In preparation for their trip to Russia in June, Costa Rica’s national soccer team, La Selección or Sele, will test its readiness with friendlies in March against Scotland and Tunisia.
The Ticos will visit Scotland on March 23 before taking on Tunisia on March 27 in Nice, France.
Costa Rica goes into those matches with big question marks about the level of key players, including defender Cristian Gamboa, who has hardly played this season for Scottish-league club Celtic; and Joel Campbell, a forward for La Liga side Real Betis who is recovering from a serious injury.
Other doubts hovering over the Ticos are recent poor performances by striker Johan Venegas and uncertainties surrounding the form of more than a half-dozen players in the United States’ and Canada’s top league, Major League Soccer, whose current season has just gotten started.
The friendlies also will provide a chance for Oscar Duarte to return to the national team after a long injury setback and Celso Borges.
Costa Rica has no concerns at goalkeeper, with Keylor Navas, who has proven himself to be among the best in the world. Navas is credited for leading the Ticos to the quarterfinal in the 2014 World Cup.
Costa Rica will play its first Group E match at the World Cup on June 17 against Serbia in Samara. Its last two round-robin matches will be against Brazil on June 22 in Saint Petersburg and against Switzerland on June 27 in Nizhny Novgorod.