The Costa Rica men’s national soccer team will face Mexico next month in an international friendly at the venerable Estadio Azteca in Mexico City.
The match, scheduled for 8 p.m. CST on Sept. 30, will represent the return to competition for both teams in context of the coronavirus pandemic.
“We are very happy to make this announcement about the matchup against Mexico,” said Rodolfo Villalobos, president of the Costa Rican Football Federation (Fedefutbol). “Logically, it will respect all the health protocols — those of Mexico and of Costa Rica.
“The health of our players and staff are at the forefront, but we are content. It’s something we all missed.”
Both teams will likely feature domestic-based players due to the pandemic and because the match date falls outside FIFA’s international match calendar. The meeting will almost certainly be held without fans.
“We’ll make the best team possible,” said Rónald Gónzalez, Costa Rica’s manager.
Player availability will be contingent on ever-changing international travel regulations. Mexico has largely kept airports open for visitors, while Costa Rica currently mandates 14-day quarantines for returning citizens.
The September friendly will be a preview of upcoming competitive contests between the regional rivals. Mexico and Costa Rica have qualified to the final round of World Cup qualifying in CONCACAF and to the semifinal of the Nations League. Both tournaments have been rescheduled for 2021 due to the pandemic.
“We know that, at this time, the worldwide situation is complicated; the planning of contests will be subject to the provisions of the Ministry of Health for the management of the pandemic,” González said previously about international soccer in context of COVID-19.
González has also expressed his hope that Costa Rica can schedule additional friendlies in November against teams from other regions.