Costa Rica Sports – Soccer is a way of life in most Latin American countries so there is not much tolerance with loosing.
Since then under Wanchope Costa Rica has fallen to 41st in the latest FIFA rankings and has performed let’s just say “not well” in both friendly matches and now the Gold Cup. Their run at the Gold Cup ended tonight and you have to wonder if Wanchope is on the way out as well.
Mexico beat Costa Rica 1-0 in their Gold Cup quarterfinal match, as Andres Guardado converted a penalty kick in the 124th minute to help his team move on to a semifinal match vs. Panama.
In the waning minutes of injury time after two 15-minute extra time periods, Oribe Peralta appeared to be pushed in the back by Costa Rica’s Roy Miller while going for a ball into the box and the referee pointed immediately to the spot.
Replays showed the call to be questionable, but Guardado stepped up and calmly slotted it past Esteban Alvarado for the last-gasp win.
A back-and-forth first half saw both sides get quality chances, and Mexico nearly breaking through in the 38th minute on a Andres Guardado strike from distance that was parried away by Alvarado.
Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa was impressive in the first half as well, making easy work of everything that came his way.
The teams went to the dressing room tied 0-0 at halftime.
Mexico picked right up were it left off in the second half, applying plenty of pressure to Los Ticos’ defense. Oribe Peralta hit the post in the 51st minute after Carlos Vela headed a long ball his way in the penalty area.
Joel Campbell was dangerous on the counterattack throughout for Costa Rica. His 53rd minute attempt from outside the box sailed high over the bar.
Miguel Herrera’s side were turned away by Alvarado again in the 64th minute when he tipped a redirected shot from Peralta off the crossbar.
Minutes later, substitute Carlos Esquivel, who came on for Hector Herrera, came close again after a long run from midfield. However, his 18-yard attempt sailed over the bar.
Vela had two opportunities wasted as the second half neared its end, shooting high over the goal two times from close range.
Jesus Corona came on for a gassed Vela in the 86th minute, but he couldn’t help Mexico score before the end of regulation and the game went to extra time.
Corona was the most dangerous player in extra time, although neither team created many chances in the first 15 minutes. That changed in the second 15 as Corona nearly found Guardado for a winner right in front of the Costa Rican goal, but his shot trickled wide of the post.
Minutes later, Campbell made an amazing run from midfield that culminated in a shot that Ochoa barely got a glove on to deflect wide of the goal.
Mexico will play Panama — who beat Trinidad and Tobago 6-5 on penalty kicks after 120 minutes of regulation and extra time ended in a 1-1 draw — on Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.
From ESPN edited by Dan Stevens