Costa Rica will join Germany, Spain, Japan in the Group E of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar after beating New Zealand on Joel Campbell’s sole goal at the last match of the extended qualifying campaign in Doha on Tuesday.
“Los Ticos” caught a perfect start and shocked the “All Whites” with the first attack of the encounter through Campbell, who danced through New Zealand’s territory before unleashing a low shot to beat goalkeeper Oliver Sail with only two minutes played.
New Zealand remained unfazed and responded well with 16 minutes gone as Costa Rica’s custodian Keylor Navas had to be on guard twice to deny Chris Wood’s attempt with the outside of the boot.
Wood thought he had eventually restored parity just before the break but Wood’s goal following a cross into the box was ruled offside by the video assistant referee, Xinhua reports.
After the restart, New Zealand’s hopes of a comeback suffered a heavy setback as Kosta Brabarouses, who was fielded nine minutes earlier, was sent off with a straight red card following a rude foul Francisco Calvo in the 69th minute.
Two minutes later, Costa Rica nearly benefitted from their numerical advantage, but Sail was equal to Anthony Daniel Contreras Enriquez’s dangerous long-range effort.
New Zealand however remained active and kept Costa Rica’s defence busy as Clayton Lewis’s promising shot forced Navas into action with 76 minutes into the clash.
Costa Rica’s defence stood firm though and protected their narrow lead to the final whistle.
With the crucial victory, Costa Rica secure their sixth World Cup participation while New Zealand failed to qualify for the tournament after 1982 and 2010.