WCQ Playoff: New Zealand vs Costa Rica Preview

Last Qualifier for 2022 World Cup

Costa Rica Tipped to Make Third Straight World Cup

The last World Cup qualifying playoff features New Zealand vs Costa Rica next Tuesday. The winner will be the last team qualified for the 32-team World Cup field. Awaiting the winner is a difficult group with Japan, Spain, and Germany. Undoubtedly, all of New Zealand, and Costa Rica’s focus will be on getting there first and the Ticos come in as favorites. Costa Rica is priced at -155 to win and a whopping -355 to qualify.

New Zealand vs Costa Rica Game Info:

  • Location: Ahmad bin Ali Stadium, Al-Rayyan, Qatar
  • Date & Time: Tuesday, June 14th, 2:00 p.m. ET
  • TV: FS1

Head-to-Head

All Meetings:

  • Mar 2007: Costa Rica 4-0 New Zealand

New Zealand vs Costa Rica has been played just once, 15 years ago in Costa Rica. The Ticos got a 4-0 win in a friendly and captain Bryan Ruiz scored the third goal.

Can New Zealand Put Playoff Struggles Behind Them?

  • OFC WCQ Record: 5-0, 1st

New Zealand went a perfect 5-0 in Oceania FIFA World Cup qualifiers, convincingly defeating Solomon Islands 5-0 in the final. Defender Bill Tuiloma scored twice and star striker, Chris Wood was also on the scoresheet. In group play, the All Whites scored 12 goals and conceded just one.

The last time New Zealand made the World Cup was 12 years ago and they were the only team to go undefeated. The All Whites managed three consecutive draws at South Africa in 2010 but failed to advance out of the group. New Zealand has a similarly competitive team this time around but is heavy underdogs to win, at +500.

Current odds of +250 imply New Zealand has just below a 30 percent chance to qualify over Costa Rica. The last time New Zealand played a CONCACAF team in inter-confederation playoffs, they lost to Mexico 9-3 on aggregate in 2014. The Kiwis also made the playoff four years ago but lost to CONMEBOL Peru 2-0 on aggregate.

Costa Rica Heating Up

  • CONCACAF WCQ Record: 7-3-4, 4th

It’s been a wild ride for coach Luis Fernando Suarez and the Costa Rican national team. They managed just six points through the first seven games of the CONCACAF third round but bounced back to make the playoff spot. The Ticos took an impressive 18 points from their last seven matches to finish four points ahead of Panama in fourth place. That includes wins over the USA, Canada, Jamaica, and Panama.

For those looking to bet on soccer, Costa Rica has been one of the hottest teams in CONCACAF over the past few months. They’ve lost just one of their last nine matches and are coming off of a 2-0 win vs Martinique in the CONCACAF Nations League.

The Ticos have an incredibly experienced team as all-time caps leader Celso Borges still starts at age 34. Ruiz, Joel Campbell, Oscar Duarte, and Kendall Waston have all scored at the World Cup before. Also, Keylor Navas is still one of the world’s best goalies and could be a potential difference-maker here.

What to Watch For

Neither team won their last inter-confederation playoff appearance and for New Zealand that wound is relatively fresh. Costa Rica, on the other hand, lost 2-1 on aggregate to Uruguay in 2009, failing to make South Africa in 2010.

New Zealand doesn’t often play high-level teams and it’s worth noting they’ve lost their last two matches to teams outside of the OFC. Last Sunday, the All Whites fell 1-0 in a friendly vs Peru and they also lost 3-1 to Jordan back in January.

This New Zealand vs Costa Rica matchup appears one-sided based on the betting odds, but New Zealand held a solid Peru side to just one goal recently. It wouldn’t be terribly surprising if they can keep things competitive here.

Costa Rica is, however, ½-goal favorites coming into Tuesday’s match and favored to cover. Meanwhile, a draw stands at odds of +265 and the over/under goal total is at 2. The over is currently implied to be more likely at -120.

A lot of eyes figure to be on this match as it marks the end of qualifying and there are two intriguing teams on display.

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