Mexico (National Football)Download App

Costa Rica vs. Mexico: Key Battles in World Cup Qualifier

Karla Villegas GamaFeatured ColumnistJune 23, 2016

Costa Rica vs. Mexico: Key Battles in World Cup Qualifier

1 of 6

    Photo: Mexsport.
    Photo: Mexsport.

    Mexico have not lost in Costa Rica in the last 21 years. But times have changed. El Tri must draw or win the final World Cup qualifier to secure a ticket for the playoff against New Zealand.

    Last February, when the Hexagonal was about to start, people thought that Mexico would have been qualified by now because they were supposed to win their five games at the Estadio Azteca.

    However, El Tri ran into trouble and could barely defeat Panama in what was once one of the most feared stadiums in world football.

    Now, Victor Manuel Vucetich has the responsibility not only to keep the undefeated streak against Costa Rica intact, but also to qualify Mexico to Brazil 2014.

    With a squad that mixes experience with youth, Vucetich knows that there’s no room for error.

Rafael Marquez vs. Joel Campbell

2 of 6

    Victor Decolongon/Getty Images

    Rafael Marquez will have a lot of work. He will need to lead the Mexican defense and focus on Joel Campbell.

    The 21-year-old Costa Rican is very unbalancing and can change the game with one play. His speed is one of his most valuable skills.

    Marquez must cut Campbell off because the minute he gets the ball, there are always serious goal opportunities.

Jorge Torres Nilo vs. Christian Bolaños

3 of 6

    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Christian Bolaños, who currently plays for F.C. Copenhagen, will put Mexico in distress through the right flank.

    He is a veteran who knows how to combine speed and strength to give his team depth. At age 29, Bolaños has been playing in Europe since 2007.

    Jorge Torres Nilo will have to step up in this game. The Tigres left-back helps the attacking zone regularly, but if he cannot come back quickly, a counterattack by Bolaños could be lethal.

Jesus Zavala vs. Bryan Ruiz

4 of 6

    Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

    Bryan Ruiz floats behind the strikers, which allows him to be a ball feeder—or an executioner—for the strikers and wingers.

    Due to his position, Ruiz is the brain of the team. Hence, Jesus Zavala needs to stop him before he gets to the defensive line.

    Against Panama, Zavala proved that he can provide security and ball possession, which are the skills he needs to master on the pitch against Costa Rica.

Carlos Peña vs. Yeltsin Tejeda

5 of 6

    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Yeltsin Tejada will act as the link between the midfielders and the defenders, trying to cut Mexico's advance.

    Carlos Peña has to be very creative in order to find or generate spaces to give the strikers real goal opportunities.

    Peña can also be a factor if he uses his speed to unbalance the defense. He is physically fit for a demanding game like this one.

Oribe Peralta vs. Michael Umaña

6 of 6

    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    Michael Umaña will be the man in charge of covering Oribe Peralta tightly. Umaña is one of the strongest and most experienced men on the squad, as he has played 75 times with Costa Rica.

    He knows how to play a crucial game like this one, so Peralta will have to go the extra mile to be a factor.

    The Mexican striker has already scored two goals in the Hexagonal, both at the Estadio Azteca. This season, Peralta is the best Mexican striker of the Liga MX with eight goals to his count.

     

Where can I comment?

Stay on your game

Latest news, insights, and forecasts on your teams across leagues.

Choose Teams
Get it on the App StoreGet it on Google Play

Real-time news for your teams right on your mobile device.

Download
Copyright © 2017 Bleacher Report, Inc. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved. BleacherReport.com is part of Bleacher Report – Turner Sports Network, part of the Turner Sports and Entertainment Network. Certain photos copyright © 2017 Getty Images. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of Getty Images is strictly prohibited. AdChoices