Costa Rica took back control of its own destiny in World Cup preliminaries after defeating El Salvador, 1-0, Friday night in San Salvador. The Ticos can advance to the “hexagonal stage” of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil by defeating Guyana on Tuesday night in San José.
José Cubero’s goal at the 31 minute propelled Costa Rica points to second place in Concacaf’s Group B and dropped El Salvador into 3rd place.
If El Salvador had defeated Costa Rica, the Salvadorans would have knocked out the Ticos and joined Mexico in moving on to the next round. Now Costa Rica holds the edge, needing only to beat a Guyana team that the Ticos beat 4-0 in Georgetown back in June.
Mexico remained undefeated in Group B by thrashing last place Guyana, 5-0.
In Group A, The U.S. eked out an extra time, 2-1, victory against lowly Antigua and Barbuda to move in a tie atop the division with Guatemala. The Guatemalans knocked off Jamaica, 2-1. The U.S. and Guatemala meet next Tuesday as does Jamaica and Antigua & Barbuda. Jamaica maintains a slim hope of advancing to the next round, but must win next week to have a shot.
In Group C, Honduras tied Panama to keep its hope alive of returning to the World Cup. Canada and Panama remain atop the group.
Final Matches of Group Stage – Next Tuesday
Guatemala at the United States
Antigua and Barbuda at Jamaica
El Salvador at Mexico
Guyana at Costa Rica at 7:30 p.m.
Panama at Cuba
Canada at Honduras
GROUP A (wins, draws, losses, points)
Guatemala 3-1-1 10 pts
United States 3-1-1 10 pts
Jamaica 2-1-2 7 pts
Antigua and Barbuda 0-1-4 1 pt
Mexico 5-0-0 15 pts
Costa Rica 2-1-2 7 pts
El Salvador 1-2-2 5 pts
Guyana 0-1-4 1 pt
Panama 3-1-1 10 pts
Canada 3-1-1 10 pts
Honduras 2-2-1 8 pts
Cuba 0-0-5 0 pts