Costa Rica takes on Qatar with experience, rising stars

Juan Pablo Vargas #3 of Costa Rica celebrates after scoring his goal during the match between Costa Rica national against United States national as part of the Concacaf 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifier held in National Stadium in San Jose, Costa Rica.
Juan Pablo Vargas #3 of Costa Rica celebrates after scoring his goal during the match between Costa Rica national against United States national as part of the Concacaf 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifier held in National Stadium in San Jose, Costa Rica.
(Photo by Jhon Duran/CONCACAF / Straffonimages/

The 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar is now just days away from kicking off, with the four teams from CONCACAF all hoping to deliver strong performances, according to CONCACAF.
CONCACAF said on Monday that, for the third straight time, the tournament will involve Costa Rica, “whose best performance came in a memorable run at Brazil 2014 when they won a group featuring former champions Italy, England and Uruguay and reached the quarterfinals before losing in a penalty shootout to the Netherlands.
“It is a Costa Rica team that boasts many familiar names, beginning with GK Keylor Navas, MF Celso Borges, attacking midfielder Bryan Ruiz and FW Joel Campbell, four players who were part of that spirited final eight run in Brazil,” CONCACAF said.
It said there are also a “slew of young, promising players” on the Costa Rica squad, namely Anthony Contreras, Brandon Aguilera and Jewison Bennette, the latter serving up the assist on Campbell’s game-winning goal in the 1-0 win versus New Zealand in the Inter-Confederation Play-Off.
In the Final Round of CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying for Qatar 2022, Costa Rica earned a “jaw-dropping” 19 points from their final seven matches to secure a Fourth-Place finish in the table with a 7W-4D-3L record, with 13 goals scored and eight conceded.
“The Ticos went on to clinch their sixth World Cup appearance in that aforementioned win against the Kiwis,” CONCACAF said.
Beginning with their first appearance at Italy 1990, CONCACAF said Costa Rica will have participated in five of the last nine World Cups “and will try to snap a six-match winless streak in World Cup play when they face off against Spain, Germany and Japan in Group E.”
Overall, in World Cup play, CONCACAF said Costa Rica have a record of 5W-5D-8L, with 19 goals scored and 28 conceded.
It said Ronald Gomez and Paulo Cesar Wanchope are the nation’s all-time scoring leaders in the World Cup with three goals.
“However, Ruiz is one goal away in Qatar from pulling level,” CONCACAF said.
With nine matches played in his career, Christian Bolanos is the all-time appearances leader for the Ticos in World Cups, CONCACAF said.
It said that, in their five previous World Cup opening matches, Costa Rica earned three wins, and with a 3W-5D-4L record against European opposition, “they will fancy their chances in their first match in Qatar against 2010 champions Spain on Nov. 23.”
“La Roja are playing in their 12th straight World Cup and 16th overall, however, it will be their first ever meeting with Costa Rica,” CONCACAF said,
Four days later, on Nov. 27, it said Costa Rica will take aim at Japan in what will be another first-time match-up between countries at a World Cup.
“The Ticos do have experience, though, in facing Asian opposition,” said CONCACAF, stating that, at South Korea/Japan 2002, goals from Gomez and Mauricio Wright earned Costa Rica a 2-0 victory over China.
It said Costa Rica then close out the group against another former champion, this time four-time winners Germany.
CONCACAF said these two sides had a memorable opening match to the 2006 tournament in Germany, “when Costa Rica put up a brave fight against the host nation in a 4-2 final in which Wanchope scored both Costa Rican goals.
“If history is any indication, Costa Rica revel in the opportunity to go up against a former World Cup champion, and with a side that boasts many of the heroes from Brazil 2014, along with some of Costa Rican football’s emerging talents, there just might be the right mix for Costa Rica to have another magical run,” CONCACAF said.

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