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Costa Rica keen to lock up World Cup spot
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Costa Rica’s Celso Borges (pictured) shields the ball against host Mexico in a World Cup qualifier on March 24, 2017, in Mexico City. (Photo: Mexsport)

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica – Although there’s three games left on its CONCACAF Hexagonal schedule, with a win over visiting Mexico (5W-2D-0L, 17 points) on Tuesday night, Costa Rica (4W-2D-1L, 14 points) will clinch a berth in the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Head coach Oscar Ramirez says his team doesn’t want to wait and would like to get the job done in front of the Estadio Nacional faithful

“I think it is a group of very experienced boys that has been through this,” Ramirez said in his pre-match press conference Monday.  “I know that we have three chances to qualify, but we want to do it at home against a dignified opponent like Mexico, which is well coached by Juan Carlos Osorio.”

While the Ticos have demonstrated a knack for scoring goals at home during CONCACAF qualifying – 13 goals in six matches – Ramirez knows that first-place Mexico will present a stiff challenge on both sides of the ball.

“Now comes in a national team that plays good football,” commented the 52-year-old.  “I feel it is balanced.  You have to defend and attack well, especially with the national team that we have in front of us.”

In their previous Hexagonal meeting in the CONCACAF Hexagonal on March 24, 2017, Javier Hernandez (8’) and Nestor Araujo (45’) scored first-half goals as Mexico triumphed, 2-0.

For Ramirez, that was a lesson learned.

“Sadly it weighed on us to be down in the scoreline to start,” he finished.  “It was hard for us to give depth to our play and then they got a second goal.  We wanted to go look for the game, but this is about effectiveness.”

 
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