The Costa Rican National Team and the United States National Team will face each other today at 7:05pm local time at the National Stadium, in La Sabana, San José, for the last game of the CONCACAF qualifiers for the World Cup which will be held in Qatar.
Ticos are assured of an intercontinental playoff against New Zealand, in order to fight for a spot at the World Cup.
On the other hand, USA will compete for a historic win, as they have never beaten Costa Rica in the qualifiers at their home stadium.
“The group is eager to face this challenge, we know well our past here, no U.S. team has won in San Jose (Costa Rica), and we are excited about the possibility of achieving it. The way I see this group is that they have grasped the challenges since the beginning of the qualifiers and this is one more. What makes this challenge more exciting is that after 90 minutes you can qualify (for the World Cup),” US Head Coach, Gregg Berhalter, commented at a press conference.
Numbers do not favor the North Americans, since the last time they managed to earn at least a point in Costa Rica was for the Mexico 1986 World Cup. Since then, Costa Rica has won nine consecutive times and scored 23 goals.
Unlike Costa Rica, who still needs to play a decisive match against New Zealand, the United States is in second place in the standings with 25 points, the same as Mexico. Despite being practically qualified Berhalter is not confident and will make sure his team plays its best.
Several Costa Rican starters are likely to be out tonight, because Costa Rican Head Coach, Luis Fernando Suarez, fears an accumulation of yellow cards, that could cause certain players to miss the game against New Zealand.
To qualify directly to the World Cup, los ticos would need a true miracle: beating USA at least 6-0. At the same time Mexico would have to lose against El Salvador. The number of goals Costa Rica needs to score, directly depends on the goals scored by El Salvador.
Costa Rican players know this scenario is highly unlikely. Though they’re motivated and looking to win tonight in front of their supporters, they know they will have to face one more battle before heading to Qatar.
In soccer, there is nothing certain; anything can happen and, throughout history, heroic deeds have been achieved. For now, all fans know for sure, is that tonight’s game promises to be vibrant and exciting. With their passion for soccer and their National Team, Los Ticos will set the perfect atmosphere for this clash.