Our prediction for this World Cup 2026 match:
All eyes will be on Ahmed bin Ali Stadium when Costa Rica and New Zealand square off against each other in the 2022 World Cup playoffs final. Los Ticos recorded four consecutive wins in the CONCACAF WC qualifiers to seal fourth position in the standings, and they head into the match following a 2-0 win over Martinique in the Nations League.
A man to watch in the home team will be Joel Campbell, who found the net in the last competitive match, while veteran Bryan Ruiz should start from the bench after he was rested in the triumph over Martinique. The All Whites, on the other hand, are eyeing their third participation at the World Cup finals, but they will have a mountain to climb in Tuesday’s clash. Given Costa Rica’s form in 2022, home win should be considered. As for the away team, all eyes will be on Newcastle United striker Chris Wood, who has netted 33 goals in 66 appearances for the national team to date.
Highlighted Player (Keylor Navas):
Keylor Navas is an exceptionally gifted goal keeper who plays for Spanish club Real Madrid and the Costa Rica national team. The 29-year-old rose through the youth ranks at Saprissa before making his professional bow with them in 2005.
After a successful stint with them, he ventured into Spanish football with a move to Albacete and then to Levante. His exploits at Levante earned him a move to Real Madrid where he quickly established as a first-team regular. Despite coming within seconds of moving away from the club to accommodate David de Gea, Navas became a crowd favorite with outstanding displays in 2015-16 season.
Navas has played over 60 games for Costa Rica having made his debut in 2008. He has represented them at the 2014 FIFA World Cup where Costa Rica were a losing quarter-finalists. Their progress in the tournament is largely attributed to the success of Navas under the sticks.
Highlighted Team (New Zealand):
New Zealand football national team qualified for the FIFA World Cup finals for the first time in 1982, with the team failing to advance to the knockout stages of the tournament. 28 years later the All Whites did well to make it to the World Cup in South Africa and Ricki Herbert’s men were playing above expectations at the showpiece tournament.
New Zealand did remarkably well to share the spoils with the likes of Slovakia, Italy and Paraguay in Group F, but they eventually failed to book their place in the last 16. The All Whites clinched OFC Nations Cup title on two occasions (1973, 2002), with the team beating Tahiti and Australia respectively in the title games. Speaking of the team’s biggest win, it has to be noted that they outclassed Fiji 13- 0 on August 16, 1981.
Back in 1936 New Zealand suffered a heavy 10-1 loss to Australia in front of home fans and that is considered the biggest defeat in the history of the national team. New Zealand play their home games at Westpac stadium and the capacity of the venue is 34.500.