Costa Rica Qualifies for Its First World Cup with Win Over Trinidad & Tobago

With a spot at the 2015 World Cup in Canada on the line, Costa Rica and Trinidad & Tobago met in the semifinals of the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship at PPL Park in Chester, Pa. Costa Rica defeated Trinidad & Tobago on penalties, 3-0, to advance to the finals of the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship at PPL Park in Chester, Pa. With the win, Costa Rica qualifies for its first World Cup. Trinidad & Tobago will play in the third-place match against Mexico for the final qualification spot from CONCACAF.

Costa Rica’s Dinnia Diaz saved all three penalties in the Ticas’ penalty shootout with Trinidad & Tobago to help Costa Rica qualify for its first World Cup. (Photo: C. Hobgood)

Costa Rica struck first in the 18th minute when Wendy Acosta crossed the ball in from the left to an unmarked Carolina Venegas, who finished from five yards out.

The Ticas had the majority of possession in the first half but the score remained 1-0 heading into the half.

Several opportunites for the Costa Rica went wanting in the second half, including a close Venegas shot minutes in that went over the crossbar. Acosta, a terror up and down the left flank all tournament, had two opportunites but was denied by Trinidad & Tobago’s Kimika Forbes, who continued her standout play in goal.

The missed opportunites to build a lead would come back to haunt Costa Rica when Trinidad & Tobago equalized in the 73rd minute off a Lauryn Hutchinson header.

Costa Rica had a chance in the 85th minute when Cristin Granados sent in a ball that found Raquel Rodriguez at the far post. Rodriguez’s header from six yards out was saved by Forbes.

In extra time, Acosta’s would-be game-winner was called offside. Her close-range shot in the 112nd minute went over the bar and it would be on penalty kicks.

While Costa Rica was unable to capitalize on its chances during the game, it made not mistake in penalty kicks. Katherine Alvarado, Carol Sanchez, and Acosta all buried their penalties. Goalkeeper Dinnia Diaz saved all three kicks she faced, and Costa Rica advanced to face the United States in the final of the tournament.

With the win, Costa Rica qualified for its first World Cup.

Trinidad & Tobago will have a chance to clinch a World Cup berth in the third-place match against Mexico. A win, and they’re in Canada next summer. A loss, and the Soca Princesses will face a home-and-home playoff against Ecuador for a spot in the World Cup.

How They Got Here

Costa Rica
Costa Rica won Group B and avoided a semifinal matchup against the United States. In its match opener, Costa Rica stunned Mexico, 1-0, to establish an early lead in group play it would never relinquish. Costa Rica finished off Jamaica, 2-1, with a late game-winner from second-half substitue Carolina Venegas. The win advanced Costa Rica into the knockout round of the tournament. In its final group-stage game, the Ticas defeated Martinique, 6-1, to assure themselves of a first-place group finish and avoid the United States in the semifinals.

Trinidad & Tobago
Even before playing its first match in the tournament, Trinidad & Tobago faced an uphill battle, arriving with $500 for the team’s 18-day tournament stay. An outpouring of donations has helped fund the team’s while competing and the Trinidad & Tobago Federation has sent in funds for the team.

On the field, Trinidad & Tobago’s opening Group A match was no easy task, as it met the favored U.S. Women’s National Team. They were impressive in a 0-1 loss, staying deep defensively and looking for opportunities to score on the counter. The Soca Princesses kept their chances alive with a 1-0 win over Haiti, setting up a crucial match against Guatemala in the final match of group play. A major concern for Trinidad in the match would be the loss of standout goalkeeper Kimiak Forbes, who drew a straight red in the game against Haiti. However, Trinidad stayed organized and used its speed to create chances. Backup goalkeeper Tinesha Palmer was up to the task, and Trinidad would would win, 2-1. The win, combined with the United States’ win over Haiti, sent Trinidad through to the semifinals.