Sunderland defender Bryan Oviedo is set to make his Russia 2018 bow this afternoon after sitting out Costa Rica's opening World Cup game against Serbia. The Black Cats man will be cheered on from the stands by his wife Anjie Alfaro who is part of the Ticos's travelling contingent.
A cohort of Costa Rican 'WAGS', Anjie Alfara second from left
This afternoon's match will be a helluva test for the Black Cats left back as he pits himself against the attacking prowess of Brazil. However, the Brazilians also failed to impress in their first game with a disappointing draw against Switzerland. The four-time Word Cup winners must score to progress and the four "Fantáticos" - Neymar, Coutinho, Gabriel Jesus and William - all failed to make an impact against the Swiss.
Oviedo was dropped from the Tico's first match in favour of the physical presence of Minnesota United captain Francisco Calvo. Brazil have fitness doubts over Neymar while Costa Rica have been rumoured to have problems in the camp amidst criticism of manager Óscar Ramírez.
Sunderland man Oviedo is expected to line up as a wing-back ahead of a three-man central defence. The 28-year-old former Everton defender was hardly convincing in Costa Rica's warm up for the World Cup and was poor in his side's final pre-tournament game against Belgium. Observers in his home nation are starting to suggest that his preparation for Russia 2018 was hardly helped by the Black Cats relegation to League One.
Oviedo has been living in Durham with his wife and children since signing for Sunderland in January 2016. He played 34 games in the Championship last season and scored a couple of goals. The 44-capped international has been linked with a move to Club Brugges this summer.