Costa Rica is the fourth qualifier from the North American region to the 2022 FIFA World Cup, needing to win an intercontinental playoff last summer over New Zealand.
It looked bleak for Costa Rica early on in North American qualification, but they finished in spectacular fashion to secure the fourth spot for a berth into the intercontinental playoff. They emerged victorious over the Kiwis in June behind an early Joel Campbell goal.
Unfortunately, Los Ticos must now navigate one of the most difficult draws of the entire World Cup, selected alongside two European powers and a strong Asian side in Group E. But they’re not new to springing World Cup upsets after topping a group that featured England, Italy, and Uruguay in 2014.
Los Ticos will face Nigeria on November 9 in Costa Rica in its final friendly tuneup before departing for Qatar on November 10. While in the Middle East they will make a brief stop in Kuwait to take on Iraq on November 17. They will open World Cup play on Wednesday, November 23.
Costa Rica has announced its 26-member squad for the FIFA World Cup which is scheduled to commence on November 20 in Qatar.
Luis Fernando’s side, in June, defeated 1-0 New Zealand in the intercontinental play-off to become the last team to qualify for the quadrennial tournament.
Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper Keylor Navas and former Arsenal forward Joel Campbell are among the players selected to represent Costa Rica at the tournament.
Speaking about his selection, Suarez said: “It was very difficult (to choose the squad) because there are not only 26 players eligible to be in Qatar,”
“(It is) a group that is focused on what it wants, has a lot of desire, and has shown a continuous improvement since we started,” he added.
Costa Rica was drawn into Group E alongside Japan and World Cup heavyweights Spain and Germany. It starts its cup campaign against Spain on November 23 at the Al Thumama stadium.
Here’s the full and official Costa Rica squad of 25 players chosen for the Qatar World Cup.
Goalkeepers: Keylor Navas (Paris St Germain), Esteban Alvarado (Herediano), Patrick Sequeira (CD Lugo).
Defenders: Francisco Calvo (Konyaspor), Juan Pablo Vargas (Millonarios FC), Kendall Waston (Saprissa), Oscar Duarte (Al-Wehda), Daniel Chacon (Colorado Rapids), Keysher Fuller (Herediano), Carlos Martinez (San Carlos), Bryan Oviedo (Real Salt Lake), Ronald Matarrita (Cincinnati).
Midfielders: Yeltsin Tejeda (Herediano), Celso Borges (Alajuelense), Youstin Salas (Saprissa), Roan Wilson (Grecia), Gerson Torres (Herediano), Douglas Lopez (Herediano) Jewisson Bennette (Sunderland), Alvaro Zamora (Saprissa), Anthony Hernandez (Puntarenas FC), Brandon Aguilera (Nottingham Forest), Bryan Ruiz (Alajuelense).
Forwards: Joel Campbell (Leon), Anthony Contreras (Herediano) Johan Venegas (Alajuelense).
When you’re in a group with the likes of Spain, Germany, and Japan, many would discount your team and that is what Costa Rica will be feeling right now. But, maybe this can work out for them as the pressure will be on the other teams rather than on them and they can focus on playing their best game and causing a couple of upsets.
Costa Rica’s Group E games
Spain v Costa Rica 23 November, 19:00 local time
Japan v Costa Rica 27 November, 13:00 local time
Costa Rica v Germany 1 December, 22:00 local time