Published: Mon, October 09, 2017
Culture&Arts | By Hattie Nash

Costa Rica book World Cup place in dramatic fashion

Costa Rica book World Cup place in dramatic fashion

After Costa Rica's last-gasp goal to snatch a 1-1 draw against Honduras and seal a World Cup finals berth, Panama or Honduras look set to battle it out for fourth in the Central/North American zone.

The match had been postponed by 24 hours after heavy rainfall, and a 66th minute goal from Eddie Hernandez for Honduras may have also delayed Costa Rican celebrations.

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Both sides created some decent chances, but were unable to convert them, leaving the game barren at the end of the 90 minutes. The Ghana Football Association (GFA) has asked FIFA to consider replaying the match and also sanction the match officials.

The victory, clinched by substitute Alex Iwobi's goal with 17 minutes to go, ensured Nigeria will win Group B and qualify for the World Cup for the sixth time in the last seven tournaments. Honduran goalkeeper Donis Escober had pushed a shot back into the middle of the area only for Marcos Urena to fire over the empty net.

Six minutes later, Romell Quioto sprinted down the wing and crossed into the box, where Hernández connected with a thundering header to put the visitors in front.

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The top three teams qualify automatically for Russian Federation with the fourth-placed side going into a playoff with a team from the Asian confederation.

They must now hope to beat already-qualified Mexico and hope both Panama and the United States lose. Panama and Honduras have 10 points each.

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Costa Rica join Mexico in qualifying for the World Cup in Russian Federation and United States of America will fill the third CONCACAF space if they can beat Trinidad and Tobago in their next match. "Our players know they are playing in the World Cup and they will surely get over it soon and focus on next game". They were quarter-finalists in Brazil in 2014 and reached the knockout stage in Italy in 1990. He also admitted that Germany's attacking talent will not force the team to play defensively on Saturday as the tradition of any Costa Rican football team, be it senior or youth teams, has always been to play handsome football and that's exactly what they intend to do.

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