Guatemala's Marco Pappa (white jersey) in World Cup Qualifying against the visiting USA on March 25, 2016, in Guatemala City. (Photo: Luis Rolando Solares)
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad & Tobago - Guatemala's Marco Pappa dreams of defeating host Trinidad & Tobago on Friday and helping the Central American nation advance to the final round of qualifying in CONCACAF for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
"I'm happy to be back in the national team," said the 29-year-old Pappa, who has appeared in all four fourth-round games. "I’m very anxious, with the desire to get a good result here in Trinidad & Tobago.”
Guatemala (2W-0D-2L, 6 points) currently sit third in Group C, trailing the table-topping Trinidadians (3-1-0, 10) by four points and the second-place United States (2-1-1, 7) by only one. A loss, however, at Hasely Crawford Stadium -- combined with a U.S. win over St. Vincent & the Grenadines (0-0-4, 0) -- will see the Chapines be eliminated from contention with a game to play.
Pappa, a midfielder with the Colorado Rapids, stressed the magnitude of the occasion, saying: "This is an important game in order for us to have the possibility of another. Winning is what we have in mind, other than we know that we have never beaten Trinidad & Tobago (as a visitor), but we know that nothing is impossible.”
After 55 internationals with Guatemala, Pappa wants to be part of the 10-game Hexagonal that will ultimately determine CONCACAF’s representatives to Russia 2018.
"Personally, it's my third qualifying cycle and I've always wanted to go to the next round,” he remarked. “I hope to fulfill that dream.”
Recovered from a left-knee injury that sidelined him for seven weeks earlier in the Major League Soccer season, Pappa is confident of his health heading into the T&T qualifier.
"I'm fine physically,” finished the former Chicago Fire standout. “We are ready for the crucial game.”