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Thursday, September 21, 2023

Costa Rica under-17 team wins World Cup opener

Leave it to the younger generation to get revenge for their elder countrymen.

In Monday’s opener of the Under-17 World Cup, Costa Rica’s sub-17 squad netted a pair of goals in a 2-1 win against South Africa, whose senior team just beat “La Sele” 1-0 in San José’s National Stadium earlier this month. Kevin Masis put home a 7th minute goal off a well-timed cross from Andy Reyes to get the Ticos rolling early.

In the 63rd minute, Reyes put home a penalty kick that was awarded after a handball by the South Africans. With the two-goal lead already built up, South Africa’s response came too late as Khanyisa Mayo scored in the 90th minute.

Coach Marcelo Herrera’s team now takes the early lead in Group E, ahead of North Korea, Russia, and South Africa. The Ticos will next play the Russians on Thursday at Ester Roa Municipal Stadium in Concepción, Chile.

FIFA’s Under-17 World Cup is a biannual tournament consisting of the world’s best 24 teams. In 2013, Nigeria won its fourth Under-17 World Cup, giving it more titles than any other country in the contest’s 30-year history. The Nigerians already lead Group A after a 2-0 win over Team USA.

The Tico under-17 team kicks off with Russia at 5 p.m. Costa Rica time on Thursday. This is the first time Costa Rica has qualified for the Under-17 World Cup since 2009, when the team was led by current La Sele star Joel Campbell. The last time the team made it to the knockout stages was in 2007, although it was then beaten by Argentina in the first round.

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