Mexico vs. Costa Rica: Complete World Cup Qualifying Preview

Christopher AtkinsContributor IJune 10, 2013

HOUSTON - MAY 31:  Javier Hernandez #14 of Mexico celebrates with Aldo De Nigris #9 and Andres Guardado #18 after scoring in the first half against Nigeria at Reliant Stadium on May 31, 2013 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images

Mexico vs. Costa Rica, Estadio Azteca

Tuesday 11 June, 2013, 20.00 ET

Having picked up four big points against Jamaica and Panama over the past week, Mexico have put themselves back in a reasonably good position to qualify for the 2014 World Cup.

While undefeated in the hexagon, four draws from five games have cost El Tri, but a victory over Costa Rica on Tuesday night would be a major step towards qualification.

Costa Rica, though, will be no easy opponents. The Central Americans current lie atop the qualifying section and are the only side to have won a qualification match at the Estadio Azteca.

Recent fixtures between the two sides, though, would suggest that Mexico are firm favourites for the tie. However, they will need to improve considerably on the lacklustre weekend display that brought a tame away draw in Panama.

A failure to pick up three points against what is considered a very good Costa Rica side will only add to the pressure now falling on the shoulders of manager Jose Manuel de la Torre.

However, a repeat of the Aztecazo, when Costa Rica won at the stadium in 2001, is very much the target for the visitors, and they head into the game full of confidence.

A veteran of that game and current assistant coach of the Costa Rica side, Paulo Wanchope, told CNN Mexico this week: "We are in a good spell and we will now take on Mexico, but we always respect our opponents.

"Mexico are one of the favourites to go to the World Cup and we respect that, but we will do our best to leave with all three points."

Fulham midfielder Bryan Ruiz echoed the sentiments, adding: "I think you always dream of winning a qualifier here at the Azteca, and it's possible to win any game. In reality, though, it's never easy to do."

The battle lines are drawn, and now all that remains is for both World Cup qualification hopefuls to face off and determine the destination of an invaluable three qualification points.


Form Guide (Last five matches):

MEXICO: One win, four draws. (D,D,D,W,D)

COSTA RICA: Three wins, one draw, one loss. (D,L,W,W,W)


Probable Lineups:

MEXICO: Corona; Torres Nilo, Moreno, Rodriguez, Meza; Salcido, Torrado; Guardado, Aquino; Peralta; Hernandez.

COSTA RICA: Navas; Miller, Gonzalez, Gamboa, Meneses; Borges, Rodriguez, Bryan Ruiz, Cristian Bolaños; Arrieta, Campbell


How to Watch:

Match to be broadcast live on ESPN in USA.