Yeltsin Tejeda (pictured) looks to dribble during a recent training session ahead of Costa Rica's upcoming World Cup qualifier against Trinidad & Tobago. (Photo courtesy of Federación Costarricense de Fútbol)
SAN JOSE, Costa Rica – Costa Rica will look to remain unbeaten record in CONCACAF qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, when it opens final-round play Friday at Trinidad & Tobago.
The Ticos raced through the fourth round with a 5W-1D-0L record, claiming first place in Group B by six points over runner-up Panama. They are ready to pick-up where they left off, hoping to extend their WCQ winning streak to four consecutive games.
“It is very motivating to know that we did so well in the last round and for that reason the team is almost the same,” said forward Marco Ureña, 26, who has one goal in the current qualifying campaign. “We expect to start with a win and return to Costa Rica to win.
“We have grown as a team and for that reason I think we can go have a good game away and try to win at home because we are strong here against the United States. We hope to make that count and get the three points.”
Winger Yeltsin Tejada credits the squad’s deep pool of talent and the resulting level of internal competition as driving forces for success. Starting roles are at an obvious premium in head coach Oscar Ramirez’s side.
“There is a healthy competition in this group,” the 24-year-old expressed. “I’m a fighter. I have always been one and for that I am going back to work hard to win myself a spot in the starting XI. Here, we’re all giving everything and the final decision rests with the coaching staff. They will choose the players that best adapt to what is wanted.”
Thus far, on the road to Russia 2018, wins have been what’s wanted and achieved.