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FIFA Women's World Cup: Costa Rica hopes to fight its way to the knockout stage

Costa Rica’s National Women’s Football Team, La Sele, will face their third match at FIFA’s World Cup Canada 2015 Wednesday against Brazil from an unexpected second place in their group and with good chances to advance to the knockout stage.

The match starts at 5 p.m. Costa Rica time.

La Sele will qualify if they win, draw or even if they lose to Brazil by a difference of one goal.

The South Americans enter the match relaxed as neither the final score against La Sele will affect their top spot in the group, nor will the outcome of another game in the group. Brazil already clinched the top spot of Group E with six points, while Costa Rica has two, and Spain and South Korea each have one.

Costa Rica can finish the group’s stage in second place depending on the results of today’s matches, but they also could make it as one of the four best third place finishers.

The best – and most difficult – option for Las Ticas is to defeat Brazil. But unlike the men’s team, the Brazilians have never been World Champions.

Costa Rica can also move to the next stage in second place if they draw with Brazil, as long as South Korea and Spain also end with a tie. La Sele would reach 3 points and Spain and Korea would stay at 2.

Las Ticas can qualify even if they lose to Brazil as long as the other match also ends tied. In this scenario all three teams would finish with two points and qualifiers will be defined by goal difference.

Brazil won both of their matches in Canada although they struggled against South Korea and Spain. Following their tight 1-0 win over Spain, Brazilian head coach Vadao said he was considering benching some of his main players against Costa Rica to allow them rest prior to their round of 16 match.

Tica coach Amelia Valverde believes Costa Rica will need to play a nearly perfect match to gain some points against the Brazilians.

“We know that we will face a great opponent and we have to play an almost perfect match. The team is realistic and they are fully aware of this, but the dream is alive and we will do everything possible to go for the win,” Valverde said at a press conference on Tuesday.

The players are motivated after their two first matches. Midfielder Cristin Granados on Tuesday said her team knows that all other countries are now watching Costa Rica closely.

“They saw that we are not the Cinderella of our group. Our only objective Wednesday is to beat Brazil, we don’t want a draw, we want to win,” said the player named by FIFA as “Player of the Match” following the 2-2 draw against Korea.

The team’s captain and Paris Saint Germain star Shirley Cruz also said “the dream is still alive.”

“We’ve shown that we haven’t come here to make up the numbers, but to compete. We’ve got one final to go and we have to give it our all for the entire 90 minutes. We need to put everything in it – our heart, soul and life,” she added.

On her teammates motivation for the match, Cruz said: “The key to this team is that we never stop running, we battle for the very last ball until the very last minute.”

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Contact L. Arias at larias@ticotimes.net

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