Tip Costa Rica – New Zealand
There are two slots for the 2022 World Cup still up for grabs. Costa Rica and New Zealand will be fighting it out for one of them, in the Intercontinental playoffs to be staged in Doha, Qatar. Costa Rica armed up for this game with a 2-0 win over Martinique in the CONCACAF Nations League – their third clean sheet in five matches. It was also the third time for them scoring twice in the last five matches. In the CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers, they finished narrowly outside the automatic qualification slots and go into this game unbeaten in the last seven World Cup qualification matches. They have five clean sheets in their last six World Cup qualification matches, which isn’t a surprise, having Keylor Navas, one of the world’s best goalkeepers. Apart from their defence, another big quality they take to this game is their patience in matches, and this has to an extent resulted in low-scoring games. Eight of their last 10 games have ended in under 2.5 goals.
New Zealand didn’t have a tough task in the Oceania qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup. This will be their biggest test by far. In their group matches, they registered three wins in three and scored 12 times, while conceding just one goal. They proceeded to the qualification playoffs where they scored six times in the two matches to set up this game. Outside the Oceania region, New Zealand aren’t the strongest of forces around. They have failed to score a goal in the last two matches, friendlies against Peru and Oman. They’ve struggled a lot in matches against CONCACAF and CONMEBOL opposition in such qualifiers. In the last four intercontinental qualifiers they’ve gone winless, losing to Peru and Mexico.
Key points Costa Rica – New Zealand
New Zealand are winless in four Intercontinental World Cup qualification playoffs.
Costa Rica are unbeaten in their last seven World Cup qualification matches.
Eight of Costa Rica’s last 10 matches have produced under 2.5 goals.
New Zealand have failed to score in their last two matches.
ConclusionCOSTA RICA – NEW ZEALAND
New Zealand aren’t the strongest when playing outside the Oceania region. This will be another tough outing for them. Costa Rica are way stronger and their major strength is based on their defence, while their patience in attack has been key in disarming a lot of opponents. New Zealand do not carry a strong run in such qualifiers and we will back Costa Rica to win with a clean sheet.