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Costa Rica prevails on PKs, earns World Cup place
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Players from Costa Rica race to celebrate after topping Trinidad & Tobago on penalty kicks in the CONCACAF Women's Championship to qualify for the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup on October 24, 2014, in Chester, Pennsylvania, USA. (Photo: Mexsport)

CHESTER, Pennsylvania -- Costa Rica became the first Central American country ever to qualify for the FIFA Women's World Cup on Friday, overcoming Trinidad & Tobago 3-0 on penalty kicks in the 2014 CONCACAF Women's Championship semifinals at PPL Park.

Goalkeeper Dinnia Diaz made three consecutive saves, thwarting Maylee Attin Johnson, Lauryn Hutchinson and Mariah Shade and sealing the Costa Ricans a place at Canada 2015 after the teams played to a 1-1 draw over 120 minutes.

Katherine Alvarado, Carol Sanchez and Wendy Acosta successfully converted their kicks from the spot.

"It's really an emotional experience," said a smiling Diaz.  "It's hard to control, but there's nothing to do but celebrate.  You celebrate because we're in the World Cup.

"In the end, it's not just the team, but the country that celebrates this victory."

The Soca Princesses will have another opportunity to secure a World Cup berth in the third-place match here Sunday. They will play the loser of the other semifinal between the United States and Mexico, which will take place later in the evening.

Trinidad's Reha Belgrave was ejected in the 120th minute for her second yellow card.  She will miss the third-place match.

While the halftime score did not indicate it, the Ticas had the better of play in the opening half.

Carolina Venegas lifted the Central Americans into a 1-0 lead in the 18th minute, slotting in from five-yards out off a left-wing feed from Wendy Acosta.  It was Venegas’ third goal of the competition.

Trinidad leveled in the 73rd minute through Lauryn Hutchinson, a halftime substitute.  From seven-yards out, the 22-year-old defender headed home a long Arin King free-kick.

Costa Rica extended its team-record winning streak in the competition to four straight games.

To view Highlights of the game, click here.

 
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