AFTER a sensational first-round play, the Costa Rica women’s soccer team’s Olympic dreams ended Wednesday afternoon following a 4-0 loss to the United States in the Pre-Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
The United States dominated the game from the beginning with an early goal in the fifth minute. From then on, the Costa Rican team hardly touched the ball, taking less shots on goals than the number of goals the U.S. women made.
The absence of Megen Chávez, the Ticas’ leading scorer in the tournament, due to an injury sustained during the Costa Rica-Canada match on Monday, made the gap between the two teams more visible.
Despite their early exit, Costa Rica’s technical director, Ricardo Rodríguez, said he was proud of his team’s performance during the tournament.
“We’re going out with our heads held high,” he said. “We demonstrated we have the potential to play at this level.”
Rodríguez also said he is looking forward to the 2008 Olympics by working hard to develop younger players during the next four years.
THIS was the third meeting between Costa Rica and the United States in just over a year. Each time the United States has won, but U.S. technical director April Heinrichs said she has seen a real evolution with the Costa Rican women’s team.
“They’ve made remarkable improvement,” she said about the Costa Rican women. “They had a fighting spirit this tournament that they didn’t have six months ago. They had the organization and the commitment they didn’t have six months ago and I was extremely impressed with them.”
The United States will advance to the Olympics for the third time in a row, making it the only team in the region to compete in every Olympics in which women’s soccer has been an event.
The Mexican women’s team will advance for the first time. After defeating Canada 2-1 Wednesday afternoon, Mexico also secured a berth to Athens this summer.