CONCACAF Rivalry: Costa Rican Perspective
Only one CONCACAF team has even won at Azteca: That would be Costa Rica in a 2001 qualifier. Only one CONCACAF team has won at Saprissa this decade, and that was Mexico during the 2005 Hexagonal.
So while the media loves to play up the US-Mexico rivalry, the Costa Rica-Mexico rivalry can rightfully claim its place among the best in the region.
The Ticos come into tomorrow’s game versus El Tri suffering from a crisis of confidence. Coach Rodrigo Kenton has made a number of major changes following a 4-0 thrashing by Honduras and a Gold Cup pk shootout loss to Mexico’s “B” team.
Most Central American countries cannot compete with El Tri in football terms and perhaps dangerously show an unbending hatred for Mexico in cultural terms as well. Some of this resentment is economic as well, but Costa Rica, more politically stable and economically advanced than its neighbors still shares its neighbor’s hatred of Mexico.
The Ticos are the one the Central American nation that have been on equal terms with El Tri for sometime in terms of football. With Mexico recently losing to Honduras (twice), and Guatemala, as well as drawing with Panama, the Ticos are almost obligated to win this game.
But will they? I have my doubts and have to believe that Mexico is surging and will make the World Cup while Costa Rica could be the least likely CONCACAF qualifier among the current top four in Hex, especially if they lose this match.
Mexico’s best away result in World Cup qualifying this year was a 2-2 draw in Edmonton against Canada. In this match, The Canadians hit the crossbar twice late, and were playing with a watered down squad having already been eliminated. Otherwise, El Tri has done nothing but lose away from home.
Tomorrow’s showdown in Saprissa very well could determine the World Cup fate of both Mexico and Costa Rica.