Sports

Costa Rica qualifies for World Cup in dramatic fashion

Costa Rica qualifies for World Cup in dramatic fashion

Kendall Waston scored in the fifth minute of second-half stoppage time to clinch Costa Rica's second-straight World Cup berth and fifth overall.

The 1-1 draw was enough for Costa Rica to clinch a spot in the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russian Federation. One of those three teams will face either Syria or Australia for a place in the World Cup.

Costa Rica had a golden chance to take the lead in the 60th minute. The Vancouver Whitecaps defender outjumped Maynor Figueroa and Johnny Palacios to head the ball past Donis Escober to the goalkeeper's left from 8 yards. Panama will host Costa Rica, while US visit Trinidad and Tobago.

Costa Rica have 16 points and are second in the final round of North and Central American and Caribbean region qualification, behind Mexico, who have 21 points and clinched a World Cup berth last month.

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Given the U.S. MNT's advantage in goal difference on both Honduras and Panama, a draw in Trinidad & Tobago would nearly certainly do the job for head coach Bruce Arena's side.

Goal difference has become key: the U.S.is plus-five, Panama minus-two and Honduras minus-seven.

The U.S. hosts Panama on Friday, trailing its visiting third-place opponent by one point and level on points with Honduras, but ahead on goal differential for the fourth spot.

In addition, the United States could qualify with a loss if Panama and Honduras both fail to win on Tuesday. They must now hope to beat already-qualified Mexico and hope both Panama and the United States lose. They were quarter-finalists in Brazil in 2014 and reached the knockout stage in Italy in 1990.

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