16 matches in 2013.

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Keylor Navas (Levante), Patrick Pemberton (Alajuelense) Daniel Cambronero (Herediano), Esteban Alvarado (AZ Alkmaar).

Defenders: Johnny Acosta (Alajuelense), Giancarlo Gonzalez (Columbus Crew), Michael Umana (Saprissa), Oscar Duarte (Club Brugge), Waylon Francis (Columbus Crew), Heiner Mora (Saprissa), Junior Diaz (Mainz), Christian Gamboa (Rosenborg), Roy Miller (Red Bulls), Kendall Waston (Saprissa).

Midfielders: Celso Borges (AIK), Christian Bolanos (Copenhagen), Esteban Granados (Herediano), Michael Barrantes (Aalesunds), Yeltsin Tejeda (Saprissa), Diego Calvo (Valerenga), Jose Miguel Cubero (Herediano) Carlos Hernandez (Wellington Phoenix), Ariel Rodriguez (Alajuelense), Hansell Arauz (Saprissa).

Forwards: Alvaro Saborio (Real Salt Lake), Bryan Ruiz (PSV Eindhoven), Joel Campbell (Olympiacos), Randall Brenes (Cartagines), Marco Urena (FC Kuban Krasnodar), Jairo Arrieta (Columbus Crew).

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Published: May 13, 2014 04:00 AM

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