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Costa Rica
Monday, May 16, 2022

Costa Rica hosts Jamaica in must-win game

Costa Rica and Jamaica will meet Wednesday during the third date of the CONCACAF octagonal, both needing a victory so as not to be left behind in the battle for a ticket to the 2022 Men’s World Cup in Qatar.

The match will take place at 7:00 p.m. local time at the National Stadium, in San José, in front of 3,000 people, which corresponds to 8.5% of the venue’s capacity. That was the maximum crowd allowed by the Health Ministry of this Central American nation.

‘La Sele’ and the ‘Reggae Boyz’ have one and zero points, respectively, after two dates of the octagonal. The round-robin grants three places to the World Cup and, to the fourth-place finisher, the right to a play-off against a team from another continent.

Mexico is the lone leader with six points, followed by Panama with four. Further behind come El Salvador, Canada, Honduras and the United States with two points each.

The Ticos equalized 0-0 in Panama and then lost 1-0 at home to Mexico, and in neither of the commitments did they do enough to deserve anything more. A lone direct shot in 180 minutes in attack and relying on goalkeeper Keylor Navas are two themes that explain the bad moment Costa Rica is experiencing.

Meanwhile, the Jamaicans gave something to talk about in their 2-1 loss to Mexico in their debut at the Azteca, but they threw away all the good they had shown with a disastrous presentation at home against Panama, who thrashed them 3-0.

“The game against Jamaica should help us not only because of the situation of earning points, but also because it is important not to lose chances so early. It would also give us more confidence,” said Costa Rica’s coach, the Colombian Luis Fernando Suárez. “Without a doubt, it is an important game, the victory is a priority situation.”

“You have to do an introspection, an internal reflection, because there are three games in a few days and we have not shown responsibility. We have to fix ourselves and move towards the next rival (Costa Rica),” said the Reggae Boyz coach, former Jamaican international Theodore Whitmore.

For this match, Suárez will be able to count on Joel Campbell, who against Mexico could only be on the pitch for 45 minutes because he still suffered from a right ankle injury. The forward’s presence will be a boost for a team in need of a greater offensive presence.

On the other hand, Jamaica will be shorthanded, as Kemar Lawrence and Norman Campbell do not have a visa to enter Costa Rican soil and they joined the 12 already known players who are active in England due to Covid-19-related restrictions.

Currently, the Ticos are ranked 44th in the FIFA rankings, while Jamaica ranks 50th.

The last time they measured their strength was on July 20, in the first phase of the Gold Cup. The Ticos won 1-0, with a goal from captain Bryan Ruiz (pictured above).

Jamaica has 13 games without beating Costa Rica and the last time it did so was 24 years ago, for the World Cup qualifier in France 1998 (1-0, in Kingston).

From there, Costa Rican has tallied seven victories, with six draws between the two.

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