Costa Rica vs Panama
Competition: CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying
Date: 9 June 2017
Kick-off: 04:00 CET
Costa Rica earned just one point in their two games in March, but the defeat was in Mexico, and even that point they picked up in Honduras was somewhat positive. They have seven points in four matches so far, and in four days they are hosting Panama and Trinidad & Tobago, which means that come Wednesday they could be huge favorites to finish in the top-three, as long as they have done their… duty, winning both games. Anything less than six points in these two matches will be a failure for the Ticos, who cannot even imagine not being in Russia next year, after having been one of the pleasant surprises in Brazil, in the previous World Cup finals.
Panama would love to finish in the top-three and qualify directly to the World Cup finals, but realistically, even a fourth finish wouldn’t be that bad for them, since it would give them the chance to fight for a Russia 2018 spot in two ‘finals’ against a team from Asia. A positive result at Costa Rica would be great, but the most important game of this ‘Hexagonal’ for them is the one they are playing at home on Tuesday, hosting Honduras. They have already beaten them away from home, so a second win over Honduras would make Panama unquestionable favorites to finish at least fourth. My point here is, this game against Costa Rica is obviously big for Panama, but in the back of their mind they must know that the one they really need to win is next Tuesday’s, whatever that means about the determination they will(?) show to fight in Costa Rica until the end, if things go badly for them in the first half.
Costa Rica vs Panama: Head-to-head Stats
Costa Rica have hosted Panama 12 times, and have beaten them 11 of those.
Costa Rica vs Panama: Prediction
I would be very surprised if Costa Rica dropped the ball in this game. They know the USA will most probably bounce back and finish in the top-three, Mexico’s spot there is almost beyond doubt, so to finish in the upper half of the table they absolutely must beat Panama in this game, and T&T on Tuesday.
Costa Rica vs Panama: Tips
Costa Rica’s win pays 1.55. Led by in-form Vancouver Whitecaps defender Kendall Waston, I expect the hosts to win and keep a clean sheet, which is at 2.20.