QCOSTARICA – Following Sunday’s win against El Salvador, the national team – La Sele – need a big win, goal wise, against the United States on Wednesday for a direct pass to the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
With Sunday’s win, the Ticos silenced its main detractors by adding 16 points out of a possible 18 in the second round of the Concacaf octagonal table and also changed the apathy of the fans for euphoria.
However, it still lacks an epic performance to reach the World Cup directly.
No matter what happens on the last game of elimination play, the win against El Salvador and the collapse of the Panamanians guaranteed the Ticos a card in the playoff against the Solomon Islands or New Zealand.
Concacaf’s top three teams get automatic World Cup spots, while the fourth-place team plays an inter-continental playoff in June against Oceania’s representative.
Arriving directly seems the least likely for the Ticos.
To do that implies a big win against the United States or that Mexico suffers a setback when it faces El Salvador.
Taking out the United States
On Wednesday, the Ticos face the U.S., who above Mexico, though tied in final points, the Americans have a lot more ‘goals for’ to be able to take the second spot in the CONCACAF standings.
Simply winning against the Americans will give the Ticos 25 points, but the win has to be by many goals. Many.
You see, the Americans have racked up a record of 21 goals for and 8 goals against, while the Tico have only managed 11 goals for and racked up 8 goals against, for a difference of +13 and +3.
This means, mathematically, a simple win is not enough, the Ticos would have to win by at least a 6 goal difference.
Although mathematically possible, the reality and history is that the Ticos have never beaten the Americans like this before.
The other scenario to give the Ticos a direct trip to Qatar is defeating the United State hoping that Mexico falls short against El Salvador.
However, although it sounds very good on paper, it is even less likely, given that even it the Salvadorans were to humble Mexico, the Ticos would still have to score at least four goals against the Americans, to make up the Ticos goals for difference with Mexico.
All or nothing against the Solomon Islands or New Zealand
This is the most likely scenario for the Ticos, to make a successful stop in either the Solomon Islands or New Zealand.
The playoff will be played in mid-June (probably on the 15th) in Qatar in a single game and whoever wins will seal their ticket to the World Cup.
The New Zealanders have two World Cup tournaments in their history (Spain 1982 and South Africa 2010). In addition, they were in the last three playoffs: defeated Bahrain in 2010 and Mexico in 2014, and bit the dust in 2018 against Peru.
The Solomons have never participated in a World Cup. But anything can happen.