The Costa Rican women’s national team has regained its main figure, forward Raquel Rodríguez, for the match against Japan, crucial for their aspirations to stay alive in the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
After falling by a hefty 3-0 against Spain in their opening match, the Ticas will have to face the Japanese on Wednesday, who come from thrashing Zambia 5-0 in Group C of the tournament.
“We have had good time to recover and to have everyone available. We have worked on both systems, I have already decided what we are going to do and you will find out tomorrow,” said coach Amelia Valverde in a press conference, accompanied by Rodríguez.
However, she did not advance if the player from the Portland Thorns of the United States will be in the starting lineup in the match to be played at 05:00 GMT in Dunedin, New Zealand.
The coach assured to be “in one of the most difficult groups” of the World Cup, with the former champion Japan and the power Spain, at the moment first and second respectively of the group, just ahead of Costa Rica.
However, she said, “we have tried to grow as a team, adapt to the demands of this tournament, enjoying and aware that it corresponds to give a thousand percent.”
For her part, Raquel Rodríguez said she trusts in a good result against Japan and aspires to qualify for the second round, despite her defeat against Spain.
“The team feels very hopeful. Despite not scoring in the first match, we know that we still have chances to qualify for the second phase and that as a team is a priority,” said the forward.
“I feel good, we are available and we hope that things go very well for Costa Rica,” she concluded.
The match between Costa Rica and Japan is scheduled for Wednesday, July 27 at 05:00 GMT. The winner of the match will take a big step towards qualifying for the knockout stage of the tournament.
The return of Raquel Rodríguez is a major boost for the Costa Rican team. She is their top scorer and one of their most creative players. Her presence will give the Ticas a much-needed boost in attack.
However, Japan is a very strong team and will be a difficult opponent. They are the former champions of the World Cup and have a wealth of experience. The Costa Ricans will need to be at their best if they want to get a result.
The match is sure to be a close one. Both teams will be fighting for a place in the knockout stage. It is a match that is sure to be full of excitement.