5/29/2018 8:47:24 AM (GMT+3)

Navas: Costa Rica's last line of defence in Russia

Navas: Costa Rica

NEW DELHI: Confidence and a steely nerve makes Keylor Navas one of the best goalkeepers in the world today

He was in stupendous form against Liverpool in the Champions League final last Saturday when he punched and dived to defend the Real Madrid citadel in their hat-trick of titles.

"Thank you for your affection! Infinite thanks to all who always supported me from all places of the world, a huge hug and God bless you always," Navas tweeted after Real triumphed in Kiev, Ukraine. 

A similar kind of performance is expected of him in Russia at the FIFA World Cup next month when he turns out for his national side.

While some of Costa Rica’s leading lights are not in the best of form, with Bryan Ruiz and Joel Campbell battling injury and Celso Borges having had a disappointing season with Deportivo La Coruna in Spain, there can be no doubting that Navas is on top of his game.

In winning everything there is to win with Real Madrid in the last few years, the Tico custodian has done so as one of the stars at one of the biggest clubs in the world.

Costa Rica cannot be ruled out in Russia, not with their talismanic keeper in the form of his life.

The 23-man list features some seasoned campaigners, and the average age of the squad is 29 and the average number of caps is 46.

Interestingly, 12 of the 23 players, who were in Brazil four years ago, will be there in Russia.

It also includes four players who played parts in the qualifiers for the last world finals but who did not make the final squad for one reason or another: Bryan Oviedo, Johnny Acosta, Kendall Waston and David Guzman.

Add those two groups together and Costa Rica have a core of 16 players who have been together for the last eight years, through good times and bad.

During this period, they have got to know each other in-depth, on and off the pitch, all of which will surely prove helpful in Russia when they open campaign against Serbia in Samara.