Costa Rica has so far had an almost perfect second round in CONCACAF, taking 16 out of a possible 18 points and securing an intercontinental playoff against the winner of the Oceania Conference.
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Although mathematics allows it, Costa Rica's situation to qualify among the first three places in the CONCACAF qualifying round is very complicated; it needs to beat the United States by a difference of six goals, or beat the United States by more than three goals and for Mexico to lose against El Salvador, a possibility that seems distant since the Aztecs will host the Salvadorans at the Azteca Stadium.
This leads us to believe that the Ticos can now be satisfied with obtaining the playoffs, an achievement that has many merits because in November they were five points behind Panama, the team that was the momentary owner of the fourth place, but the team coached by Luis Fernando Suarez reacted and with a string of victories and a tie against Mexico, they opened up the field in the competition and now with 22 points, they are far ahead of the Panamanians who can no longer catch them with one game to go.
What will Luis Fernando Suárez do?
So, with Costa Rica's chances of qualifying far off, even with the game against the United States still pending, it could start looking ahead to the playoffs by taking care of players with yellow cards so they do not risk missing the game against New Zealand or the Solomon Islands in a one-game series to be held in Qatar.
At this moment the players who were cautioned are Bryan Ruiz, Celso Borges, Joel Campbell, Francisco Calvo, Bryan Oviedo, Johan Venegas, Keysher Fuller, Jewison Bennette, and Alonso Martinez.
After the game against El Salvador, coach Suárez said that if there was no clear possibility of direct qualification, he would consider making changes and taking care of all those with yellow cards, prioritizing the playoffs.
"Yes, we have thought about it, we will see how these situations arise. It is a possibility that fits in everything that is seeking to qualify for a World Cup," said the strategist.
Costa Rica went from being a team that many thought had been eliminated, but revived and looks with optimism to the future in order to reach Qatar 2022.
Everything will be defined next Wednesday, March 30, Mexico vs El Salvador and Costa Rica vs United States, both games will kick off at 7:05 pm (CT).