Costa Rica won 2-1 over El Salvador on Sunday in the penultimate match of the CONCACAF final round of 16 and continues to dream of qualifying directly to the World Cup in Qatar 2022.
Anthony Contreras at 30 minutes and Joel Campbell at 45+1 scored the winning goals for the Costa Rican national team, which reached Mexico and the United States with 22 points in second place in the octogonal, behind Canada, which already qualified with 28 points.
The United States and Mexico later played their matches of this penultimate date of the octagonal against Panama (18 points) and Honduras (4), respectively.
El Salvador, out of the octogonal race, scored through Cristian Gil Mosquera (31).
Costa Rica will host the United States on Wednesday in San José in the closing match of the qualifier, which grants three berths to the World Cup of Qatar 2022 and the fourth the possibility of a playoff against the winner of the Oceania qualifier.
On Sunday, Costa Rica, led by coach Luis Fernando Suárez, went on the offensive in Salvadoran territory from the start, where the defense led by Bryan Tamacas and goalkeeper Mario González resisted.
“I have to highlight the team work, the commitment they (the players) gave for the country. It gives me a deep pride to lead a spectacular group, a group that gives everything for the country,” said Suárez in a press conference.
The moment of triumph that Costa Rica is experiencing, which included ending Canada’s undefeated run at home last Thursday, Suárez attributed it to “a job well done”, to the collaboration of the league and to the “unconditional support” of the Costa Rican Federation.
Before thinking about the country he would face in the playoff, Suarez said he is “thinking about how to beat the United States” on Wednesday.
For his part, the Salvadoran helmsman, Hugo Perez, acknowledged that the ‘Selecta’ has mistakes: “It is very quick to digest what happened, they are always our mistakes. I am quite sad because (…) the same things have happened to us throughout the octagonal, because we are fighting and suddenly we fall because of mistakes”.
El Salvador closes the round of 16 on Wednesday against Mexico, where it hopes to “stand up well” and then think about the qualification process for the 2026 World Cup.
El Salvador participated in two World Cups, Mexico-1970 and Spain-1982.