Sunday, December 10

Costa Rica take on New Zealand in final World Cup 2022 qualifier

  • Costa Rica beat New Zealand 4-0 the only time the teams met in the past
  • Tonight’s winner will become the final participant at the 2022 World Cup
  • Winner will slot into Group E with Spain, Germany and Japan
  • 31st- ranked Costa Rica bidding to reach third consecutive World Cup
  • New Zealand have managed two World Cup appearances in the past

New Zealand assistant coach aiming for second World Cup

Current New Zealand assistant coach Rory Fallon was a player when New Zealand played at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. The 40-year-old will be in line to go to a second World Cup if the All Whites win tonight.

Fallon’s former club Plymouth Argyle wish him the best.

‘Need to be careful’, Costa Rican fan warns

At the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium, Manuel Escobar fancies Costa Rica’s chances tonight.

“They need to give it their 100 percent. They need to be very careful,” Escobar told Al Jazeera. “Peru thought it would be an easy game [yesterday] against a lower-ranked team, and let their guard down.”

Escobar’s son Gianluca, 10, said the team really needs to “know their positions and passes”.

The family of four came to Doha from the Costa Rica capital San Jose just for the playoff.

“We love football,” Escobar said.

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“Which Costa Rican doesn’t?” his son chirped.

Auckland City send well wishes to NZ

The New Zealand Premiership’s most successful team, Auckland City have sent in their well wishes to the All Whites. Interestingly, there are no Auckland City players in New Zealand’s lineup for today’s crucial game.

Lineups are out

New Zealand: Sail, Pijnaker, Reid, Tuiloma, Cacace, Kirwan, Bell, Lewis, Garbett, Greive, Wood

Costa Rica: Navas, Fuller, Duarte, Calvo, Oviedo, Tejeda, Borges, Campbell, Bennette, Torres, Contreras

Get ready

We are less than an hour away before kickoff. We will know who is the 32nd and final team at the 2022 World Cup in a matter of hours.


Costa Rican fans taking over the stadium

Thousands of Costa Rican fans have descended on to the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium to cheer for their national team. They are singing and dancing. Fans draped in the Costa Rica flags were seen taking pictures with family members, friends and locals, while blowing trumpets and playing the drums. In comparison, it is difficult to pick out any New Zealand supporters outside or inside the stadium (much like yesterday but then we all remember who had the last laugh) – Usaid Siddiqui at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium.

FIFA 2022 World Cup Qualifier - Costa Rica v New Zealand - Al Rayyan Stadium, Doha, Qatar
Costa Rica fans making their presence felt [Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera]
FIFA 2022 World Cup Qualifier - Costa Rica v New Zealand - Al Rayyan Stadium, Doha, Qatar
Costa Rica fans getting ready for the match [Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera]

Final World Cup spot up for grabs

New Zealand and Costa Rica will fight it out for the final World Cup 2022 spot in Doha in what will be the last match of the extended qualifying campaign for the 2022 World Cup that kicks off in November.

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Costa Rica are ranked 31 while New Zealand sit at 101 in the FIFA rankings.

Read our match preview here.

INTERACTIVE - Teams that have qualified for World Cup 2022 - June 12

Reaching third World Cup ‘an obsession’

Should Costa Rica qualify for the 2022 World Cup, it will be coach Luis Fernando Suarez’s third appearance at the World Cup and first with Costa Rica.

He was with Ecuador at the 2006 World Cup and Honduras in 2014.

“The word I’ve used most in all these interviews over the last few days is ‘obsession’, a word that’s sometimes frowned upon. I don’t see it like that. There are good obsessions. And my third World Cup is an obsession for me,” said Suarez.

Message for Costa Rica

Former Costa Rica winger Harold Wallace has sent a strong message to the current players.

“This jersey isn’t for everyone, so if you’re not ready to defend these colours please hand it over to someone who is willing to die for the country,” said Wallace who described playing at the 2018 World Cup as being one of the greatest moments of his career.

“Everything that I had worked for within the game of soccer had all come down to this one moment. When the Costa Rica national anthem began to play, I couldn’t hold back tears of joy – that’s how much it means, especially on the World Cup stage,” he said.

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‘Don’t die wondering’

New Zealand football legend Ryan Nelson has encouraged the All Whites to “give it their all”.

“One shot for glory is just awesome. You can’t get through a game like this on your own. You need your team-mates. Only you as a player know if you’ve given everything. Make sure that you can look at the mirror and know that you’ve given everything,” said Nelson, who helped New Zealand qualify for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

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