Honduras and Costa Rica Rica meet Thursday with the obligation to win to avoid being left behind in the CONCACAF octagonal, the final round of qualifying for the 2022 Men’s World Cup in Qatar.
The game will be played at 6:00 p.m. local time at the Metropolitan Olympic Stadium in San Pedro Sula, the second city of Honduras, 180 km north of Tegucigalpa.
Both contenders are in the red after the first three games of the octagonal, in which they only accumulated two points each and in which Costa Rica lost at home to Mexico and Honduras was beaten 4-1 by the United States also at home.
The fourth date is completed with the United States-Jamaica and El Salvador-Panama matches.
Mexico leads the table with 7 points, followed by Canada, the United States and Panama, all with 5 points. Costa Rica, Honduras and El Salvador have two units each and Jamaica closes the positions with one point.
The first three will qualify for Qatar 2022 and the fourth will reach a play-off with a team from another continent.
La Sele has struggled
Colombian coach Luis Fernando Suárez — who led Honduras to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil — is leading a Costa Rica side in turmoil.
Attacker Manfred Ugalde and veteran defender Giancarlo González resigned from the national team, declining to be featured on the roster.
“It is silly to talk about Manfred, Joel or Keylor; it is Costa Rica and the national team is not players, it is a whole country,” said attacker Joel Campbell. “We are in a difficult moment, we left points at home that could not be left and now we must go to recover them in any way. Those of us feel happy and we seek to do things well to straighten the road to Qatar.”
“As footballers, we want to be in the World Cup and we are going to go out and give it our all,” said PSG goalkeeper Keylor Navas. “We can’t save anything (…) These are moments when great players have to come out and that’s what we hope for.”
Honduras: Luis López – Kevin Álvarez, Denil Maldonado, Maynor Figueroa, Diego Rodríguez – Andy Najar, Deybi Flores, Alex López – Kervin Arriaga – Brayan Moya and Alberth Elis. DT: Fabián Coito.
Costa Rica: Keylor Navas – Ricardo Blanco, Óscar Duarte, Francisco Calvo, Bryan Oviedo – Yeltsin Tejeda, Celso Borges, Bryan Ruiz, Randall Leal, Johan Venegas – Joel Campbell. DT: Luis Fernando Suárez.