Mexico's national soccer team player Javier Hernandez dribbles a ball during a practice session in San Jose September 6, 2012. Mexico will play against Costa Rica in a CONCACAF 2014 World Cup qualifying soccer match on September 7.
(Photo : REUTERS/Juan Carlos Ulate)
The World Cup 2014 qualifications return to action Friday night when Mexico takes on Costa Rica.
Through the first two matches, Mexico has been efficient with a 3-1 win over Guyana and a 2-1 win over El Salvador. Neither of the two victories were particularly dominant for CONCACAF's best team. El Tri lacked the offensive dominance that has been characteristic of their play over the years and they were susceptible to strong attacks from their two opponents.
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In Costa Rica, they have a team that was "Jekyl and Hyde" through its first two matches. Against El Salvador they blew a 2-0 lead that they had established in the first 15 minutes in a 2-2 draw. Then they had a stunning 4-0 demolition of Guyana in a match that showed how good they could be.
Historically these countries have played 28 times. Mexico has been victor 18 times while Costa Rica has won 5. The other five ended in draws.
Costa Rica is playing at home given them a big confidence boost. Their starting lineup should look like this:
Goal Keeper: Keilor Navas
Defense: Bryan Oviedo, Roy Miller, Jose Salvatierra, Giancarlo Gonzalez
Midfield: Michael Barrantes, Celso Borges, Oscar Rojas, Jose Miguel Cubero
Forward: Joel Campbell, Alvaro Saborio
Mexico's starting IX could look like this:
Goalkeeper: Jose Corona
Defense: Severo Meza, Francisco Rodriguez, Hector Moreno, Jorge Torres
Midfield: Carlos Salcido, Andres Guardado, Jesus Zavala, Angel Reyna
Forward: Javier Hernandez, Aldo De Nigris/Marco Fabian
Mexico is without Giovanni Dos Santos who suffered an injury during the Olympics. Hernandez (Chicharitto) has been madly inconsistent over the last few weeks and is the major X-factor for the Mexico.
De Nigris has started up top throughout qualifying, but Fabian has the higher upside and was a breakout star in the Olympic championship run. He could be the man with Hernandez up top.
Prediction: Mexico 2, 0. This should be easy for Mexico. Costa Rica is strong, but madly inconsistent. Mexico is the best team in the CONCACAF and will demonstrate it yet again.
The match starts at 10 p.m. ET.