Wednesday 23 June 2021

Ticas Pull Out Tie With South Korea

Costa Rica’s Katherine Alvarado celebrates after her team nabbed a late goal to keep their hopes alive in the tournament. Photograph: Andre Pichette/EPA
Costa Rica’s Katherine Alvarado celebrates after her team nabbed a late goal to keep their hopes alive in the tournament. Photograph: Andre Pichette/EPA

(QCOSTARICA) Despite facing a bigger, faster, more talented squad in South Korea, the Costa Rican Women’s Soccer All-star team held on in gritty performance to pull out a last minute 2-2 tie in the FIFA World Cup being held in Canada. This puts them momentarily in 2nd place, behind their next opponent Brazil.

The Ticas actually surprised the South Koreans, coming out aggressively.  Their moxy was rewarded in the 17th minute when Melissa Herrera scored the opening goal in the match, and gave the Tica All Stars hope for a victory.

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However, Korea reacted immediately and 25th minute drew a foolish foul in the Costa Rican area, converting the penalty shot to tie. Just a few minutes later they went ahead on a lightning quick attack down the sideline, and a perfectly placed center that their forward Jeon converted smoothly.

For most of the rest of the first half the Koreans dominated the action, with Costa Rica creating only isolated chances.  The Costa Rican coach made only one substitution, putting in Karla Villalobos in the 76th minute, the same substitution she made against Spain.  While Korea came out of halftime looking to put the match away, their efforts did not result in any goal.

Eventually, Costa Rica took possession of the ball and tried mightily for the equalizer, without creating much danger for the Korean keeper.  The tall Korean defenders and overall team speed seemed to keep the Costa Rican attack innocuous.  But the Ticas never gave up and they finally sprung Karla Villalobos free in front of the goal, where she showed why she is the all-time leading goal scorer in Costa Rican women’s soccer, putting away her only chance in two matches without any problem whatsoever.

Costa Rica will face Brazil on Wednesday at 6 pm local time. They would keep second place with a win, reaching 5 points.  If Spain and South Korea tie, and Costa Rica ties with Brazil, then they would still maintain second place, due to their goal differential (both of the other teams have lost to Brazil).  However, a loss would put their hopes of advancing into the slim or none realm.

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