Action from the World Cup qualifier between host Honduras and Costa Rica (red) on October 11, 2013, in San Pedro Sula. (Photo: Imagenes en Costa Rica)
SAN JOSE, Costa Rica -- While Mexico’s World Cup status has received a bulk of the headlines leading into the last matchday of qualifying in CONCACAF, that’s not the focus of Costa Rica head coach Jorge Luis Pinto.
“Were not going to play on Tuesday thinking that Mexico can be eliminated,” the Colombian said at a Monday press conference. “We are not interested. That has not crossed my mind.”
The Ticos will square off against the visiting Mexicans at the Estadio Nacional. It is a match that has major consequences for multiple teams in the CONCACAF Hexagonal, especially Mexico and Panama.
Though his team has already qualified for next year’s World Cup, Pinto is giving the encounter all of the importance that one at this level deserves.
“This Tuesday we will play 100 percent,” assured Pinto. “We are to compete, defend the Costa Rican shirt. In no way has it crossed my mind to have other behavior or attitude. All those who think that way are wrong.”
To close out the final round with a victory in front of its passionate supporters is all the motivation Pinto said his team needs.
“We have to attack,” he commented. “We have our fans and we want to win. We do not care if Mexico is going to the World Cup or not. That’s not our problem.”
The Costa Rican players also agree that their only concern should be for the fans and themselves.
“We do not think about that [Mexico not qualifying for the World Cup], just to win our last game, give a gift to the fans and ourselves,” added captain Bryan Ruiz. “We want to win for us, not what happens to the rest.”
Costa Rica lost at Honduras 1-0 last Friday in San Pero Sula and wants to finish on a high note. The challenge of facing Mexico is one that Pinto relishes.
“Tomorrow is a match of life and death, we love those kind of matches,” he finished.