Mexico's Raul Jimenez (#9) celebrates after scoring against host El Salvador in a World Cup qualifier on September 2, 2016. (Photo: Norvin Mendoza/Straffon Images)
CUERNAVACA, Mexico – History shows that any time Mexico and Costa Rica square off in a CONCACAF World Cup qualifier, anything can happen.
In 20 all-time WCQ meetings between them, the Mexicans hold a 10-4 advantage in wins. Costa Rica, however, is one of only two visiting sides to defeat the Tricolor, posting a 2-1 triumph in 2001 at the Estadio Azteca.
They tangle again on Friday at the same venue in a top-of-the-table Hexagonal clash. The first-place Ticos have maximum points from two games, while second-place Mexico has acquired four points from its pair of outings.
“We know that it’s a difficult match,” said Mexico forward Raul Jimenez. “[Costa Rica is] an opponent that at the moment has six points, but we have to play a smart match, knowing that the match is 90 minutes and be out to win.”
Mexico is well aware that the Costa Ricans will not be intimidated by playing in the famous, especially considering they battled to a scoreless draw there in qualifying for Brazil 2014. That’s why Hector Herrera is seeking the full support of home fans.
“It is a difficult game. We know that [Costa Rica] plays well,” the 26-year-old midfielder remarked. “How do you face them? I think with the same mentality as always…of trying to win it, having the home-field presence felt and asking the fans that they support us 100 percent. We know that the fans are important and they are a plus in the big matches like this one.”
Following the Costa Rica clash, Mexico will its attention on Tuesday’s visit to Trinidad & Tobago. For forward Oribe Peralta, securing six points is mandatory.
“We are thinking about winning the six points,” finished the Club America star. “That’s the way we are headed, taking an important step towards qualifying and that is the idea.”